Company Plans To Make Paper Towels And Diapers Out Of Jellyfish

Gird thy loins with jellyfish, child.
Henry Kaiser, National Science Foundation

In many places, like beaches in Israel, there are too many jellyfish, nourished by rising ocean temperatures and acidity. Besides stinging swimmers in that country and worldwide, they can cause other thorny problems, like recently clogging the intake pipes of a Swedish nuclear plant. One Israeli company took a look at the jellies and decided to not just to do something about them, but to make something from them. Cine’al Ltd. is developing an absorbent material made of jellyfish called hydromash, and which the company claims is many times more absorbent than most types of paper towels. This product could be made into napkins, medical sponges, diapers and, of course, “paper” towels, the company told The Times of Israel. (Maybe they should be called “jelly” towels?)

This material can hold several times its weight in water, and unlike the polymers that currently make up absorbent material in diapers and other products, breaks down in about 30 days. The product owes is absorbent abilities to its cellular structure of jellyfish bodies. “Jellyfish are marine creatures composed of 90 percent water and that live in water,” according to Capital Nano, a company funding Cine’al. “Their bodies are formed from material that can absorb high volume of liquids and hold them without disintegrating or dissolving.”

If the company could actually make a biodegradable, economically competitive diaper, that would be huge. In its first year, for example, a single newborn baby produces at least 155 pounds (70 kilograms) of diapers–and most of the products on the market are made of synthetic materials that never really completely break down.

“There are too many jellyfish in the sea, and too many Pampers in landfills,” company president Ofer Du-Nour told the Times. “Cine’al may have the ultimate answer to both those issues.”