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SPONSORED CONTENT - In a ground-breaking collaboration, the LYCRA Company has teamed up with Qore, a joint venture between Cargill, an expert in agricultural fermentation technologies, and HELM, a German chemical company to enable the world’s first large-scale commercial production of bio-derived elastane. The LYCRA Company invented the world’s first bio-derived elastane in 2014, and now, this patented solution will be available at scale in early 2025.

A key ingredient in LYCRA fibre is BDO (1,4-butanediol), which today is produced from fossil-based resources. QIRA is a next-generation BDO made from annually renewable field corn grown in the US state of Iowa. QIRA will help reduce LYCRA fibre’s environmental footprint and dependence on fossil fuels, without compromising on  quality or functionality..

A recent Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) conducted by Ramboll showed that Bio-derived LYCRA fibre made with QIRA has the potential to reduce carbon emissions by up to 44%* versus traditional LYCRA fibre. This product will likewise enable The LYCRA Company’s customers, including mills, brands and retailers, to reduce their own product footprints. And it is expected to deliver the same comfort and fit as original LYCRA fibre.

The Qore facility at Cargill’s biotechnology campus and corn refining operation in Eddyville, Iowa, USA, will source most of the field corn from farms within a 100-mile radius of its location.  The site will run on nearly 100% wind power and the corn used to make the BDO requires little to no irrigation. Together these factors can help reduce greenhouse-gas emissions and water usage, while providing local farmers with a reliable market for their crops.

Bio-derived LYCRA fibre made with QIRA can be blended with the same companion fibres used today to make a variety of garments. Wovens, circular knit and warp knit fabrics are all appropriate end uses, as well as hosiery and seamless garments. Brands and retailers will not have to re-engineer fabrics or patterns or processes because bio-derived LYCRA fibre will deliver equivalent performance, eliminating the need for any significant production changes.

“We are seeing a lot of interest across the globe from the leading brands and retailers we work with who are focused on finding sustainable solutions to help them achieve their own sustainability goals,” said Nicolas Banyols, Chief Commercial Officer. “Collaborating with Qore to accelerate the transition to renewable resources is not only exciting for the LYCRA Company but also important our customers.””

The LYCRA Company estimates that up to 30% of its current annual production will be replaced with the renewable QIRA ingredient. Bio-derived LYCRA fibre will be available at scale in early 2025, with test product available now.

To learn more about this sustainable solution, visit

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