Innovation That Matters

The popcorn-based insulation replaces the need for oil and mining | Photo source Karl Bachl GmbH & Co. KG

Water-repellant building insulation made from popcorn

Science

The new product provides a direct replacement for petroleum-based materials

Spotted: Organic, flavoured, and with added ingredients – popcorn is a snack loved by many. It may be tasty, but it’s not exactly what you would think of for a building material. Yet this is exactly how scientists from Germany’s University of Göttingen have used it. The team made an exterior building insulation material using granulated popcorn. The new insulation is efficient, water repellant, and provides good protection from fire.

Used as part of the exterior shell of a building, the popcorn-based insulation is of a quality equivalent to that of commonly used petroleum-based versions. As a sustainable material made from plants, not only does the popcorn insulation help reduce thermal waste, it also reduces carbon emissions. Production of the popcorn insulation allows for the direct replacement of the need for oil and mining.

The insulation will shortly be available commercially. Working closely with the Bachl Group, the University has agreed a licensing agreement for the product itself and the production process. With plastic insulation covering around 90 per cent of the global market, eco-friendly alternatives are desperately needed.

Plant power is being used in a range of exciting ways: from a cloud server running on tomatoes, to living roofs providing new means for achieving passive design, both of which have been spotted by Springwise.

Written by: Keely Khoury

Email: akharaz@gwdg.de

Website: uni-goettingen.de

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