You would be forgiven for thinking that Green Prophet has some kind of illicit connection with the Hebrew University in Jerusalem given all the attention we’re giving them this week. Professor Oded Shoseyov from there developed Ashpoopie – a real-life version of “Vapoorizer” that turns animal and human poop into ash within seconds, and yesterday we learned that Ph.D student Shaul Lapidot has invented a new eco-friendly industrial foam comprised of the discards of paper mills, cutting down on both paper waste and fossil fuel consumption in one fell swoop.
Paper mills are inherently inefficient: smaller than the forming fabric mesh, 50% of the fibers used are washed away as sludge resulting in an accumulation of 11 million tons of paper waste in Europe alone.
Lapidot has discovered that these waste fibers are perfect for the production of nano-crystalline cellulose (NCC) which gives the foam the same kind of industrial strength associated with conventional foams.
PET be gone
Used to make furniture and car interiors, most foams on the market are made from polymers such as polyurethane, polystyrene, polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and polyethylene terphthalate (PET) – strong petroleum-based materials that reinforce our addiction to fossil fuels.
Mixed with furan resin, a byproduct of raw crop production such as sugar cane and oat hulls, the NCC-foam becomes even stronger, without causing undue environmental harm.
In fact, this product has the ability to clean up paper sludge and reduce our consumption of harmful plastics.
Melodea Ltd., an Israeli-Swedish startup, hopes to manufacture and sell Lapidot’s award-winning invention on an industrial scale. We hope that in time, there will emerge even more applications for the latest green material to emerge from the Middle East.
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