Absorboost: Cellulosic Superabsorbent Polymer (C-SAP) as Agricultural Aid

Absorboost is a cellulosic superabsorbent polymer (C-SAP) converted from cotton textile waste. It is developed using the Green Machine (hydrothermal treatment) to recycle cotton textile waste. While agriculture accounts for 70% of all freshwater withdrawals globally, Absorboost can retain soil moisture under extreme weather condition (e.g. drought and over-rain) with its huge absorbency, thus reducing water consumption in irrigation and benefitting cotton farming. Its water release and retention function can be reused on both sunny and rainy days.

The use of Absorboost in cotton plantation is a bio-friendly and close-the-loop attempt that contributes to a sustainable fashion industry. It is a response to the rapid growth of the world’s population coupled with the rapid changes in fashion trends are resulting in more and more textile waste. 

  • Post-consumer cotton-polyester blended fibre are separated through hydrothermal process. Cotton fibre are then decomposed into cellulosic powders. After further dissolution, crosslinking, drying and milling, and sieving, it becomes Absorboost that can be used as agricultural aid.
  • A pilot scale system for larger amount production of Absorboost is now on-going, under the collaboration with Shahi, India's largest exporter of ready-made garments, and University of Agricultural Sciences Dharwad for upscaling the production of Absorboost to make it further affordable to farmers in India.

Industry Benefit
  • A solution of water retention in soil for agriculture, particularly in cotton plantation due to its huge ability to absorb and retain water
  • An eco-friendly alternative to petrochemical-based superabsorbent polymer
  • Recycling textile waste and reducing environmental damage
Technological Breakthrough
  • Recycling cotton and polyester blended-fibre fabrics, converting the cotton into cellulose powder and hence producing Absorboost
  • Able to absorb more than 30 times the volume of liquid and retain more than 20 times the volume of liquid relative to its own mass
  • Having a swelling rate of >0.2g/(g-SAP - sec), a free swelling capacity (FSC) of >30g /g-SAP, and a centrifuge retention capacity (CRC) of >15g/g-SAP, it can help cotton farmers retain soil moisture and therefore reduce water consumption in irrigation
47th International Exhibition of Inventions of Geneva (2019) - Gold Medal
Project Name (ITF)
Cellulosic Superabsorbent Polymer (SAP) from Post-consumer Textile Waste
Project Number (ITF)