GINESTRA – FROM FLOWER TO FINE YARNS
In 2001 ARTES launched an industrial research project in order to develop biological processes of integral exploitation of a Mediterranean shrub, the bush of broom (Spartium Junceum), for the extraction of high quality fibre to be used in the production technical and fashion yarns.
While the whole European textile and fibres sector was focused on improving low impact chemical technologies, ARTES chose to apply only environmentally sustainable technologies: enzyme technology. Today these technologies are becoming the subject of significant investments because they are recognized as a possible and effectively competitive lever for the European economy, thanks to the high environmental compatibility and the potential impact on a variety of sectors.
The main objectives of the project are Ginestra:
- the application of an innovative completely natural enzymatic process to be used on the Spartium Junceum;
- the rediscovery of traditional treatments and processes, especially from Calabria, on the fiber of the broom;
- the commercialisation of innovative products based on the resulting natural fibre;
- the complete automation of the extraction plant and spinning and the full exploitation of processing waste, for a 100% natural procedure
- the isolation and characterization of a micro-organism of vegetal origin and completely natural, exclusive property of ARTES, generating enzymes suitable for maceration of Spartium Junceum, currently kept in the microorganisms database of Analisi & Controlli Spa Genoa;
- an unprecedented process to generate and manage enzymes, produced by the microorganism identified, selected and characterized, useful for maceration of efficient and effective stems from the broom but adaptable to the production of fibers from other shrubs and plant biomass;
- a pilot biotechnology plant patented (in a small scale for the extraction of 5 kg. per day of crude fiber) with low power consumption (Patent N ° 0001396855 entitled “Machine, procedure and combined plant for the separation of fibers for textile by macerated stems of fiber plant) tested and installed at the center of experimental research ARSSA of San Marco Argentano, Calabria;
- the testing of cultivation and mechanized cutting with parameter definition of profitability and comparative analysis with the cultivation of hemp;
- definition of the parameters of pre-treatment process of the fibers, after the maceration and the defibration to work them properly in carding and combing;
- definition of the conditions of the process of carding, at the laboratory level;
- realization of samples of yarn, paper samples and samples of dyeing pigments extracted from the flower;
- creation and registration of the CTM GINEXTRA (Registration number 7055312, classes 01, 07, 16, 22, 23, 40)
In order to conclude the phase of pre-competitive research conducted so far and move on to industrial production, ARTES has signed a new research project, in order to achieve the following objectives:
- achieve the scale-up of the biotechnology prototype plant, enhancing the degree of automation (5 to 80 kg. of fiber a day) and study the possible additions to optimize the technical and economic advantages of joint production of the different components and materials;
- optimize the singularization of the fiber already developed in the previous stages;
- identify possible commercial uses of processing waste and valuable components of the fiber with the aim to increase the sustainability of the entire production:
- The fiber that can not be used in spinning can be treated with enzymes to generate a paste to be used for technical fibers, for fine papers, packaging antibacterial, biocomposites / ultralight materials.
- The wooden parts of the stems, which remains after the biotechnological extraction of the fiber, can be used to produce a technical fiber and organic materials of high value instead of being destined to form low cost pallet for the production of energy.
- In the maceration liquor could be identified chemicals such as saccharides, oligosaccharides, products derived from the composition of lignin and proteins.
To obtain these results ARTES has agreed a program with Italian and foreign research laboratories. The duration of this final phase is 9 – 11 months.
BOKU University – Institute of Environmental Biotechnology (Austria) – www.ifa-tulln.boku.ac.at
Cangiari (Italy) – www.cangiari.it
Filati Maclodio (Italy) – www.filatimaclodio.it
ENISo – Ecole National d’Ingénieurs de Sousse (Tunisia) – www.eniso.rnu.tn
ENEA (Italy) – www.enea.it
Tessitura Grandi & Rubinelli (Italy) – www.tessitura-gr.it
Tintoria Emiliana (Italy) – www.tintoriaemiliana.it