Tuesday, May 17, 2016

News: Leather forecast: Growth for Xeros

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Xeros, an innovative cleantech company based in Rotherham, has completed trials of its technology that could save billions of litres of water in the leather processing industry.

Based on the Advanced Manufacturing Park (AMP) in Rotherham, the Leeds University spin-out is best known for its "virtually waterless washing machine" that uses a unique method of special polymer beads rather than the usual large amounts of fresh water to clean clothes.

Initially targeting the commercial laundry market, and finding success across the US, the AIM-listed firm is also targeting the $50 billion leather processing market for the deployment of its polymer beads.

The recently completed trial was part of a multi-phase joint development agreement with LANXESS, a DAX listed global speciality chemicals business based in Germany with sales of €8.3bn.

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The full scale trial which was conducted by a leading independent tannery has shown that material reductions in water, chemistry and effluent are achievable by using Xeros' technology in the retanning and dyeing phase of leather processing. When Xeros' technology was applied to this phase of the process, the water used and the effluent generated were reduced by over 50%. The leather produced was judged to be of excellent quality in terms of look, feel, and handle.

This joint development programme follows successful trials with the University of Northampton.

Traditional leather processing machines can consume approximately 90 tonnes of water to produce one tonne of leather. The company estimates that if all leather processing machines were converted to using Xeros technology, the potential global fresh water savings would equate to four billion litres per day.

The group intends to continue further trials to determine the maximum potential of its technology in this field whilst simultaneously progressing its commercialisation plan. To commercialise the technology, the plan is to secure innovation partners at both ends of the supply chain – big leather consumer brands and tanneries further upstream.

Mark Nichols, chief executive of Xeros, said: "This is an important development which hails a step change in the sustainability of the leather processing industry.

"This successful trial provides encouraging evidence of the momentum building across the Group's activities and demonstrates another application of our platform technology."

Xeros website

Images: Xeros

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