PPE masks from wool by Lincoln Agritech in New Zealand

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Lincoln Agritech, a research and development company owned by Lincoln University in New Zealand, has received $290,000 in government funding to create biodegradable wool-based personal protective equipment (PPE) masks for COVID-19 pandemic response. The products will reduce dependence on overseas producers and reduce the environmental impact of PPE use.

The 18-month research programme is using patented technology from the Wool Research Organisation (WRONZ) to change the physical format of the fibre and improve its absorption and virus-neutralising properties, making the masks both highly effective and environmentally sustainable.

The programme is funded by the $13.57-million COVID Innovation Acceleration Fund (CIAF) announced by the ministry of business, innovation and employment (MBIE) in March to boost New Zealand’s ability to respond to current and future pandemics, according to a media report in New Zealand.

Lincoln Agritech, a research and development company owned by Lincoln University in New Zealand, has received $290,000 in government funding to create biodegradable wool-based personal protective equipment (PPE) masks for COVID-19 pandemic response. The products will reduce dependence on overseas producers and reduce the environmental impact of PPE use.

The 18-month research programme is using patented technology from the Wool Research Organisation (WRONZ) to change the physical format of the fibre and improve its absorption and virus-neutralising properties, making the masks both highly effective and environmentally sustainable.

The programme is funded by the $13.57-million COVID Innovation Acceleration Fund (CIAF) announced by the ministry of business, innovation and employment (MBIE) in March to boost New Zealand’s ability to respond to current and future pandemics, according to a media report in New Zealand.

Wool is an ideal material for the filtration and binding needed to develop PPE, but its coarse structure could present limitations, according to the company, which said the new format also enhanced the absorbency and binding properties of wool, making the fibre even more suitable for PPE use.

Lincoln Agritech has established its wool research and product development capability over several years of partnership with the wool industry through WRONZ, Wool Industry Research Ltd (WRONZ’s research subsidiary) and MBIE.

Lincoln Agritech will work closely with WRONZ and local manufacturers, including Christchurch-based FibreTech, with assistance from Auckland filter experts, Lanaco.