NatureWorks has made two grades of its low-carbon footprint Ingeo bioresins commercially available for the production of meltblown nonwovens, fabrics widely used in such products as wipes and filters.
“As interest grows in polymers made from renewable resources, equipment manufacturers, process developers, and researchers have been exploring solutions that offer meltblown nonwoven fabrics that both perform well and achieve a lower carbon footprint than the existing petroleum-based incumbents,” said Robert Green, director of fibers and nonwovens, NatureWorks.
Mr. Green was referring to meltblown fiber equipment manufacturer Biax-FiberFilm, which earlier this year conducted meltblown tests of Ingeo, made from plant sugars, not oil. Researchers at the University of Tennessee Nonwovens Research Lab (UTNRL) also evaluated Ingeo for its suitability for meltblown fabric substrates using conventional meltblowing equipment.
“Our development of an Ingeo meltblown substrate significantly broadens the variety of applications in which this material can be used,” said Doug Brown, president, Biax-FiberFilm. “An Ingeo meltblown nonwoven offers an estimated 30-50% cost savings over conventional fiber-based nonwoven roll goods and a significant advantage in price stability compared to petroleum-based products.”
Mr. Brown also noted that mixing the Ingeo meltblown fiber with wood pulp or viscose greatly enhanced the material’s absorption, making it suitable for a broad range of performance wipes products.