Xefco: reducing textile emissions and creating a greener supply chain for the fashion industry

May 20, 2024

The textile industry’s water-intensive processes haven’t changed in hundreds of years, and with over 100 billion kgs of textiles produced annually, it makes the textile industry one of the world’s biggest polluters.

Understanding the significant environmental impact that comes from textile dyeing and finishing, Xefco has developed a revolutionary manufacturing solution that eliminates the need to use any water in the dyeing and finishing process – reducing water, energy, chemical pollution, and the textile industry’s carbon footprint.

Xefco’s patented plasma-based coating solution (commonly used in the semiconductor industry), Ausora™, completely replaces conventional water-based processes to produce the same look, feel and performance properties without the environmental impact.


The Challenge Explained:

The textile industry is renowned for being one of the world’s biggest polluters with textile finishing and dyeing responsible for 1/5th of global industrial water pollution and 3% of global carbon emissions. It is also the second largest industrial user of water after agriculture.

A quick internet search will give anyone a good idea of the detrimental impact the whole textile supply chain is having on our environment, caused by high energy, water and chemical use. A mini review article published by Frontiers in Environmental Science[1]  provides a snapshot of this impact:

“Due to lengthy supply chains and energy-intensive production methods, apparel and footwear industries generate 8–10% of global carbon emissions, superseding emissions from the aviation and shipping industries combined (European Parliament, 2021). Furthermore, it has been estimated that up to 20% of industrial wastewater pollution is caused by textile dyeing and finishing (Morlet et al., 2017).”

Because industry standard processes use large volumes of fresh water to disperse the dye and the finishing compounds evenly onto fabrics, excess chemicals and by-products are commonly discharged as wastewater effluent. Additionally heating the dye baths, drying the textiles, and curing the finishes consumes considerable amounts of energy – energy which is commonly derived from fossil fuels such as gas or coal and burned on site, releasing large volumes of greenhouse gas emissions.


Recognising the potential impact of Xefco’stechnology

Recognising the opportunity to reduce emissions and create a greener supply chain, Xefco’s solution will drive real impact on several different levels.

  1. Utilisation of natural resources: Globally, we have a huge problem with the utilisation of our natural resources. Because Xefco’s solution fully eliminates the use of water to dye fabrics, it then doesn’t require energy to heat the water. Compared to conventional wet dyeing and finishing, the solution reduces energy consumption by 70 – 90%.  
  2. Environmentally, in addition to reducing our reliance on natural resources because no water is used, there is no chemical-polluted water that needs to be discharged.
  3. Economically,Xefco’s solution reduces cost both from an energy and water perspective and also because it enables fabric manufacturers to manufacture closer to the customer rather than having to be closer to a source of water, the whole supply chain can be disaggregated and more economic.  


What does the future hold?

The future for Xefco is exciting. It touches on the economics, the social impact and it’s aligned to a world where manufacturing can now be more local and closer to the end customer.

The solution has been designed to ‘plug and play’ into existing supply chains to help manufacturers easily transition away from conventional wet dyeing and finishing. Because the process eliminates the use of water and cuts energy, chemical consumption and cost, this technology has the potential to reduce carbon emissions and stop millions of tonnes of waste entering our waterways.

[1]Leal Filho W, Perry P, Heim H, Dinis MAP, Moda H, Ebhuoma Eand Paço A (2022) An overview of the contribution of the textiles sector toclimate change. Front. Environ. Sci. 10:973102. doi:10.3389/fenvs.2022.973102