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Sci-Lume Labs
Natural fibers with synthetic performance
Funding to Date*
* Data source: Crunchbase
Oliver Shafaat, founder and CEO of Sci-Lume Labs
“I would argue that we need food more than we need clothes; I'd rather have people fed and walking around naked. Bylon requires no compromises there. It can clothe the world while keeping oil in the ground and freeing up land and water for food and healthy ecosystems.”
By mass, manufacturers make the equivalent of 60 Boeing 747s worth of apparel fibers per hour.

Fashion is among the world’s most wasteful industries. Textile production alone accounts for up to 10% of global carbon emissions – approximately the same as the steel industry. In the U.S., 85% of all clothes are landfilled or incinerated. Synthetic clothing fibers such as polyester and nylon are petrochemicals that can shed microplastics into our food, water, and air for generations – much like plastic bottles. Natural fibers like cotton and wool are land-, fertilizer- and water-hungry. Under pressure from regulators and consumers, apparel brands have taken steps to make a circular transition, but it is impossible for them to do this using legacy fibers.

To address this, Sci-Lume Labs has developed Bylon, a 100% recyclable, biodegradable, melt-processable polymer that can drop seamlessly into the textile supply chain. Bylon offers the moisture properties and comfort of cotton with the strength and lightness of synthetics like polyester and nylon. Just as manufacturers turn oil into synthetic textiles, Sci-Lume Labs can valorize agricultural waste from industries such as biofuels and brewing to make Bylon cost-efficiently. Upstream and downstream, Bylon uses the same infrastructure and processes in use today.  

Sci-Lume Labs was founded by Oliver Shafaat, a Caltech PhD who previously worked on developing next-gen fibers in Japan. Based in Oklahoma, Sci-Lume Labs is currently developing swatches and prototype garments to showcase Bylon’s end-to-end supply chain compatibility. With Bylon, neither consumers nor manufacturers have to change their behavior to prevent textile fibers from damaging the environment.