Heroes of Innovation - Anke Domaske

Anke Domaske saw sour milk’s great potential as a raw material. She uses it to manufacture biopolymers and fibers that offer unlimited possibilities for applications. That’s how she makes not only our clothing but also our electrical appliances, more sustainable.​​​

The people who change the world don't chase the spotlight. They're busy creating the things that make the world better. They are the heroes of innovation. Learn more at arrow.com/whyisit and participate in the social conversation using #whyisit.

It’s always inspired me when someone said “it doesn’t work.”  I always wanted to try it out first and see if it can be done, and if it didn’t, at least I tried.

I’m a trained microbiologist and fashion designer.  Four years ago I created textile fiber from milk, which is an actually one hundred percent raw material.  I came up with the idea to create textile fiber from milk because five years ago, my step-father suffered from cancer and developed a textile allergy.   We were just a young fashion label at the time, we were four women, and we were newcomers to the fiber industry, so we went to the experts and said, this is our idea.  No one believed it could work.

We were so desperate that we told ourselves we believe in this idea and this somehow has to work.  We went to the supermarket with about two hundred euros in our pockets and bought blenders and a giant thermometer because we didn’t have a lab that we could use and then we just started to produce dough.  There really wasn’t a moment when I thought “this isn’t working” There just wasn’t. 

When we work with milk when it’s past its sell by date, and what hardly anyone knows is that, more than two million tons of milk are thrown away in Germany each year.  Just imagine, that would be enough Tetra Paks to stretch from the earth to the moon.

There’s a funny story on how we came to make cosmetics from milk.  All day my technicians were standing by the machines and forming the dough.  When they came back home, their wives noticed how soft their hands were and complained that their hands weren’t as soft.

In the end it’s possible to produce so many different things from milk.  I can produce packaging, I can create technical components from it, and we’re already beginning to see how we can improve the properties of plastic or even replace it entirely. 

I believe that biopolymers can help create a more sustainable electronics industry.  The difference between biopolymers and other plastics is that plastics are petroleum based, but biopolymers are made out of natural raw materials.  There are companies in the electronics industry who say that they want to make the industry more sustainable.  This material also has very special and interesting properties.  It has no selfness, it’s flame retardant, and electrically insulating.  I haven’t experienced any of my materials limits.  That’s really remarkable and that’s what makes it so much fun.  We’ve created something completely new and that’s amazing. So, that’s why people call me the Dairy Fiber Fairy.

Related videos

Latest Videos

Sorry, your filter selection returned no results.

We've updated our privacy policy. Please take a moment to review these changes. By clicking I Agree to Arrow Electronics Terms Of Use  and have read and understand the Privacy Policy and Cookie Policy.

Our website places cookies on your device to improve your experience and to improve our site. Read more about the cookies we use and how to disable them here. Cookies and tracking technologies may be used for marketing purposes.
By clicking “Accept”, you are consenting to placement of cookies on your device and to our use of tracking technologies. Click “Read More” below for more information and instructions on how to disable cookies and tracking technologies. While acceptance of cookies and tracking technologies is voluntary, disabling them may result in the website not working properly, and certain advertisements may be less relevant to you.
We respect your privacy. Read our privacy policy here