Volume 2, Issue 2 (June 2024) – 3 articles

Cover Story (View full-size image):
Topinambur (Helianthus tuberosus) has attracted significant interest from producers due to its inulin content and potential for biofuel production. However, the aerial parts of the plant, which contain 88.6% fiber, are often discarded as agronomic residue with no practical application. This study characterizes the topinambur residue and evaluates its potential as a reinforcing agent in cassava starch-based films produced via extrusion and thermocompression. Mechanical testing demonstrated the reinforcing effect of topinambur fiber, supported by SEM analysis which showed strong fiber-matrix interaction. The addition of fiber increased the UV-visible barrier capacity, opacity, and chromaticity of the TPS films. Furthermore, fiber incorporation enhanced the hydrophobicity of the biocomposite materials while maintaining their biodegradable nature, with composite films biodegrading over 55% after 110 days. Consequently, the utilization of topinambur residue as a filler for TPS based composite materials is an effective, innovative, and non-toxic approach that aligns with the principles of the circular economy.  View this paper


18 April 2024

Biodegradable Composite Materials Based on Cassava Starch and Reinforced with Topinambur (Helianthus tuberosus) Aerial Part Fiber

The cultivation of topinambur (Helianthus tuberosus) has aroused the interest of producers since it is a source of inulin and can be used for biofuel production. During tuber processing, the aerial part of the crop remains as a by-product with no practical application. This work aimed to characterize the fibers obtained from the aerial part of topinambur and to evaluate their reinforcing potential in cassava starch-based films. Starch-based films with topinambur fiber (0, 5, and 10%) were prepared by extrusion followed by thermocompression. Topinambur residue contains 88.6% of total fiber, 8.5% ash, and 0.68% lipid. Mechanical film properties evidenced the reinforcement action of topinambur fiber, 10% content was able to increase up to 70% the Young’s modulus. SEM micrographs evidenced the good fiber-matrix interaction. UV-visible capacity, opacity, and chromaticity parameters of TPS films increased with fiber content in the formulation. Fiber incorporation improved the hydrophobicity of the biocomposite materials by increasing the contact angle. Starch-based films biodegraded more than 55% after 110 days, showing a similar trend to that of microcrystalline cellulose. Thus, topinambur residue can be effectively used as a reinforcing agent for TPS materials, being an innovative and non-toxic additive within the circular economy premises.


06 May 2024

Assessing Energy Emissions and Environmental Impact of Wool Processing: A Case Study of an Indian Textile Mill

The objective of this study is to investigate and analyze the effect of varying sources of energy inputs and their impact on carbon emissions during wool fiber processing. The method involved industrial visits to the textile wool processing mill and interaction with the manufacturing as well as commercial sourcing teams to gather relevant data.  The results and outcome of this analysis indicate that wool wet processing is responsible for a significant carbon emission of about 0.031 tCO2e/unit of production. Coal as a source of energy has the highest carbon emission 0.066 tCO2e/product, while the use of biomass and Pressurized Natural Gas (PNG) had significantly lower CO2 emissions. Further, this study evaluated the scope 1 and scope 2 category emissions produced at the wool processing stage which accounted for 56303.2 tCO2e and 1817.10 tCO2e respectively. 


31 May 2024

Solid Waste Recycling in Textile Processing Industries: A Case Study of India’s Clothing Hubs

This study investigated the type and amount of solid waste generation from textile wet processing industries and analyzed the disposal and recycling strategies implemented for its utilization. The method involved industrial interactions with textile processing mills. Data was gathered based on a field survey of manufacturing units and their compliance management teams. The solid waste generated in textile processing stages against input raw materials and fuel sources was recorded. The challenges in recycling solid waste are identified and further scope for its valorization is suggested. The results indicate that significant solid waste produced during the wet processing of textiles arises from waste fabric cuttings, combustion of fuels used in processing stages, and sludge generated from the post-effluent treatment. Around 80% of solid waste generated during the wet processing of textiles can find applications in the construction industry. Effective management of solid waste and its potential applications in construction are elaborated in detail.