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Hannover, 12-Jan-2015

Qmilch Deutschland GmbH

Spinning silk out of milk

Milk is a miracle foodstuff. Nutritionally virtually complete, it supplies the raw material for an amazing cornucopia of dairy products that most people enjoy every day. However, the imagination and creativity that has gone into turning milk into so many different delicious things to eat is nothing compared to the genius of turning milk into a yarn that can be used to make clothing. Thanks to the hard work and dedication of German microbiologist Anke Domaske, milk is now the raw material for a revolutionary new biopolymer. Made from the milk protein casein, QMILK® already has a wide range of applications in different industries and is made exclusively by Qmilch Deutschland GmbH in Hannover.

QMILK® is made from milk that is no longer suitable for consumption and would normally be thrown away. “Milk is an emotional product that is the first food most people eat and subsequently have a horror of wasting,” says Ms. Domaske, the company’s founder and managing director. “It is important to stress that when explaining our product. The fact that we make something useful out of a waste product is a key selling point.”

QMILK® also has many other advantages. The revolutionary biopolymer is available as a fiber or in granular form. It is antibacterial, flame retardant and biodegradable. Clothing made from QMILK® fibers is silky to the touch, breathable and helps to regulate body temperature. Everything from underwear to performance sportswear can be made from it.

The sustainable alternative to petroleum-based polymers

In granular form, QMILK® can be used in the plastics industry to make a host of technical products such as cling film, food packaging and medical devices as well as children’s toys. “The QMILK® biopolymer offers an ideal alternative to petroleum-based plastics, many of which have a poor reputation for safety,” says Ms. Domaske. “It is made from a 100% natural and sustainable raw material and is produced in a highly water-efficient manufacturing process.” It takes just five minutes and no more than 2 l of water to produce 1 kg of QMILK®.

“The QMILK® biopolymer offers an ideal alternative to petroleum-based plastics, many of which have a poor reputation for safety.”

Anke Domaske, founder and managing director

Sourcing the raw material for QMILK® is unlikely ever to be a problem as over two million tons of raw milk is disposed of in Germany each year because it is out of date. In order to take advantage of this waste milk, Qmilch is planning to set up a collection system that will cover various points in the milk value chain from producer to retailer.

From the idea to the product

This ambitious project is typical of the enthusiasm that the driving force behind Qmilch’s success – Ms. Domaske – brings to the company that she has built up from the ground. She first started looking for a textile that was completely free from chemicals in 2011 and stumbled on a process that dated back to the 1930s. As a 19-year-old, she had run her own fashion business but had later decided to study microbiology.

The new business idea would draw on both skill sets. The first experiments into the new textile fiber were conducted in her kitchen. “Even though the idea was not new, I couldn’t find any experts in the field,” Ms. Domaske says. “So I had to learn by doing it all by myself.” Later on, the entrepreneur entered into partnership with the Fibre Institute in Bremen. Production of QMILK® began in a 3,000 m2 factory in April 2014 with a workforce of 20 employees.

Riding a wave of approval

Since then, QMILK® has enjoyed a rapid rise to prominence. The innovative product has attracted plenty of attention in the media and has been featured on several TV shows worldwide.

“Everyone we tell about the idea is fascinated by it, and all are amazed by how good fabrics made from the QMILK® biopolymer feel on the skin,” says Ms. Domaske. “My hope is that QMILK® will one day be as well known as Goretex.” There are many other potential applications for the QMILK® biopolymer. A face cream made from QMILK® can already be bought online, and experiments are currently being made into turning the material into a foam. “We have only seen the tip of the iceberg so far with regard to the potential for this material,” adds Ms. Domaske. “I am incredibly excited by what the future holds for us.”

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Qmilch Deutschland GmbH
Göttinger Chaussee 12-14
30453 Hannover, Germany

Phone: +49 511 37413059
Fax: +49 511 37455783

info@qmilk.eu
www.qmilk.eu

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Related Keywords

Milk

Plastics Industry

Raw material

Biopolymer

Textile

Waste Milk

Yarn