The Issue:

In past decades, strong wool was a money spinner for New Zealand farmers. But the discovery of synthetic alternatives for clothing and carpet means many farmers now pay more to get their sheep shorn than the wool is worth.

More recently, consumers have become aware of the environmental footprint of fabrics such as acrylics, polyester, and nylon, which are derived from petroleum, and are seeking more natural and climate-friendly alternatives.

What we’re doing

New uses for strong wool

For several years, Lincoln Agritech’s New Materials Group has been the lead research provider to the New Uses for Wool Partnership Programme, a joint funding arrangement between the New Zealand Government and Wool Research Organisations of New Zealand. This research has led to the development of new particles, powders, and pigments made from deconstructed wool, for use in industries such as print, textiles and personal care.

Novel cellulose fibres

Lincoln Agritech leads an $8.3m five-year Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment (MBIE) Endeavour Fund research programme aiming to develop novel cellulose fibres for textile use, regenerated from New Zealand plant resources. The aim is to create a new industry producing high-value fibres from low-value plant material that can replace environmentally damaging synthetic fabrics.