Lund University researchers produce sugars from recycled textiles

March 3, 2021 |

In Sweden, researchers at Lund University in Sweden have developed a method that converts cotton into sugar, that in turn can be turned into spandex, nylon or ethanol.

At the Department of Chemical Engineering in Lund, there is a great deal of accumulated knowledge about using micro-organisms and enzymes, among other things, to transform the “tougher” carbohydrates in biomass into simpler molecules. This means that everything from biological waste and black liquor to straw and wood chips can become bioethanol, biogas and chemicals.

Now the researchers have also succeeded in breaking down the plant fiber in cotton — the cellulose — into smaller components. However, no micro-organisms or enzymes are involved this time; instead, the process involves soaking the fabrics in sulfuric acid. The result is a clear, dark, amber-colored sugar solution.

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Category: Research

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