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Swedish scientists develop popcorn-based insulation

Image: Karl Bachl GmbH & Co. KG

Scientists at the University of Göttingen in Sweden have developed a process of using popcorn to make sustainable building insulation and have agreed a licence with the German building material specialist Bachl Group to commericalise it.

The research group, Chemie und Verfahrenstechnik von Verbundwerkstoffen (chemistry and process engineering of composite materials) at the Faculty of Forest Sciences and Forest Ecology, has been able to make insulation boards from ‘granulated’ popcorn. They claim the boards have excellent thermal insulation properties and good protection against fire.

“The great advantage of this granular material is that it is a plant-based, environmentally friendly and a sustainable alternative to the products derived from petroleum currently used in the industry,” explained the head of the research group, Professor Alireza Kharazipour.

“This new process, based on that of the plastics industry, enables the cost-effective production of insulation boards at an industrial scale,” he says. “Especially in the field of insulation in construction, this ensures that natural insulation materials are no longer just niche products.”

In addition, the new popcorn products are said to be water repellent, which opens up even more opportunities for practical applications and extends their useful life.

Michael Küblbeck, group managing director of the exclusive divisional licensing partner Bachl, added: “We are delighted to be launching such an innovative insulation product using popcorn onto the market together with the University of Göttingen.

“For us, this is another important milestone in our strategic development towards becoming an integrated, multi-material insulation supplier. Popcorn insulation complements our quality range perfectly and means we can respond even more precisely to the different requirements of the market and our customers.”

The licence agreement between the University and Bachl was brokered by MBM ScienceBridge GmbH, a wholly owned subsidiary of the University of Göttingen Public Law Foundation.

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