Carbon Looper: the CO2 capture fabric project

H&M and HKRITA have launched a line of CO2 capture fabrics. At the moment the experimentation is with the Fotografiska Stockholm restaurant, whose staff wear aprons of that material.

Christiane Dolva, Strategy Lead Planet Positive at H&M Foundation, Martin Wall, Executive Chef and Planet Keeper at Fotografiska, Edwin Keh, CEO at HKRITA in front of Fotografiska’s hydroponic agriculture. Credits: H&M Foundation

Reverse the paradigm, moving from a fashion with a high ecological footprint to the production of CO2 capturing fabrics. This is the goal of Carbon Looper, the project funded by the H&M Foundation under the Planet First program. The project experimented with a method of treating cotton that makes the surface of the fabrics capable of capturing the carbon dioxide contained in the surrounding air.

CO2 capture fabrics. How do they work?

A standard-sized garment like a T-Shirt can absorb one-third of CO2 from a tree. After three cycles of absorption, the tissues capture CO2 reach climate neutrality and begin their positive effect.

The process is known as adsorption, and is generated with a solution that contains amines, designed by HKRITA (The Hong Kong Research Institute of Textiles and Apparel).

Once absorbed by the special fabric, carbon dioxide can be released by heating the surface until it reaches a temperature between 30 and 40 degrees. The idea is that this happens in a greenhouse, where it can then be absorbed by plants and used for photosynthesis.

However, there are other release methods, which scientists are investigating, starting with regular washing. Furthermore, CO2 can be transformed and brought to a solid state. Studies are also continuing on the application of CO2 capturing fabrics to other uses such as curtains, tablecloths, furnishings.

Pilot testing of fabrics captures CO2“Everything we do in the lab is only useful once it leaves the lab. We will monitor the release process to see if we can accelerate it, improve the carbon capacity of the material and develop more uses for it, ”said Edwin Keh, CEO of HKRITA. In fact, Carbon Loopers already has an independent life in a major Swedish restaurant. The pilot phase aprons were produced at an H&M supplier in Indonesia and then delivered to the staff of Fotografiska Stockholm. The restaurant facility includes a popular hydroponic garden in the basement which has been designated as a CO2 release zone after tissue capture.

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