How Textiles Solved an Algae Problem

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How Textiles Solved an Algae Problem

Milliken Textiles and Gross-Wen Technology Development Teams Partner to Excel Commercialization

Gross-Wen is a wastewater treatment technology company that uses algae to recover nitrogen and phosphorus from wastewater. Compared to competitors who use bacteria or chemicals, algae is the most sustainable option for treating municipal and industrial wastewater. With a circular business model, Gross-Wen’s technology converts the algae used to clean wastewater into slow-release fertilizer.


Commercialization of this new technology did face some challenges. When developing their RAB system, Gross-Wen found that the conveyor belt they were using was too heavy and affected the performance of the equipment.


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After noticing that the backing of the original, off-the-shelf conveyor belt was made with polyester manufactured by Milliken, Gross-Wen approached our R&D team in 2018 with a challenge—help them develop a new conveyor belt that could optimize algae growth by considering material, weight and pore size.


Gross-Wen RAB System Right (1)


After months of collaboration between both technical teams, the new Milliken-manufactured conveyor belt was integrated into the RAB system in 2019. The RAB technology is currently being used in treatment facilities across multiple U.S. cities—from towns with populations in the thousands to major metropolitans that millions call home.

For the full story about our partnership and how our team went from a new challenge to a problem solved in less than a year on Innovation in Textile.