Product design with an unusual focus: Studio Tjeerd Veenhoven develops value chains – from raw materials through finished products to the customer experience. Now the Studio has come up with a special process for turning algae into yarns thereby creating a sustainable, recyclable raw material alternative to textiles.

By 2050 the textile industry will triple. Knowing that 95% of all textiles are currently incinerated at the end of their lifecycle and the current reality in the sector is far from a working cycle economy, we face unbridled resource exploitation as a result. This is all the more concerning when you consider the consequences this might have for our planet. Or maybe not? Tjeerd Veenhoven of the Dutch design studio of the same name regards pessimism as inappropriate: instead he sees the challenges ahead of us as an opportunity to establish more sustainable manufacturing technologies in the fashion industry.

With its project “AlgaeFabrics” the Studio has developed a technology that converts algae into a textile raw material. Algae are present in oceans and lakes around the globe and have a significantly positive effect on the carbon cycle, which in turn curbs global warming. In places where algae grow in excess, however, these plants also pose a problem for the water quality. This is why they are removed and composted or incinerated without any secondary use.

This is exactly where the process developed by Tjeerd Veenhoven kicks in: the algae species Cladophora is rich in cellulose and can be processed further into yarns for the textile industry using Veenhoven’s innovative processes. The algae are first collected, washed and dried, then pulverised and finally converted into vegetable filament yarns suitable for a wide variety of applications. A forward-looking project – a view that was also shared by the jury of the H&M Foundation: as early as 2015 AlgaeFabrics was already recognised with the Global Change Award as one of the top 5 concepts for a sustainable fashion industry.