Twice as absorbent, and a possible solution to overflowing landfills
Global warming, agricultural runoff, and overfishing have all lead to an explosion in jellyfish populations around the world. Solutions were thin on the ground until an Israeli nanotechnology start-up came up with the idea for a range of absorbent products made from jellyfish. What’s even better is that diapers, medical sponges, and tampons made with this new material would biodegrade in 30 days, which is a big improvement on the hundreds of years required by existing solutions.
Inspired by research conducted at Tel Aviv University, the first step is to break down jellyfish flesh and infuse it with nanoparticles that give the resulting “Hydromash” antibacterial properties. Compared to the synthetic polymer products that clog up landfills around the world, jellyfish diapers would be twice as absorbent and much quicker to break down.
Jellyfish might not sound like a global catastrophe, but in some places they have no natural predators and have overtaken fish for the most populous species. This obviously poses a threat to tourism, but can also pose more bizarre threats to different nations. For example, in 2013, a cluster of jellyfish temporarily shut down a nuclear reactor in Sweden after they were sucked into a cooling pipe.
“I think the use of this could eventually be required by governments that are spending millions of dollars to keep jellyfish out of tourist and harbor areas,” Ofer Du-Nour, President of Cine’al, tells the Times of Israel.
While the source of the problems is undeniably climate change and warmer water, Hydromash could be a useful way to curb the population increases. As for the issue of overflowing landfills and household waste:
One third of disposable waste in dumps consists of diapers, Du-Nour says. In its first year, a newborn baby generates, on average, 70 kilos of diapers a year, maybe more.
Du-Nour sums it up perfectly when he adds:
There are too many jellyfish in the sea, and too many Pampers in landfills. Cine’al may have the ultimate answer to both those issues.