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Textile colouration, without dyestuffs, water and chemicals

Updated: Oct 7, 2021

The i-COPES PROJECT is first for synthetic fibres. Polyester and some new Polymers developed by CTC, both staple as filament yarns. The i-COPES PROJECT will enable to eliminate the conventional dyeing and printing processes. Dyeing baths are no longer required to achieve the desired color. Printing pastes are no longer required to reach the desired prints. Systems are no longer necessary for printing and dyeing systems or digital systems like inkjet, valvejet or DOD.


I think most people don`t know exactly what means " sustainable".

You use sustainble to describe the use of resources when this use is kept at a steady level that is not likely to damage the environment.

Cotton is not sustainable and worse, it is not environment friendly and never it will be.

The most polluting industry in this world is the textile industry and cotton is one of the most polluting fiber in this industry.

Objectives of the project

We are trying to build a system with fiber material for the textile industry, which is sustainable and requires less or no finishing processes which are harmful to our environment. Need less or no water and thus emits less waste water and consume less energy. The processes such as pre-treatment, dyeing, printing and finishing of textiles will be more environmentally friendly and less dangerous to our environment. We can only achieve this by using harmful chemicals and harmful dyestuffs and use less water and energy consuming processes. So there's also less waste water. Establish more contacts with textile designers, chemical producers and machine builders to exchange more technical information. Knowledge is power and will enable us to work greener!!


The entire world of textile production by about 60 trillion kilograms consumed:

• 1,074 trillion KWh energy

• 132 million tons of coal

• 6 to 9 trillion liters of water

Even the most polluting industry in this world is the textile industry and cotton is one of the most polluting fiber in this industry. Cotton grows only in the alternating wet and dry tropics and the alternating humid Mediterranean climate, about 190 frost-free days need to grow properly. These regions called "Cotton belt" and is located by the 32nd latitude South to the 37th parallel north to the globe. The cotton is grown on approximately 35 million hectares in about 80 countries. This is 2.5% of the world surface area. The cotton makes high demands on the quality of the soil. Through this very intensive use, the soil is rapidly drained and unusable. As a result, ever larger areas, also due to high use of chemicals, to be completely worthless. The chemicals contaminate the groundwater. There is even a shortage of drinking water and the population suffers from diseases. Also, diseases caused by dispersed insecticides and fertilizers. An example of the consequences of the cultivation of cotton on the Aral Sea between Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, called the largest environmental disaster in the world, speaks for itself.

• There are more cancers than in other CIS countries.

• 80% of women suffer from anemia.

• High mortality in infants.

• Large number of birth defects.

• Strong increase in kidneys damages and SIP intestinal cancer.

• Immune deficiency, typhoid and cholera.

• The groundwater was contaminated with pesticides.

• Where water was formerly a salt desert is now created.

In Pakistan and Greece the groundwater and drinking water is contaminated where cotton is grown. The groundwater level has fallen in California. In Pakistan and Egypt, the cotton cultivation contributes to the spread of deserts. In South Australia, the Earth is oversalt. And these are just a few examples! Large amounts of fertilisers, plant protection products and pesticides are required to obtain a large production. About 20% of the world production of fertilizers and pesticides ends up in the cotton fields. Pesticides alone has almost 150 million kilos per year.The cotton needs about three months up to the flower. About 50 days after flowering are mature about walnussgroßen capsules, burst and swell the seed hair. Before the Cotton can be harvested are again used defoliants.

From about 100 kilos of raw cotton to get 35 kilo fibers, 62 kilos of seeds and 3 kilos of waste. The consumption of water is approximately 20,000 to 29,000 litres per kilo of cotton! World's work between 5,000,000 and 9,000,000 children in cotton production. Each year more than 1,000,000 children aged between 7 and 12 years of age are engaged in Egypt. After the cotton was harvested, it is stored approximately 30 days to the tire up and drying. Then the fibers in large bales are pressed. The bales are transported further and so that they are protected during transportation from pests and mildew, chemical is injected again. The bales are now solved and the ginning machines remove the capsule rests. Then, the bales are pressed again.

The following processes are now necessary to get a textile, that stays white will be dyed or printed.

1 Harvest

2 Bale presses

3 Transport

4 Open bales

5 Clean

6 Bale presses

7 Bale open

8 Carding

9 Transport

10 Combing

11 Spinning

12 Strengthen

13 Drying

14 Shearing

15 Weaving

16 Singeing

17 Discharge finishing

18 Rinsing

19 Drying

20 Mercerising/Caustic soda

21 Rinsing

22 Drying

23 Bleaching

24 Washing

25 Drying

26 Dyeing/Printing

27 Washing

28 Drying

29 Finishing

30 Drying

31 Calendering

32 Sanforising

Here again 189 litres of water per kilo of cotton are consumed. Huge amounts of chemicals are on salt used the wastewater and are difficult to clean the sewage treatment plants.

The following processes are now necessary to get a textile, that stays white after dyed or printed is.

• Chlorine compounds

• Hydrogen peroxide

• Azo benzidine dyes

• Nitro nitrous compounds

• Caustic soda

• Sulfuric acid

• Melamine-Formaldehyde resins

• Acrylic

• Fluorocarbon

• Silicone

Many chemicals remains on the fiber so that 100% cotton on the label really means:

• 70% Cotton

• 5% Polyacryl

• 8% Dyestuff

• 14% Melamine - formaldehyde resin

• 3% Plasticizer

Bio - or Africa cotton are certainly better than the conventional cotton, but only until the harvest. Later, the same processes occur. Also the most organic and Africa are grown cotton outside the United States and Europe, much of it in India, Turkey, Peru, China and Africa. That means that if you buy organic or Africa cotton in the United States or Europe, this cotton is grown on the other side of the world, is shipped elsewhere to dye, print or finish and to the Assembly again somewhere else in the world and then will be sent to a dealer somewhere in the world. Here I wonder what the carbon footprint looks like and how Cotton can be recomended!!

To obtain a colored, shrink-free cotton fabric you will need about 32 processes.

A lot of energy, water and time

• 20,000 30,000 litres of water per kilo of cotton

• Often has been the textile part of more than 35,000 kilometers.

Now I will create a textile equivalent with polyester. Polyester is made from Dimethylterephthalate and glycol. So both petroleum products.

1 Spinning (fiber)

2 Strengthing/fixing

3 Cut (for spin fibers)

4 Bale presses

5 Open bale

6 Carding

7 Straighten

8 Spinning (yarn)

9 Shearing

10 Weaving

11 Dyeing/printing

12 Washing

13 Drying

14 Finishing

15 Drying/heat setting

16 Calander (if necessary)

Polyester is made now in almost all European countries, so that the carbon footprint looks very good in comparison with the cotton. Polyester can even be reclycled! Here, the carbon footprint will be again better. To obtain a colored, shrink-free polyester fabric you will need :

• 16 Processes

• 33-50 liters of water per kilo polyester.

• No land needed to cultive.

• No toxic pesticides are used.

• No toxic fungicides are used.

• No toxic insecticides are used.

• There are no environment fertilizers used.

• No toxic bleach is needed.

• No caustic soda processes needed like with cotton.

• It consumed approximately 600 x less water than cotton.

• There are no diseases caused by insecticides, pesticides or fungicides

• There is here no child labour.

Although this shows that we have to rethink and consequently use other fibre types as cotton!!

It is important to research and develop new systems to protect our environment.

I started the i-COPES PROJECT on the 10th of december 2013 and it allows to eleminate the conventional dyeing and printing processes.

• Dyeing baths are no longer required to achieve the desired color.

• Printing pastes are no longer required to reach the desired printing.

• Print- and dyeing systems using inkjet - valvejet - or DOD systems are no longer necessary.

• Dyestuffs, chemicals and water are no longer necessary.

Usage: All articles in polyester and other synthetic fibers that are to be dyed or printed. Such as flock, lunt, fleece, non-woven, fibers, yarn, knitted fabrics, knitted goods, woven fabrics, etc. Gasochromism, Crystallochromism, Vapochromism, Cathodechomism, Solvatochromism, Piezochromism, Halochromism, Mechanochromism, Electrochromism, Thermochromism and Photochromism were examined. Inventor and project manager: Johannes Antonius Craamer

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