Colorifix Admin

The completion of a two-and-a-half year, rigorously assessed grant from the European Union marks a new period of commercial scale-up for Colorifix, the biotechnology that has proven its textile dyeing technology with the help of high-profile funders.

The €2.47m innovation grant, which commenced in January 2020, was transformative for Colorifix. It allowed the company to build a pilot plant in England that demonstrated the viability of its groundbreaking concept: dyeing textiles with a biological process that replaces chemical dye synthesis with biological pigment synthesis and importantly, uses the natural ability of microbes to deposit and fix pigments onto surfaces.  This seamless process has the potential to dramatically reduce the fashion industry’s environmental impact on water use, energy consumption and toxic chemical pollution. 


“The project has delivered exceptional results with significant immediate or potential impact,” according to the final assessment in 2022 by the European Commission’s European Innovation Council and SMEs Executive Agency, which administered the grant as part of its Horizon 2020 scheme.

Jim Ajioka, CSO of Colorifix, said: “The European Union is a leader in funding technologies that enable our transition to a green economy. After nearly three years of funding and partnership, we are pleased to have proven what we set out to demonstrate: that the apparel and fashion industries can colour textiles through an environmentally low-impact method inspired by nature.”

With momentum building after the commissioning of the pilot plant, Colorifix conducted a Life Cycle Analysis comparing its dyeing technology to conventional, chemically intensive techniques. The results, released in 2022, were game-changing. They show that the Colorifix method has a lower environmental impact across every assessed metric including an 80% reduction in water usage, 77% reduction in chemicals usage, and 53% reduction in energy usage. 

In the final months of the grant period last year, Colorifix closed an £18m Series B fundraising led by H&M CO:LAB, the venture capital arm of the global retailer. The company is preparing for significant commercial scale-up in 2023 after developing partnerships with sustainable clothing brands including Pangaia.

Orr Yarkoni, CEO of Colorifix said: “The value of the European Union’s Horizon 2020 grant extended well beyond capital. From the development of our pilot plant onward, their financial and technical support have been instrumental in placing Colorifix on the threshold of leadership in sustainable supply chains.” 


From 2020 to 2022, the EU’s Horizon 2020 grant facilitated:

– Construction of a plant in Cambridge, England, that combines biological fermentation and coloration in an integrated industrial process;

– Hiring of 10 staff who helped run the pilot plant and develop commercial viability;

– Creation of pink and brown pigments, the first using Colorifix’s biological synthesis techniques;

– Tests that succeeded in fixing Colorifix pigments to the Standard 100 by OEKO-TEX measure;

– A patent application for the design of a prototype fermentor with superior mixing capabilities.


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About Colorifix

Colorifix is a Norfolk, England-based biotechnology company that pioneered the first entirely biological process for producing and fixing pigments onto textiles. Fusing advanced technology and age-old processes from nature, it offers the most scaleable, environmentally friendly alternative to traditional dyeing technologies by cutting out harmful chemicals and significantly reducing consumption of water and energy.