Newsletter Seacolors N1

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SEACOLORS: Demonstration of new algae dyes to replace the synthetic dyes currently used in industry.

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Water degradation is an inherent problem in any human activity. Contaminants are having an increasingly bigger impact as the population and cities grow and industrialisation expands.

The textile industry has a big environmental footprint due to the use of large quantities of water and chemicals, one of the most important being dyestuffs. The dyes employed are mostly synthetic and from non-renewable sources. Due to their residue content, synthetic dyes create pollutants during their manufacturing and use (2-50%, depending on the dye & fibre type) as well as in waste water produced during dyeing process. 

In the case of water coloration, the problem began with the industrialisation of processes and was worsened when natural biodegradable colours were replaced by non-biodegradable synthetics dyes, which have come to dominate the market leaving natural dyes relegated to hobbyists and small industry.

In 1856 William Perkin synthesized the first colorant, Mauveine, starting the decline of natural dyes. Textile industry dyes are now generally synthetic, derived from two sources, namely coal tar and petroleum-based intermediates. 

The kind of colourant used to replace existing dyes will be determined by several variables, e.g. fibre type, the tones of fibre dye, the intensity of colour, etc. 

Additionally the textile industry uses large amounts of energy, water, and chemicals. In 2009, 954 million Kg. of textile were produced in Europe, requiring between 40 and 386 litres of high quality water to produce 1 Kilogram of textile.

It is estimated that there are about 10,000 different textile dyes with a global annual production of approximately 700,000 metric tons. This covers the full range of colours and fibres for new technologies, fabrics, detergents and advances in dyeing processes. Algae dyes will have to perform as well as synthetic dyes in terms of providing a wide range of colours (including fluorescent), elevated fastness, specialisation regarding fibres, reproducibility, affordability, and production of large quantities and also provide a solution for the serious environmental concerns caused by some existing dyes (they come from non-renewable resources, price are conditioned by changes in the price of oil and the amount of energy needed during synthesis processes, which also influences the final price and emission of greenhouse gases). 

The main aim of SEACOLORS is to research, validate and demonstrate processes to obtain natural dyes from a sustainable and renewable source, micro, macro-algae and cyanobacteria, and their application in the textile industry to replace synthetic dyes. The processes will generate less pollution because of the higher biodegradability of natural dyes, reducing the need for water purification processes, contributing to the application of the policies and EU legislation regarding waste waters. 

In order to obtain dyed fabrics with acceptable quality parameter, SEACOLORS will require a validation of the types of algae with higher capacity of dyeing, the optimisation of extraction processes and investigation of the variables involved in the dyeing process. This must take into account and fulfil the requirements listed above. 

We expect to obtain a selection of algae species with high dye properties as well as identify the general procedures to grow them and extract their natural pigments for textile application. New dyeing processes for the new dyes will focus on fastness performance, which will be tested and validated at a semi-industrial level.

These new dyes will provide an alternative to synthetic chemicals (Dyestuffs) through the use of natural and renewable sources that will turn dyeing into a more ecofriendly and economic procedure, especially regarding wastewater disposal. In addition, the biomass generated during the extraction of dye will be reused in other activities such as the production of metabolites (e.g. antioxidants or polysaccharides), extracts for agricultural applications or for animal feed ingredients. Exploring the full potential of the biomass will reduce waste and increase profitability (the biorefinery concept).


By contributing to scientific conferences & events, consortium aims to present main objectives and outcomes of the project to stimulate the interest of the general public. SEACOLOS has participated in: 

4US Congress (19th September) 

ALGAPLUS assisted to the 4US Congress to present the main implication of the SEACOLORS project to an audience which looks for the implementation of greener and more sustainable processes thorough the use al algae. 

The 4US Congress was born from a desire of a group of enterprising students belonging to Ecozoic Ecozoic Junior Company to create an annual event that helps to awaken the reality, where address issues related to sustainable entrepreneurship and awaken to reality "Be more, do more and go further!"

BioSpain 2014 (24th -26th September)

SEACOLORS project whose strategic goal is the demonstration and validation of obtaining natural dyes from a sustainable and renewable source, micro and macro algae as well as cianobacterias, and their application in textile industry to replace synthetic dyes (very pollutant and harmful for the environment), was presented by Helena Abreu (co-founder and R&D Director of ALGAplus) during BioSpain 2014, the largest biotech event organized by a national bioindustry association in Europe and one of the largest in the world by the number of one-to-one meetings (3.327) and companies participating (855).

The presentation took place during the "A QUICK IMMERSION IN MARINE BIOTECH BUSSINES" session, where different projects based on the opportunities and technology offerings from the marine biodiversity, that will promote the future of the bioeconomy, health sector and feed in Europe, were showed. It counted with a multidisciplinary audience increasing the type of public we reach, and creating awareness amongst very different kinds of profiles within industry and society.

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BioJapan 2014 (15th -17th October)

BioJapan is the main partnering event in the Asiatic biotech scenario, where SEACOLORS project was presented in the one-to-one meetings and through the brochures and other dissemination material shared with the delegates.

BioJapan is an annual convention, the largest in Asia, which facilitates interaction among global companies, academic organizations or individuals with interests in biotechnology, promoting the business opportunities.

Accadueo Event (22th –24th October)

For over 20 years, Accadueo has been the meeting place for the entire water services sector. Manufacturers of materials, technologies and equipment, state and privately owned companies for the integrated management of water services, municipalities and contractors have in Accadueo the place to meet, compare and stay up-to-date.

Biomarine 2014 (31th October)

BioMarine is the only international investment platform dedicated to marine bio resources and the strategic center of action and initiatives for key stakeholders in the marine bioresources sectors. SEACOLORS brochures and dissemination material were shared within assistants.

Biomarine brought together 300 Executives and CEOs from marine ingredients, marine cosmetics, marine nutraceuticals, aquaculture, aquafeed, marine bio energy, pharmaceuticals and clean tech.

BIO-Europe 2014 (3rd-5th November)

BIO-Europe is one of the most important biotechnology events, where SEACOLORS brochures and dissemination material were shared within assistants. 

BIO-Europe is Europe's largest partnering conference serving the global biotechnology industry. The conference annually attracts leading dealmakers from biotech, pharma and finance along with the most exciting emerging companies. Produced with the support of BIO, it is regarded as a “must attend” event for the biotech industry.

6th Symposium on Bioengineering (22ndNovember)

The 6th Symposium on Bioengineering brought together the very best of what is considered to be one of the fastest growing markets today: Bioengineering. SEACOLORS project was presented to create awareness about the marine resources opportunities and challenges.

Broad and multidisciplinary, Bioengineering, the application of engineering principles to biological systems, encompasses areas as diverse and cutting edge as Molecular Biotechnology, Biological Engineering and Biomedical Engineering.

Biotech Showcase 2015 (12th-14th January)

Biotech Showcase™ is an investor and partnering conference devoted to providing private and public biotechnology and life sciences companies with an opportunity to present to, and meet with, investors and pharmaceutical executives in one place during the course of one of the industry's largest annual healthcare investor conferences.

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For further information:
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03801, Alcoy Alicante
Telf: 34 965 54 22 00
FAX: 34 965 54 34 94

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