LAUNCH SYSTEMS CHALLENGE 2013

Congratulations to the 2013 Top 10 LAUNCH Systems Challenge Innovators

Ambercycle Recycling
Artificial Honey Bee Silks by CSIRO
BARKTEX by Bark Cloth Ltd
Benign by Design by University of California at Santa Barbara
Biocouture Ltd
Blue Flower Initiative by Eileen Fisher Inc
Flax Fibers by CRAiLAR
Geckskin by Felsuma LLC
Mushroom Materials by Ecovative Design LLC
Qmilk by Qmilch IP GmbH
The public vote was one of several criteria that informed the selection of the LAUNCH Systems Challenge finalists. With special thanks to our other highly curated innovations: Lulan/WE'VE, NVMINE by dMASS and Kumaon Earthcraft Self-Reliant Cooperative.
 
ALGAEVERDE WASTE TO FABRICS
Algaeverde waste to fabrics

Algaeverde takes industrial, farm and municipal waste streams and converts them into Ethylene Glycol, the raw material used in the production of synthetic fabrics. This technology has multiple environmental benefits, beyond the redirection of toxic waste, such as bio-fuel as an output of the conversion application.

Algaeverde is still at prototype stage. They are looking for help taking their exciting innovation out of the lab and into the world.

Stage of Innovation: Prototype

View additional information on Algaeverde waste to fabrics

ECO-LEATHER ALTERNATIVE
Eco-leather Alternative

Eco-leather is a sustainable alternative to leather that avoids the large volumes of water and toxic chromium required to produce animal based leather. Unlike PVC (‘fake leather’), this breakthrough material, manufactured from plant oils and natural fibers, is breathable and friendly to the environment, as well as being waterproof and durable.

The team behind Eco-leather have strong academic credentials and are looking to take their sustainable leather out of the lab and into the marketplace.

Stage of Innovation: Prototype

 
FABDESIGNS SPACESUIT
Fabdesigns spacesuit

Fabdesigns have developed breakthrough protective space-wear that provides radiation protection for astronauts with a high-degree of flexibility and additional fire-resistance. The dangerous levels of radiation that astronauts are exposed to beyond Earth orbit remains a significant health challenge for deeper exploration of the Solar System.

Fabdesigns is looking for help to perfect their designs for use in space, as well as Earthly applications.

Stage of Innovation: Concept

 
THE GREAT RECOVERY
The Great Recovery

The Great Recovery is a manifesto for ‘closed-loop’ design. In other words, products that have negligible impact on the environment or are even beneficial. The Great Recovery team has developed a comprehensive re-thinking of every stage of the product development cycle: initial design, recovery, disassembly, recyclability and re-use.

The goal of the Great Recovery is to pilot hands-on education to take these innovative approaches mainstream.

Stage of Innovation: Prototype

View additional information on The Great Recovery

HOLOGENIX
Hologenix

Hologenix is a unique functional fabric that has the ability to absorb and modify far-infrared light and change it into a form that can be more easily absorbed by human skin. Clinical evidence is beginning to show that far-infrared light has multiple heath benefits, such as improving blood flow - which can help accelerate healing.

The team is looking to make this novel technology more widespread.

Stage of Innovation: Growth and scale

 
MATERIALS SUSTAINABILITY INDEX (MSI) ONLINE SUSTAINABILITY GUIDE
Materials Sustainability Index (MSI) Online Sustainability Guide

The Materials Sustainability Index, originally developed by Nike, enables manufacturers to make better choices when designing products. This innovation, developed independently from Nike, builds on the data and capabilities of the MSI by creating a web portal designed to help shoppers meet their personal goals for sustainably manufactured apparel.

Though this innovation is currently in the pilot stage, the web portal creative team is looking for partners to mature this capability.

Stage of Innovation: Pilot

 
REVOLVE: NEW TEXTILES FROM OLD
REvolve: new textiles from old

REvolve tackles the growing problem of textile waste and proposes a way of collecting, sorting, and reprocessing it into new textile materials.

The REvolve team is an ambitious start-up looking to pilot their ideas and create a truly ‘closed-loop’ system for the textile industry. This vision will require innovations and partnerships all along the supply-chain.

Stage of Innovation: Pilot

View additional information on REvolve: new textiles from old

SLIPS STAIN RESISTANT FABRIC
SLIPS stain resistant fabric

SLIPS is a breakthrough coating technology which makes natural fabrics stain resistant. It works by infusing a fluorinated oil lubricant into the structure of the fabric to make it water and oil repellant, or ‘omniphobic’. The resulting textiles that are more wear resistant, demonstrate better pressure performance and highly resilient to dirt.

This technology has been scientifically validated and has won an R&D award. The team is now looking to commercialize their technology.

Stage of Innovation: Commercial market/Deployment

View additional information on SLIPS stain resistant fabric

SOLAR FIBER
Solar Fiber

Solar Fiber is a functional fabric technology that weaves photovoltaic yarn into products that can generate their own power from sunlight. This innovative technology has many potential uses from outdoor equipment on Earth and in space, all the way to fashion and furnishings.

The Solar Fibre team is looking for partners to help them scale their technology to industrial volumes.

Stage of Innovation: Prototype

View additional information on Solar Fiber

WATERBOURNE SOLVENT FREE LEATHER
Waterbourne solvent free leather

Waterbourne is an artificial leather that is almost impossible to distinguish from real leather and is manufactured in a way that doesn’t require toxic solvents. Prior to the Waterbourne process, artificial leathers required foul smelling dimethylformamide (DMF), which is both energy intensive and highly polluting. Moreover residual amounts of solvent often remain on the material.

Waterbourne has been developed by Bayer Material Sciences and is currently moving into pilot stage.

Stage of Innovation: Pilot

View additional information on Waterbourne solvent free leather

 

 

AMBERCYCLE PLASTIC BOTTLES TO POLYESTER

Ambercycle plastic bottles to polyesterAmbercycle is a remarkable new technology that harnesses engineered enzymes to degrade plastic bottles, such as PET soda bottles, and transform them into PTA (purified terephthalic acid). PTA is the raw material in polyester, which is used in multiple products, from cars to clothing.

Ambercycle is an innovation looking to become a business. They are at the stage of building a go-to-market team.

Stage of Innovation: Prototype

View additional information on Ambercycle plastic bottles to polyester

ARTIFICIAL SILK
CSIRO’s artificial silk

This innovation, bio-synthetic silk, is produced by fermentation of honeybee cocoon silk within genetically engineered bacteria. The process allows industrial volumes of silk to be produced at room temperature without any negative environmental effects. The silk produced is highly flexible and suitable for knitting and weaving and can be formed into sponges and transparent films.

Developed by researchers at Australia's national science agency, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), this breakthrough technology has been published in peer-reviewed literature. They are now seeking to identify market opportunities.

Stage of Innovation: Prototype

View additional information on CSIRO’s artificial silk

BARKTEX BARK CLOTH
BARKTEX bark cloth

BARKTEX is a contemporary take on traditional bark cloth, which is produced in a sustainable way from the Ugandan Figus tree. Once the bark is stripped form the tree, new bark grows in its place – a truly sustainable product. BARKTEX can be treated with bright colors to create a unique material reminiscent of leather.

The team is employing an innovative micro-enterprise model in Uganda that empowers women and provides food security for local farmers. They are looking to develop their business to reach new customers.

Stage of Innovation: Growth and scale

View additional information on BARKTEX bark cloth

BENIGN BY DESIGN
Benign by Design

Benign by Design helps individuals and organizations better evaluate the impact of materials they use. The team has developed data collection and analysis protocols to understand the impact of textiles through their entire lifecycle - potentially an invaluable resource for all product manufacturers.

The Benign by Design team are looking to shape their solution into a marketable offer.

Stage of Innovation: Concept

View additional information on Benign by Design

BIOCOUTURE MICROBIAL FASHION
Biocouture microbial fashion

Biocouture creates sustainable material from microbes and transforms it into beautiful haute couture. Their unique low-impact fermentation process creates a biodegradable material that can be used to create a wide variety of home-ware and fashion accessories.

The Biocouture team have already received recognition for their innovation, including TED, and are now ready to take their concept to the next stage.

Stage of Innovation: Prototype

View additional information on Biocouture microbial fashion

BLUE FLOWER INITIATIVE
The Blue Flower Initiative

The core purpose of the Blue Flower Initiative is to reframe the existing textile value chain as an eco-industrial co-operative, while supporting and empowering women at risk.The initiative – backed by Eileen Fisher, the American clothing designer and retailer – is an innovative game changing business model. In addition, the initiative aims to identify new low-impact bio-fibers and manufacturing approaches.

The Blue Flower Initiative are looking to prototype their ‘value chain of the future’ in the Bronx in New York and are looking for partners.

Stage of Innovation: Concept

View additional information on Blue Flower Initiative

CRAILAR FLAX FIBERS
CRAiLAR Flax Fibers

Flax is a natural fiber that has long shown promise as a base material for sustainable textiles. CRAiLAR has made advances in chemistry and manufacturing that now make flax competitive on cost and comfort with cotton. What’s more, flax can be grown with far less water and pesticides.

CRAiLAR is a mature business that is looking to make the leap to compete with the cotton industry and accelerate adoption globally.

Stage of Innovation: Commercial market/Deployment

View additional information on CRAiLAR 

ECOVATIVE MUSHROOM MATERIALS
Ecovative Mushroom Materials

Ecovative is a completely biodegradable replacement for polystyrene, packing material or insulation. Remarkably, it can withstand heat, stress and exposure to water, yet be composted in your back garden. This is a fascinating biotechnology derived from mushrooms that can potentially replace numerous products that produce CO2.

The team behind Ecovative are well on their way, but require access to private sector customers and help scaling their manufacturing process.

Stage of Innovation: Commercial market/Deployment

View additional information on Ecovative 

GECKSKIN ADHESIVES
Geckskin adhesives

Geckskin is a revolutionary take on adhesives, inspired by the footpads of the Gecko lizard. Unlike glue-based adhesives, Geckskin creates dry and easily reversible adhesion without leaving any residue - while maintaining an impressive stickability. Geckskin can be used to mount a 42-inch Television on a wall without any loss in adhesion.

Geckskin is a product of Felsuma LLC. The team are in start-up mode with a solid plan.

Stage of Innovation: Prototype

View additional information on Geckskin adhesives

QMILK MILK FIBER

QMilk milk fiberQMilk takes surplus milk that is unfit for human consumption and produces a bio-textile replacement for cotton. The product is non-allergenic with potential applications in healthcare. QMilk takes a highly innovative approach to repurposing a waste stream that is seen in every country in the world.

The QMilk team is now looking to find partners to help take their innovation to the next stage.

Stage of Innovation: Prototype

View additional information on QMilk milk fiber

Top 20 Semi-Finalists:

ALGAEVERDE WASTE TO FABRICS
Algaeverde waste to fabrics

Algaeverde takes industrial, farm and municipal waste streams and converts them into Ethylene Glycol, the raw material used in the production of synthetic fabrics. This technology has multiple environmental benefits, beyond the redirection of toxic waste, such as bio-fuel as an output of the conversion application.

Algaeverde is still at prototype stage. They are looking for help taking their exciting innovation out of the lab and into the world.

Stage of Innovation: Prototype

View additional information on Algaeverde waste to fabrics

ECO-LEATHER ALTERNATIVE
Eco-leather Alternative

Eco-leather is a sustainable alternative to leather that avoids the large volumes of water and toxic chromium required to produce animal based leather. Unlike PVC (‘fake leather’), this breakthrough material, manufactured from plant oils and natural fibers, is breathable and friendly to the environment, as well as being waterproof and durable.

The team behind Eco-leather have strong academic credentials and are looking to take their sustainable leather out of the lab and into the marketplace.

Stage of Innovation: Prototype

 
FABDESIGNS SPACESUIT
Fabdesigns spacesuit

Fabdesigns have developed breakthrough protective space-wear that provides radiation protection for astronauts with a high-degree of flexibility and additional fire-resistance. The dangerous levels of radiation that astronauts are exposed to beyond Earth orbit remains a significant health challenge for deeper exploration of the Solar System.

Fabdesigns is looking for help to perfect their designs for use in space, as well as Earthly applications.

Stage of Innovation: Concept

 
THE GREAT RECOVERY
The Great Recovery

The Great Recovery is a manifesto for ‘closed-loop’ design. In other words, products that have negligible impact on the environment or are even beneficial. The Great Recovery team has developed a comprehensive re-thinking of every stage of the product development cycle: initial design, recovery, disassembly, recyclability and re-use.

The goal of the Great Recovery is to pilot hands-on education to take these innovative approaches mainstream.

Stage of Innovation: Prototype

View additional information on The Great Recovery

HOLOGENIX
Hologenix

Hologenix is a unique functional fabric that has the ability to absorb and modify far-infrared light and change it into a form that can be more easily absorbed by human skin. Clinical evidence is beginning to show that far-infrared light has multiple heath benefits, such as improving blood flow - which can help accelerate healing.

The team is looking to make this novel technology more widespread.

Stage of Innovation: Growth and scale

 
MATERIALS SUSTAINABILITY INDEX (MSI) ONLINE SUSTAINABILITY GUIDE
Materials Sustainability Index (MSI) Online Sustainability Guide

The Materials Sustainability Index, originally developed by Nike, enables manufacturers to make better choices when designing products. This innovation, developed independently from Nike, builds on the data and capabilities of the MSI by creating a web portal designed to help shoppers meet their personal goals for sustainably manufactured apparel.

Though this innovation is currently in the pilot stage, the web portal creative team is looking for partners to mature this capability.

Stage of Innovation: Pilot

 
REVOLVE: NEW TEXTILES FROM OLD
REvolve: new textiles from old

REvolve tackles the growing problem of textile waste and proposes a way of collecting, sorting, and reprocessing it into new textile materials.

The REvolve team is an ambitious start-up looking to pilot their ideas and create a truly ‘closed-loop’ system for the textile industry. This vision will require innovations and partnerships all along the supply-chain.

Stage of Innovation: Pilot

View additional information on REvolve: new textiles from old

SLIPS STAIN RESISTANT FABRIC
SLIPS stain resistant fabric

SLIPS is a breakthrough coating technology which makes natural fabrics stain resistant. It works by infusing a fluorinated oil lubricant into the structure of the fabric to make it water and oil repellant, or ‘omniphobic’. The resulting textiles that are more wear resistant, demonstrate better pressure performance and highly resilient to dirt.

This technology has been scientifically validated and has won an R&D award. The team is now looking to commercialize their technology.

Stage of Innovation: Commercial market/Deployment

View additional information on SLIPS stain resistant fabric

SOLAR FIBER
Solar Fiber

Solar Fiber is a functional fabric technology that weaves photovoltaic yarn into products that can generate their own power from sunlight. This innovative technology has many potential uses from outdoor equipment on Earth and in space, all the way to fashion and furnishings.

The Solar Fibre team is looking for partners to help them scale their technology to industrial volumes.

Stage of Innovation: Prototype

View additional information on Solar Fiber

WATERBOURNE SOLVENT FREE LEATHER
Waterbourne solvent free leather

Waterbourne is an artificial leather that is almost impossible to distinguish from real leather and is manufactured in a way that doesn’t require toxic solvents. Prior to the Waterbourne process, artificial leathers required foul smelling dimethylformamide (DMF), which is both energy intensive and highly polluting. Moreover residual amounts of solvent often remain on the material.

Waterbourne has been developed by Bayer Material Sciences and is currently moving into pilot stage.

Stage of Innovation: Pilot

View additional information on Waterbourne solvent free leather

 

 

 

SYSTEMS CHALLENGE STATEMENT

Forum Dates: 
September 26-28, 2013

At LAUNCH we see a future where the making of things has a positive impact on human prosperity and planetary sustainability.

Summary

Founding partners NASA, NIKE, the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and the US Department of State formed LAUNCH in an effort to bring collective genius, unprecedented networks, and new resources to overcome some of humanity’s toughest sustainability challenges. 

With this LAUNCH System Challenge 2013, LAUNCH seeks innovations that will transform the system of fabrics to one that advances equitable global economic growth, drives human prosperity and replenishes the planet’s resources.

We are interested in innovations with potential to scale in 2 years, as well as game-changing early stage technologies and prototypes. Innovations can be business models, financial instruments, technologies and programs that accelerate research, education and capacity building.

Specifically, LAUNCH 2013 seeks innovations in: 

  • The materials of which fabrics are made with a focus on positive social and environmental impact:
Multi-purpose synthetic and bio-synthetic materials
Multi-purpose synthetic and
bio-synthetic materials.
Smart and/or self-healing materials
Smart and/or self-healing
materials.
Technical fabrics with novel or surprising attributes
Technical fabrics with novel or
surprising attributes.
Fabrics that efficiently and effectively enable recycling
Fabrics that efficiently and
effectively enable recycling.
Applications that eliminate toxins in fabrics
Applications that eliminate
toxins in fabrics.
Low or positive environmental impact feedstocks
Low or positive environmental
impact “feedstocks.”
Models that accelerate the development of low or positive environmental impact fabrics
Models that accelerate the
development of low or positive
environmental impact fabrics.
 
Data generation and capture technologies and mechanisms that enable traceability across a product or fabric’s lifecycle
Data generation and capture
technologies and mechanisms
that enable traceability across
a product or fabric’s lifecycle.
Decision support and educational tools that guide positive impact design and inform better choices of chemistries and materials
Decision support and educational
tools that guide positive impact
design and inform better choices
of chemistries and materials.
Open technology platforms to enable sharing, collaboration, contribution and unlimited accessibility to data that improves the analysis of sustainability impacts and stimulates an open data ecosystem
Open technology platforms to
enable sharing, collaboration,
contribution and unlimited
accessibility to data that improves
the analysis of sustainability
impacts and stimulates an open
data ecosystem.
  • The “making” or manufacturing of fabrics utilizing low or positive environmental impact approaches, with a bias toward inclusive business models that positively develop human capital, respect rights and deliver shared value:
Solutions that increase energy, water, and raw material efficiency in the manufacturing process
Solutions that increase energy,
water, and raw material efficiency
in the manufacturing process.

Scalable innovative business models that are sustainable and equitable
Scalable innovative business
models that are sustainable
and equitable.

Programs that support local Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise inclusion across the system of fabrics
Programs that support local
Micro, Small and Medium
Enterprise inclusion across
the system of fabrics.
Zero waste or closed loop systems that eliminate waste and create equitable, empowered workforces
Zero waste or closed loop
systems that eliminate waste
and create equitable,
empowered workforces.
Solutions that put workers at the heart of the innovation process
Solutions that put workers at the
heart of the innovation process.


Manufacturing processes that reuse waste
Manufacturing processes that
reuse waste.


Manufacturing processes and technologies that enable maximum conversion of materials and minimum consumption of natural resources
Manufacturing processes and
technologies that enable
maximum conversion of
materials and minimum
consumption of natural
resources.
Information and data exchanges that build entrepreneurial capacity & worker inclusion, enabling greater participation in value chains
Information and data exchanges
that build entrepreneurial
capacity & worker inclusion,
enabling greater participation
in value chains.

Data generation and capture technologies and mechanisms to increase transparency across the value chain
Data generation and capture
technologies and mechanisms to
increase transparency across the
value chain.


Please note that innovation submissions need only match one of the points of interest described above, although submissions that match multiple points are also welcome.  

For more information on this challenge, download the Systems Challenge 2013 Challenge Statement  (Full Version, PDF) or go to the challenge submission website.  You do not have to be a US citizen to apply.

Read More: 

LAUNCH Systems Innovation Map

Material Patterns: Considering the Economic, Environmental, and Social Impacts of the Global Textiles Industry

The Systems Council

Alphabetical List:

MICRO-CHALLENGE

LAUNCH is hosting its first micro-challenge, directed at university students, to help us uncover game-changing innovations that can unlock the barriers to the system of materials and the ways in which they are made. Congratulations to CapX team from the Indian School of Business, the 2013 finalists for the Open Data Micro-Challenge.

CapX helps fabric manufacturers enhance their viability through collaboration. Fabric manufacturing units can trade their excess and insufficient production capacities through CapX’s online platform, thus overcoming the serious viability challenges arising from periodic fluctuations in product demand and labor supply.

The CapX team is looking for partners to prototype and pilot the online platform in a textile manufacturing hub.
 
Stage of innovation: Concept
 

Open Data Micro-Challenge

The absence of information and tools can slow down accurate and timely decision-making. It can also prevent the system from identifying better ways of operating. A lack of data increases risk. Access to data can unlock new opportunity. It can change the way things are made. It can change what materials things are made from. Both for the better. We believe new ways of capturing and using data can uncover opportunities and enable innovation within the materials supply chain. LAUNCH is looking to positively impact the materials supply chain by harnessing new, innovative solutions for:

  • Capturing data in new and different ways
  • Generating new data, ripe for analysis
  • Analyzing data to deliver greater insight

Our goal is to increase appreciation for and understanding of data in the materials system. We are working to enable better decisions throughout the materials supply chain – raw materials suppliers, materials processors, scientists who imagine new materials, creators who design products with materials, consumers who buy and use products, and innovators who close the chain through recycling and reuse.