AVITERA® SE: An Innovative, Sustainable Breakthrough for Textile Industry

Huntsman Textile Effects delivers innovative poly-reactive dyes

Huntsman Textile Effects has long been recognized as a leading innovator. In 2010, it announced a significant breakthrough: AVITERA® SE, the first new reactive dye molecules to be invented for almost two decades.

Enabling sustainability in the textile industry (The challenge)

The textile industry is a heavy user of water and reducing usage has been a priority for the sector for several years. The UN estimates that 1.2 billion people today do not have access to enough water to meet their daily needs. Since many of the major textile-producing nations are in regions of acute water scarcity, reducing the industry’s need for water could have an immediate and substantial positive impact.

At the same time, textile producers are also looking for new ways to reduce their overall environmental footprint. Efforts are underway to cut energy use and waste production and remove hazardous chemicals from the supply chain. One key aim is to generate less salinated water. Salt promotes the absorption of reactive dyes onto cellulosic fibers and is the most commonly used chemical in textile dyeing. It is technically possible to recycle the salt used during the dyeing process by removing it from post-treatment effluent, but the salt-recovery process is so energy-intensive that this is not an environmentally sound option.

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Chart (click to enlarge) illustrates the indicative economic and environmental sustainability
savings that can be achieved using AVITERA® SE Red Shades.

Price volatility in cotton, crude oil and raw materials, along with rising labor costs, is adding to the pressure on processing mills. While some have closed, others are adopting new products and processes in order to improve productivity and profitability and meet more stringent environmental regulations and industry standards.

Faster low-temperature dyeing with less salt and less water (The solution)

Offering a more environmentally sustainable solution for processing the world’s most widely used textile fibers, the AVITERA® SE range significantly reduces water and energy consumption and carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions during the dyeing and washing-off process. Since its launch, the range has been continuously extended to deliver improved benefits across the entire shade gamut and color spectrum.

The AVITERA® SE dyes can be used on diverse machinery and do not require mills to make a capital investment. Furthermore, they comply with the Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals (ZDHC) Group’s Manufacturing Restricted Substances List and the environmental requirements of leading brands and retailers.

“Huntsman Textile Effects introduced AVITERA® SE to help the industry address its most pressing sustainability challenges. We continue to develop this technology to help textile mills and brands achieve cost-effective production, improved textile products and minimal environmental impact,” Paul Hulme, Global President, Huntsman Textile Effects, said.

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(Click to enlarge chart)

Around 65% of the world’s annual production of about 30 million tons of cotton is dyed using reactive dyes. Huntsman developed these dyes in the 1950s as an alternative to direct dyes. They react with textile fibers to become part of them and so offer better wash- and light-fastness while producing a wider range of bright colors.

The AVITERA® SE dyes are poly-reactive dyes that ensure rapid and very high exhaustion for cotton and other cellulosic fibers and their blends. More of the dye is absorbed by the fabric, using less salt and lower temperature water, with less than 5% of the absorbed dye remaining unfixed, compared to between 15% and 30% of conventional reactive dyes. The unreacted dye is also easier to remove at low temperatures, as it is not bound to the fabric fibers in a high-salt solution.

As a result, processing mills can dramatically increase productivity, since the dyeing and washing-off cycles are substantially shorter, while also making significant savings. Less water and salt are required and energy consumption and CO2 emissions are greatly reduced because water used in the dyeing and washing-off process never exceeds 60°C.

Award-winning dyes enhance environmental and economic sustainability (The results)

The current best-available technology (BAT) for reactive dyeing already uses substantially less water and energy than conventional hot or warm dyeing systems. Compared to BAT, AVITERA® SE enables textile processing mills to go even further to:

  • Reduce water consumption by up to 50%
    With AVITERA® SE, only 15-20 liters of water are required to dye 1 kg of material, compared to up to 100 liters for hot dyeing systems, plus more for pretreatment and finishing, and 30-40 liters for BAT.
  • Reduce energy and CO2 by up to 50%
    Only 1.7 kg of steam is needed to dye 1 kg of cotton with AVITERA® SE, with conventional hot dyeing using 9 kg of steam and BAT 3.9 kg.
  • Reduce salt consumption by 20%
    Requiring less salt to fix the dye, more of which is absorbed, AVITERA® SE needs less water and lower temperatures to wash off unfixed dye. Fewer rinsing baths are needed to obtain the required fastness properties and less wastewater is produced.
  • Reduce cycle time by 25%
    Using AVITERA® SE dyes, the dyeing process, including washing off, is complete in 4 hours, compared to 5.5 hours for BAT and up to 9 hours for conventional systems.
  • Achieve light, wet and overall fastness at either equivalent or better than current BAT levels

For individual mills, using AVITERA® SE dyes is a way to meet the environmental standards of the world’s best clothing brands while increasing yield, improving productivity and reducing processing costs. This new technology also has the potential to deliver substantial environmental benefits to the industry as a whole. If the entire world’s reactive dyed cotton was processed with AVITERA® SE, this could: 

  • Save more than 820 billion liters of water per year
    This saving equates to 1.3 liters of fresh water per person per day in the major Asian textile processing countries such as India, Bangladesh and China.
  • Save more than 700,000 tons of salt per year
    This saving would be enough to fill close to 30,000 rail wagons, creating a train that would stretch more than 500km, similar to the distance between San Francisco and Los Angeles or between Shanghai and Xuzhou.

 

The AVITERA® SE range represents a new generation of dyes comprising complex new molecules with several newly designed active reactive groups. This innovation is a true breakthrough and has been recognized as such in various high-profile awards:

Overall winner of the 2014 ICIS Innovation Awards
Presented by the world's largest petrochemical market information provider, the ICIS Awards recognized AVITERA® SE’s support for sustainability in the textile industry. AVITERA® SE took top honors in 2014 and also became the first recipient of the new Innovation with Best Benefit to Environment or Sustainability Award.
Innovation Awards 2014 

5-star Environmental Leader Technology (ELT) Review
From hundreds of submissions, AVITERA® SE was one of only two 5-star recipients in the 2013 ELT Review, being honored as an impressive product “with the potential to make a tremendous environmental impact.”

Environmental leader

For more information, visit www.huntsman.com/textile_effects.