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Posted Date: 2/8/2012

Nike Opts for Waterless Textile Dyeing

NIKE, Inc. announced it has entered into a strategic partnership with DyeCoo Textile Systems B.V., a Netherlands-based company that has developed and built the first commercially available waterless textile dyeing machines.

By using recycled carbon dioxide, DyeCoo's technology eliminates the use of water in the textile dyeing process. The name "DyeCoo" was inspired by the process of "dyeing" with "CO2." The partnership is illustrative of NIKE, Inc.'s long-term commitment to designing and developing the most superior athletic performance products for athletes and its overall sustainable business and innovation strategy.

"Waterless dyeing is a significant step in our journey to serve both the athlete and the planet, and this partnership reinforces Nike's long-term strategy and deep commitment to innovation and sustainability," says Eric Sprunk, Nike's vice president of merchandising and product. "We believe this technology has the potential to revolutionize textile manufacturing, and we want to collaborate with progressive dye houses, textile manufacturers and consumer apparel brands to scale this technology and push it throughout the industry."

Nike has been exploring this technology for the past eight years and expects to showcase cutting-edge apparel using textiles dyed without water at events later this year, with an eye towards scaling the technology for larger production volumes.

"We're very excited to be partnering with Nike to help drive this together and believe the benefits and impacts of this technology are significant," says Reinier Mommaal, CEO of DyeCoo."There is no water consumption, a reduction in energy use, no auxiliary chemicals required, no need for drying, and the process is twice as fast. The technology can also improve the quality of the dyed fabric, allows for greater control over the dyeing process, enables new dye capabilities and transforms fabric dyeing so that it can take place just about anywhere. We hope more industry leaders will join us in leveraging this innovative technology in the near future."

Conventional textile dyeing requires substantial amounts of water. On average, an estimated 100-150 liters of water is needed to process one kg of textile materials today. Industry analysts estimate that more than 39 million tonnes of polyester will be dyed annually by 2015. Nike says it expects DyeCoo's supercritical fluid carbon dioxide, or "SCF" CO2 dyeing technology, to have a particularly positive impact in Asia, where much of the world's textile dyeing occurs. As this technology is brought to scale, large amounts of water used in conventional textile dyeing will no longer be needed, nor will the commensurate use of fossil fuel-generated energy be required to heat such large sums of water. The removal of water from the textile dyeing process also eliminates the risk of effluent discharge, a known environmental hazard. The CO2 used in DyeCoo's dyeing process is also reclaimed and reused.

DyeCoo is believed to be the first company to successfully apply the SCF CO2 process to the commercial dyeing of polyester fabric, and research is already underway to apply the technology to other natural and synthetic fabrics. SCF CO2 technology is safely utilized at scale in other industries such as the decaffeination of coffee and the extraction of natural flavors and fragrances.

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