Texas Tech University Wins Grant for Textile Manufacturing Innovation


The Walmart Foundation and the U.S. Conference of Mayors announced Texas Tech University as one of this year’s U.S. Manufacturing Innovation Fund grant recipients for the school’s indigo cotton color dyeing research. Texas Tech University will receive nearly $275,000 from the Walmart Foundation. The 2017 round of grants are focused on innovations in textile manufacturing processes.

“The research project of Dr. Ethridge and his team addresses the need for cost-reducing, sustainable dyeing with indigo, which comprises one of the largest single types of dyes used throughout the world today and is of paramount importance for textiles made from cotton,” said Dr. Steven Fraze, interim chair of the Texas Tech University College of Agricultural Sciences & Natural Resources. “the Walmart Foundation’s support of this project shows an awareness of need and a desire to help U.S.-based manufacturers reach new levels of efficiency and sustainability. This college is devoted to the pursuit of knowledge that improves the competitiveness of cotton; therefore, we are especially gratified that the Walmart Foundation has enabled research offering such great potential for improvement in the manufacturing process.”

Texas Tech University is one of six universities that will collectively receive nearly $3 million in grants from the fund to support research proposals that strive to create new manufacturing technologies and reduce the cost of producing goods in the U.S. with the ultimate goal of creating jobs that support America’s growing manufacturing base. The fund was formed in 2014 to provide a total of $10 million in grants to focus specifically on advancing the production or assembly of consumer products in the United States. Texas Tech University was also awarded in 2014 for the school’s research on various aspects of textile manufacturing, dyeing efficiency and specialty finishes. This is the third and final round of grants awarded by Walmart and the Walmart Foundation for the fund. The other winning universities are listed here.

“Lubbock and Texas Tech University are located in the largest contiguous cotton-growing region in the world,” said Lubbock Mayor Daniel Pope. “With the grant awarded by the Walmart Foundation, we are extremely excited about the progress, potential, and future of this important research project. The project involves cutting-edge technology and research, and receiving this prestigious award underscores Lubbock and Texas Tech University’s position of leadership in fiber technology and biopolymer research worldwide.”

As part of this round of grants from the fund, the Walmart Foundation granted $274,999 to Texas Tech University for their proposal to create a process to sustainably reduce cotton dyeing with indigo. A unique colorant for blue jeans, is a natural, non-toxic organic dye that has been exactly copied synthetically for more than 100 years. While the indigo dye product itself is highly sustainable, the indigo dyeing process is not. The dominant technology for indigo dyeing was developed in 1921. It is a slow-moving, water- and labor-intensive technology using large amounts of sulfur reducing agents and other chemicals that make complete waste elimination too expensive.

“Advancing the production or assembly of consumer products in the U.S. is the number one goal of the Innovation Fund,” said Kathleen McLaughlin, president of the Walmart Foundation and chief sustainability officer for Walmart. “As these projects come to fruition over the next few years, we hope the research not only enables cost-effective solutions for manufacturers, but also improves the sustainability of the U.S. textile industry.”

Support for the U.S. Manufacturing Innovation Fund complements Walmart’s larger commitment to help revitalize U.S. manufacturing. In January 2013, Walmart announced a commitment to buy an additional $250 billion in products that support U.S. jobs by 2023. 

For more information on Walmart’s commitment to U.S. manufacturing, please visit here.

About Walmart  

Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE: WMT) helps people around the world save money and live better – anytime and anywhere – in retail stores, online, and through their mobile devices. Each week, nearly 260 million customers and members visit our 11,593 stores under 63 banners in 28 countries and e-commerce websites in 11 countries. With fiscal year 2016 revenue of $482.1 billion, Walmart employs approximately 2.4 million associates worldwide. Walmart continues to be a leader in sustainability, corporate philanthropy and employment opportunity. Additional information about Walmart can be found by visiting http://corporate.walmart.com on Facebook at http://facebook.com/walmart and on Twitter at http://twitter.com/walmart.

About Philanthropy at Walmart  

By using our strengths to help others, Walmart and the Walmart Foundation create opportunities for people to live better every day. We have stores in 28 countries, employing more than 2.4 million associates and doing business with thousands of suppliers who, in turn, employ millions of people. We are helping people live better by accelerating upward job mobility and economic development for the retail workforce; addressing hunger and making healthier, more sustainably-grown food a reality; and building strong communities where we operate and inspiring our associates to give back. Whether it is helping to lead the fight against hunger in the United States with $2 billion in cash and in-kind donations or supporting Women’s Economic Empowerment through a series of grants totaling $10 million to the Women in Factories training program in Bangladesh, China, India and Central America, Walmart and the Walmart Foundation are not only working to tackle key social issues, we are also collaborating with others to inspire solutions for long-lasting systemic change. To learn more about Walmart’s giving, visit www.foundation.walmart.com.   

About The U.S. Conference of Mayors

The United States Conference of Mayors is the official non-partisan organization of cities with populations of 30,000 or more. There are nearly 1,400 such cities in the country today and each city is represented in the Conference by its chief elected official, the mayor. Like us on Facebook at facebook.com/usmayors, or follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/usmayors.

(News release from Walmart Stores, Inc.)


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