How can challenges like space travel drive innovation in biotech and textiles?

Célia Lointier joined Vienna Textile Lab in 2019 as an environmental chemist to research the impact of our novel microbial dyes and pigments and test their special chemical, physical and biological properties. Ever since her childhood Célia wanted to work in environmental sciences and decided to study chemistry at the University of Pau et des Pays de l’Adour, Pau, France. During her Master’s studies in the field of pollution management, she got an opportunity to spend the second year of her Master’s studies Chalmers University of Technology, Gothenburg, Sweden. Her teachers deeply impressed her with how they put sustainability at the core of the curriculum. Célia’s present mission is with Vienna Textile Lab – considering the pollution impact of the textile industry today, she is highly motivated to contribute to a cleaner world.

Mascha and Célia in action, Copyright Vienna Textile Lab

Galactica project: Developing a new non-toxic antimicrobial finishing based on natural sources

“We did not expect so many of the compounds from our microorganisms to have an antimicrobial effect on common human pathogens, which is very encouraging as some of them could be novel bio-based compounds leading us towards a more sustainable future.”

Célia Lointier, Environmental and Space Chemist

The European Galactica project supports the creation of new value chains in the textile and aerospace industry based on advanced manufacturing. Participating in the 1st Galactica Hackathon in February-March 2021 opened new developments and new market opportunities for our team. We were excited to present our bio-based low carbon footprint antimicrobial solution for technical fibres and textiles to be used on Earth and in space. The competition among participating SMEs was fierce, but let us admit it we had great fun competing. We learned a lot and could not wait to apply for the next stage – the Pioneer Acceleration.

“We want to solve pain points for our customers who have no current alternatives on the market but to use the prevalent petrochemical based finishings. Hence our antimicrobial solution BiomX will help producers specialised in sport, medical and high performance fibres and textiles to make their products safer and healthier for their end customers and for the planet in the most cost efficient way possible. Moreover our solution will keep the garments and gear fresh, odourless and durable.”

Galactica was more than a project well done, it offered great networking events, and especially through participating in the Learning Expeditions in Prato and in Barcelona/Terrassa, we have enlarged our own network with new partnership opportunities with many local Spanish and Italian companies. We plan to finish the research phase for our BiomX solution by 2025 in order to make our product fit for the launch in 2026. For this undertaking, we are actively looking for further investment and research to ensure market entry.

We had amazing mentors such as Josep Casamada, Project Manager at AEI TÈXTILS supporting us all the way, and especially our Galactica contact Simone Carli, International Project Manager from Science Park Graz, who always had an open ear.

We send out special thanks to Univ.-Ass. Peter Holzinger (lecturer at Kunstuni Linz and owner of the brand superated), has graciously contributed the cuts and seamstress to manufacture our prototypes! It was nearly a mission impossible without you!

Moreover, we want to thank Suedwolle, Lenzing, and Rossignol for providing generously fabrics and special knits for this project.

Find out more about how and why we got into space in our following blog on the ESA OSIP Project Bacterma.

“This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 872336. The sole responsibility for the content of this publication lies with the authors. It does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the European Union. Neither the EISMEA nor the European Commission are responsible for any use that may be made of the information contained therein”.