Brewed Protein™ refers to protein materials produced from plant-derived biomass using Spiber’s proprietary fermentation process. Brewed Protein materials can be processed into a variety of forms, with examples ranging from delicate filament fibers with a silky sheen to spun yarns that boast features such as cashmere-like softness or the renowned thermal and moisture-wicking properties of wool. Brewed Protein materials have a lot to offer ethically, too—Spiber’s in-house technology allows for the production of compelling animal-free fur and leather alternatives, and Brewed Proteins can also be processed into resins closely resembling tortoiseshell or animal horn. With potential uses ranging from medical applications to lightweight composite materials, the adaptability of Brewed Proteins means they are perfectly placed to support a wide variety of consumer needs.
In addition to their diversity, Brewed Protein materials also offer several noteworthy environmental benefits. Designed to be non-reliant on petrochemicals as primary feedstock, and to not create or break down into environmentally-persistent microplastics, Brewed Protein materials are expected to have considerably less impact on marine ecosystems when compared to traditional plastic materials. Furthermore, the unique microbial fermentation technology used in Brewed Protein production shows considerable potential for avoiding ethical and environmental concerns including high greenhouse gas emissions often associated with commonly-used animal fibers.
Spiber is also pursuing environmentally-conscious endeavors at the organizational level, including the creation of a dedicated sustainability team and initiatives to build a sustainable material production process and business structure. We have also established in-house biodegradability testing capabilities and an environmental impact evaluation system, and are preparing to publish a life cycle assessment report at the start of commercial production in Thailand.
This combination of environmentally responsible design—from the production process to the material itself—with near-endless adaptability makes Brewed Protein materials an exciting new option for designers and creators looking to build a better, more sustainable future.
With support from government, academia, and numerous organisations and individuals, Spiber has succeeded in forging a new industry based on the use of protein biomaterials. After more than 15 years of research and development, Spiber is now focusing on the transition to mass production. Spiber’s Thailand plant, currently under construction, is scheduled to begin commercial operation in 2021 with an annual capacity of several hundred tonnes, and preparations are underway for additional scale-up initiatives aimed at further reducing environmental burden and production costs. With an eye towards driving future progress, Spiber is engaged in collaborations with designers, creators, and top-tier companies in numerous industries, all working towards one goal—to bring the next stage of the protein revolution to fruition.