DuPont Industrial Biosciences, in collaboration with Huntsman Corp., released the results of a case study on Wednesday that demonstrates the performance capabilities of Huntsman’s Gentle Power Bleach, powered by DuPont’s first-to-market enzymatic bleaching technology, DuPont PrimaGreen EcoWhite.

The study, conducted between 2006 and 2012, measured significant reductions in water use, energy consumption and chemical use coupled with notable increases in product quality and yield.

Portugal’s Acabamentos Têxteis de Barcelos, a major knitwear dyeing and finishing specialist, introduced this technology to its facility with the goal of increasing performance while using fewer resources. According to the study, from 2006 to 2012, ATB measured a 30 percent increase in production to 4,409 tons, saw a reduction in water usage of 55 cubic meters of water per ton of fabric produced and a 35 percent reduction in the use of chemicals per ton of fabric produced, as well as a significant reduction in energy consumption.

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“This case study is proof positive that through technology innovation and collaboration, significant sustainability improvements can be made in textile processing in high-volume production environments,” said Wayne Ashton, global business leader for Home & Personal Care for DuPont Industrial Biosciences. “Global competition is stronger than ever and with Portugal facing seasonal water scarcity and the need to curtail energy consumption, DuPont and Huntsman delivered maximized productivity while achieving considerable environmental savings.”

Conventional cotton bleaching techniques require a high temperature and large amounts of caustic chemical additives to modify and neutralize the pH range. To increase sales and profitability and reduce environmental impacts, ATB turned to DuPont and Huntsman’s enzyme-based bleaching system that allows for low-temperature bleaching of textiles in a neutral pH range using less water and energy.

“The combination of Gentle Power Bleach and Avitera, our flagship and environmental award winning tri-active dye, not only helped ATB reduce utility and water consumption, it has a lower environmental impact and is a clear demonstration of how collaboration across the textile supply chain can make a positive difference,” said Steve Gray, Huntsman’s vice president of marketing and strategic planning.

Cotton pretreated with Gentle Power Bleach demonstrates a softer, bulkier, more natural handle with less fabric weight loss. The system also delivers brighter color shades with a higher color yield and bleaches regenerated cellulosic fibers to full-white levels.


The textile industry is a mainstay of Portugal’s economy, providing employment and export earnings. Competition from low-cost overseas manufacturers and weak global demand has pushed other firms offshore or out of business. Ricardo Mano, administrator at ATB, which processes 35,000 kilograms of fabric daily, said, “To ensure we can continue to expand in an environmentally responsible way, we needed a partner capable of delivering high-performance products to address the challenges of processing cotton in modern Portugal.”

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