In 2016, the world’s population was 7.4 billion; this number is expected to grow to 9.5 billion by 2050. The bulk of this growth will take place in underdeveloped and developing countries. As the economy in these countries improves, residents will have more purchasing power; as a result, per-capita consumption of goods, including textiles, will increase. In short, future population and economic growth will stimulate rapid increases in textile production and consumption, which, in turn, will drive significant increases in the textile industry’s absolute energy use, water use, and carbon dioxide (CO2) and other environmentally harmful emissions.
Having the higher education background in both textile technology engineering and energy efficiency technologies, I wrote a report on commercially available energy-efficiency technologies and measures for the textile industry several years ago. This report included a review of over 180 commercialized energy efficiency technologies and measures for the textile industry based on case-studies around the world. In addition to conserving energy, some of the technologies and measures presented also conserve water. The report can be downloaded from this Link (Hasanbeigi 2010).
Several other reports also document the application of commercialized technologies. However, today, given the projected continuing increase in absolute textile production, future reductions (e.g., by 2030 or 2050) in absolute energy use and CO2 emissions will require further innovation in this industry. Innovations will likely include development of different processes and materials for textile production or technologies that can economically capture and store the industry’s CO2 emissions. The development of these emerging technologies and their deployment in the market will be a key factor in the textile industry’s mid- and long-term climate change mitigation strategies.
However, information is scarce and scattered regarding emerging or advanced energy-efficiency and low-carbon technologies for the textile industry that have not yet been commercialized. That was why a few years ago, I wrote another report that consolidated available information on 18 emerging technologies for the textile industry with the goal of giving engineers, researchers, investors, textile companies, policy makers, and other interested parties easy access to a well-structured database of information on this topic. Table below shows the list of the technologies covered.
Table. Emerging energy-efficiency, water efficiency, and GHG emissions reduction technologies for the textile industry (Hasanbeigi 2013)