Academic Venture Fund - 2010

Biochar Fibers for Personal Protective Equipment

Breathing mask

Protective clothing is essential for workers exposed to toxic chemicals. Replacing current technologies for chemical protective liners with biochar—a stable charcoal product—may provide a greener route to the next generation of chemical protective clothing. Cornell researchers will test several biochars' capacity to absorb organic pollutants, measure their suitability for incorporation into nonwoven biochar fibers, and identify promising fiber combinations for further study and potential mass production. In addition to their application in chemical protective gear, biochar-based fabrics may later serve as geotextiles for containing toxic spills and as sampling devices for assessing contamination on solid surfaces. Wider use of biochar will reduce our reliance on petroleum products and fight climate change.

Investigators: Anthony Hay, Juan Hinestroza