Press Release | U.S. Army Awards KERTEX Phase II Support for Further Development of Keratin Textiles

Defense, Press Release
  • KERTEX is created from a specific, yet abundant bio-waste product: chicken feathers.
  • Each year, the U.S. chicken industry generates more than 1.2 million metric tons of waste feathers.
  • Taking its name from ‘Keratin’ and ‘Textiles,’ KERTEX is created from keratin, a fibrous protein that possesses unique structural properties.

Honolulu, HI August 14, 2023 | This week, the U.S. Army awarded Oceanit’s KERTEX performance textile phase II support to continue development, product prototyping, and eventual scaled production. KERTEX fabrics are being optimized to meet the Army’s high-wear military specifications for defense applications, initially for items such as apparel straps, vehicle seat covers, seat belts, and more.

Produced from keratin, a bio-polymer found in chicken feathers, KERTEX is a sustainable alternative to both petroleum-based synthetic fabrics, like polyester and seasonality-constrained, water-intensive natural fibers, like cotton. Keratin is among the toughest biopolymers, present in the robust structures of hooves and horns of animals.

Each year, the U.S. poultry industry generates more than 1.2 million metric tons of feathers as a byproduct of chicken production. These feathers contain the structural fibrous protein, beta-keratin, the building block of KERTEX. Beta keratin is extracted from the feathers and through a proprietary process are converted into fibers to be woven into KERTEX materials.

The production of KERTEX presents a roughly 50% carbon savings in production process emissions versus synthetic textile manufacturing like polyester. In addition, KERTEX also offers advantages over natural fiber fabrics, like cotton or hemp, in that it is not constrained by seasonality, weather conditions, or harvests.

The ample, nationwide byproduct supply of chicken feathers represents an excellent raw material opportunity for next-gen performance fabrics. KERTEX can be domestically sourced and produced, is environmentally renewing, and is robust and rugged enough for U.S. Army applications.

Oceanit’s KERTEX team is working to optimize raw materials sourcing, processing, and production, as well as developing a pipeline of textile partners all along the supply chain to support phase II work.

About Oceanit

Founded in 1985, Oceanit is a “Mind to Market” company that creates disruptive technology from fundamental science. Utilizing the unique discipline of Intellectual Anarchy, Oceanit reimagines innovation to break the bonds of normal and solve the impossible — delivering technologies to the market that impact humans and society. Oceanit’s diverse teams work across aerospace, healthcare, energy, and industrial/ consumer technologies, as well as on environmental and climate matters.  Through engineering and scientific excellence, Oceanit transforms fundamental science into impactful, market-focused technologies used around the world.