Shalom Life | April 13, 2014

Israeli Startup Transforms Jellyfish Into Paper Towels

Cine’al Ltd., a nanotechnology company, is in the process of developing technology that turns jellyfish into material that can be used for diapers, paper towels, tampons, and more

By: Daniel Koren

Published: April 9th, 2014 in Business » Israel

Whenever you go swimming in the beach in Israel, there's one piece of advise fellow beach dwellers will always bestow to you: watch out for the jellyfish.

As we've all seen from that episode of Friends where Monica gets stung by one, the ensuing consequences aren't always ideal (Chandler had to pee on her wound).

Where many find this certain aquatic creature irritating above anything else, one Israeli nanotechnology company is currently in the process of developing technology that will transform the jellyfish into materials we can all use, that are also beneficial to the environment: paper towels, medical sponges, diapers, and tampons.

Of course, some of those, we can't ALL use, but practical nonetheless.

Cine'al Ltd. is looking to turn jellyfish into 'super-absorbers' reports the Times of Israel, which would turn the otherwise, more-or-less, useless, pesky fish (they also clog up water intake systems) into strong, durable materials used for paper towels and other such products.

“Right now, these items are made of synthetics, which take hundreds and thousands of years to break down,” explained Ofer Du-Nour, President and Chairman of Cine’al Lt.d. Du-Nour is also head of Capital Nano, an investment firm that invests in nanotechnology startups that use research provided from Israeli universities.

“The technologies we chose [in the medical and environmental fields] are proven technologies. The only issue is the engineering to bring the products to market,” Du-Nour added. “We cherry-picked through thousands of companies to find these.”

The potential jellyfish paper-towel product is inspired by research developed by Tel Aviv University's Dr. Shachar Richter. “One third of disposable waste in dumps consists of diapers,” explained Du-Nour. “In its first year, a newborn baby generates, on average, 70 kilos of diapers a year, maybe more.”

Richter and fellow researchers at TAU found that jellyfish, as composed mostly of water (90% in fact), their bodies can absorb high volumes of liquid without dissolving.

Take that, Bounty.

The researchers used nano-materials to transform the jellyfish into Hydromash, which is a safe, environmentally friendly material that bio-degrades and, most importantly, can rid the sea of all those pesky jellyfish.

Whether or not mothers will be flocking to the stores to buy jellyfish diapers is one thing, but it's certainly a neat idea for paper towels. I'd definitely use it. It seems Du-Nour agrees.

"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,” he said. “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.”

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