South Korea-based chemical company Hyosung TNC has succeeded in extracting spandex from corn and commercialising the world’s first bio-based spandex. The company announced that it has successfully developed bio-derived spandex, ‘Creora bio-based’; using a natural material extracted from corn instead of coal, and obtained a global eco-friendly certification.
The ‘Creora bio-based’ spandex uses a corn-derived substance that obtained an eco-friendly certificate from the US Department of Agriculture, replacing a part of coal-extracted raw materials. The corn-derived substance has long been used for general fibres, wrapping papers, cosmetics, and liquid detergents, but not for high-functional textiles, such as spandex, as it is impossible to deliver unique elasticity and resilience due to technological limitations.
According to the Life Cycle Assessment, an assessment technique based on the international standards for environmental impact, when ‘Creora bio-based’ is applied to the products, it can reduce water use by 39 percent and carbon dioxide emissions by 23 percent, compared to conventional spandex products.
In June 2022, the ‘Creora bio-based’ received the Eco Product Mark, a global eco-friendly certification, from the SGS (formerly Société Générale de Surveillance). The Eco Product Mark is awarded to products that used eco-friendly raw materials, harmless to the human body, and produced via eco-friendly methods through ESG-oriented management.
As the European Union recently announced a full-scale adoption of the Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM) in 2025, global demand for eco-friendly biomaterials is on the rise. Data Bridge, a global market survey institute, expects the global biological fibre market to grow at an annual average of 5.5 percent by 2029.
Hyosung TNC will initially start production of the bio-based spandex at its production bases in South Korea including facilities in Gumi, and then increase its production through global production bases, such as those in Vietnam. In addition, it aims to continuously increase the use of natural raw materials for its products through collaboration with global fashion brands.
“We will play a pivotal role as an industry leader by steadily developing the next-generation eco-friendly textiles including biodegradable fibre,” said Hyosung Chairman Cho Hyun-joon.a