Hismer Bio-Tech Co. Ltd. in China's Shandong province is making biomass fibre from shrimp and crab shells, a pioneering effort to produce synthetic fibres from products not derived from crude oil. Qingdao-based BMSG, a bio seaweed substance processing firm, has been turning seaweed into biomass fibre that can be safely used for surgical dressings.
Hismer turns shrimp and crab shells from food waste to chitosan fibre, indistinguishable from other synthetic fibres. The fabric is used for making socks, underwear, bedding, medical products like masks and sanitary pads, and special cloth used in aerospace planes, according to company chairman Hu Guangmin. BMSG’s fibres are processed further into surgical dressing.
Hismer annually collects 10,000 tonnes of the shell waste from seafood processing companies in China's ports of Qingdao, Yantai, Dalian and Ningbo to produce 6,000 tonnes of biomass fibre.
The company has turned the world's largest marine renewable producer, according to Chinese news agency report. After facing trouble in the past due to rising cost at home and stagnant export market, five years back the company focussed on developing this technology.
Hu said Hismer has set up production cooperation with 70 companies, including Toyota, Freudenberg and Medovent, for developing fabric products for medical use. It also makes product development in partnership with Taiwan-based tech firm BenQ and Hong Kong-based lingerie producer Embry Form.
The company has developed materials that are mildew-proof and resistant to fire, static electricity and odor used in China's ‘Shenzhou’ manned spacecraft and ‘Tiangong’ space lab.
Though at an initial stage, biomass textile materials are the future of textiles, Jiang Shicheng, a member of Chinese Academy of Engineering, said. (DS)
SOURCE: Hismer Bio-Tech Co. Ltd.