Toggle Main Menu Toggle Search

Open Access padlockePrints

Living textile biocomposites deliver enhanced carbon dioxide capture

Lookup NU author(s): Warm In-Na, Dr Jonathan LeeORCiD, Dr Gary Caldwell



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC 4.0).


Over 110 million tonnes of textile fibres and apparel are produced annually, ultimately ending with significant quantities of waste textiles. One route for upcycling end-of-life textiles is to repurpose the materials for atmosmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) removal by integrating microalgae (single celled photosynthetic organisms) to form ‘living’ biocomposites. In this study we demonstrate the CO2 capture performance of prototype living algae biocomposites that use textiles as a solid substrate. Chlorella vulgaris was attached to 100% cotton and 100% polyester sheets, of which half were coated with kappa-carrageenan (a natural polymer derived from seaweed) as a gel topcoat to enhance microalgae retention. The biocomposites were investigated in 28 days semi-batch CO2 absorption tests using a 5% v/v CO2/air gas mixture. They absorbed significantly more CO2 than suspension microalgae culture controls, with the highest CO2 absorption rate being 1.82 ± 0.10 g CO2 g-1biomass d-1 from the coated cotton biocomposites, followed by 1.55 ± 0.27 g CO2 g-1biomass d-1 from the uncoated cotton biocomposites. The coated and uncoated polyester biocomposites had comparatively lower CO2 absorption rates (0.49 ± 0.04 and 0.42 ± 0.03 g CO2 g-1biomass d-1respectively), likely due to the surface charges of the materials affecting microalgae adhesion and retention. A two weeks attachment test on cotton/polyester blends revealed some deterioration of the cotton which could limit the longevity of the biocomposites. Despite these issues, the CO2 abatement values compare favourably with other Chlorella CO2 capture studies with the added benefit of much reduced water usage and a reduced land requirement.

Publication metadata

Author(s): In-Na P, Lee JGM, Caldwell GS

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Industrial Textiles

Year: 2022

Volume: 51

Issue: 4_suppl

Pages: 5683S-5707S

Print publication date: 01/06/2022

Online publication date: 02/07/2021

Acceptance date: 24/05/2021

Date deposited: 25/05/2021

ISSN (print): 1528-0837

ISSN (electronic): 1530-8057

Publisher: Sage Publications Ltd


DOI: 10.1177/15280837211025725


Altmetrics provided by Altmetric


Funder referenceFunder name
Newcastle University Doctoral scholarship