An Introduction to KERTEX

KERTEX is a sustainable, next-gen bio-alternative to petroleum based synthetic fabrics. Taking its name from the combination of ‘Keratin’ and ‘Textiles,’ KERTEX is created from keratin biopolymer that is spun into threads and then fabrics. Keratin is a fibrous protein that possesses unique structural properties. Keratins proteins are found in all vertebrate animals. Keratin forms the hair (such as wool), the outer layer of skin, horns, nails, claws, and hooves of mammals.

KERTEX is created from a beta keratins extracted from an abundant bio-waste product: chicken feathers. Each year, the U.S. chicken industry generates more than 1.2 million metric tons of waste feathers, which contain the keratin bio-polymer foundation of KERTEX. Supported by the U.S. Army, Oceanit is developing KERTEX fabrics to meet the Army’s high-wear military specifications for defense applications such as straps, apparel, vehicle seat covers and seat belts, and much more.

Global consumption of natural and synthetic fibers is estimated at nearly 70 million tons annually, for use not just in clothing but also in carpets, vehicles, construction materials, and a host of other everyday applications. KERTEX presents a novel, sustainable, and bio-based alternative that will reduce global reliance on synthetic, petroleum-based materials while mitigating the drawbacks associated with natural fiber materials.

KERTEX delivers cost-effective sustainability and better fabric performance in safety, fit, form, and function for textiles across a range of military applications. Beyond performance, the production of KERTEX is more sustainable than synthetic textiles like polyester in terms of carbon footprint, delivering a roughly 50% savings in production process emissions. The ability to dope dye KERTEX also provides significant environmental, technical, and process advantages, including significantly reduced water and energy consumption, decreased chemical use, and more.

In addition to advantages over synthetic fabrics, KERTEX also delivers advantages over natural fiber fabrics like cotton or hemp, in that the raw material, waste feathers, are not constrained by seasonality, weather conditions, harvests, or transport distances. In fact, a single chicken processing plant could produce more KERTEX raw fiber material from waste feathers annually than the entire hemp fiber production of the U.S. today.