Post-consumer Blended Textile Separation and Recycling by Hydrothermal Treatment

Garments are often made from a blend of different fibres in order to improve fit, style, comfort and longevity. There were no commercially viable separation and recycling technologies available in the industry for the most popular combinations such as cotton and polyester blends. To cope with this challenge, we have developed a chemical hydrothermal treatment to selectively decompose cotton into cellulose powders, thereby enabling the separation of the polyester fibres from the blends.


The whole process uses only heat, water and less than 5% of a biodegradable green chemical to achieve a recovery rate of over 98% for polyester fibres in 0.5-2 hours.

Industry benefit

A pre-industrial scale hydrothermal system is now set up in a Tai Po factory to evaluate the parameters for scale-up, such as the treatment conditions in a scale of 500L, energy consumption, and optimisation of operation. This will facilitate the system industrialisation in the future.

Technological breakthrough

The separated fibres with no depolymerisation are ready for spinning and manufacturing of new fabric, while the cellulose powders, decomposed from the cotton, can be applied to functional products such as super-absorbency materials and regenerated cellulose fibres.

Licensing Details

For more details, please contact us. (Email:; Tel: (852) 2627 0180)


Award Name
Gold Medal in the 46th International Exhibition of Inventions of Geneva (2018)
Silver Award in the Hong Kong Green Innovations Awards (2017)
Gold Medal in the Asia International Innovative Invention Award (2019)
Related ITF project
Research Start Date 2016-03-31
Industry Partner
SANKO Tekstil İşletmeleri Sanayi ve Ticaret A.Ş ISKO Branch
IP Number