You've probably read some creepy headlines about the “jellyfish invasion”... the venomous sea creatures have caused deaths, beach closings, seawater intake blockages, dips in fish populations and other environmental imbalances as their numbers continue to increase (a phenomenon called “blooming”) due to recent rises in ocean temperatures.
But an Israeli tech start-up may have come up with a pretty radical solution to the jellyfish apocalypse – by turning the creatures into paper towels, tissues, diapers and tampons.
Photo: National Geographic
Yes, you read that right: nanotechnology company Cine’al Ltd. is working on a way to turn jellyfish into a super-absorbent, biodegradable material that rivals any paper-based product on the market, and could replace the synthetic polymers that make up many of those products. The company's research into nano-materials led to a process that converts the creatures into super-absorbent “hydromash,” which can absorb several times its volume and bio-degrades in less than 30 days.
“There are too many jellyfish in the sea, and too many Pampers in landfills,” Cine’al president Ofer Du-Nour told Times of Israel. “Cine’al may have the ultimate answer to both those issues.”
Sure, that's awesome and everything, but... would you actually wrap your baby's little butt in a jellyfish diaper, or blow your nose on jellyfish tissues? (I'm not even going to think about those tampons.)
“I’m not worried about this,” Du-Nour comments, “and in many products it’s likely that the consumer won’t even know about it.” I'm not sure that's quite the reassurance I was hoping for... but still, the benefits of this process do seem pretty cool.
Not as cool as glow-in-the-dark jellyfish ice cream, of course...