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DyeCoo Wins Herman Wijffels Innovation Award

The Netherlands-based DyeCoo Textile Systems BV, a carbon dioxide (CO2) dyeing equipment supplier founded in 2008, has won the eighth annual Herman Wijffels Innovation Award and the accompanying 50,000-euro prize. The incentive award to encourage sustainable innovations, sponsored by the Netherlands-based financial institution Rabobank Nederland, was established in 1999 in honor of the bank's then-retiring Executive Board Chairman Herman Wijffels.

DyeCoo's water-free CO2 dyeing machine beat out 552 other entries in this year's contest to take the top prize. Dry fabric is placed into the machine, which uses CO2 and high pressures of 300 bar to dye the cloth saving 50 to 100 liters of water for every kilogram (kg) of fabric dyed compared with traditional dyeing technologies. Fabric is dry once the DyeCoo process is complete, which also eliminates energy-intensive drying steps. The necessary CO2 can be sourced from other industrial process emissions and is recycled during the dyeing process at a 95-percent rate.

The technology originally was developed through a partnership among DyeCoo's parent company Feyecon Development & Implementation BV, the Delft University of Technology and Stork Prints BV, all based in the Netherlands.

The Herman Wijffels Innovation Award jury said the invention is: "a solution to a global problem. It does not unnecessarily pollute drinking water and uses CO2 smartly."

"The principle of dyeing with CO2 was invented in Germany 25 years ago," said Reiner Mommaal, DyeCoo. "Developing a well-functioning machine, however, turned out to be too expensive."

Using carbon dioxide to dye fabric offers many benefits, according to Mommaal. "There is no water consumption, no use of chemicals, no drying and it is twice as fast," he said. "This also makes it attractive in terms of energy. It is consequently not surprising that people from around the world have shown interest in this new machine. The Herman Wijffels Innovation Award is a fantastic recognition for us, and a tremendous boost for our name awareness. We are going to use the [prize] money to establish new patents."

December 15, 2009