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From beached leaves to performance material: acoustic panels made from marine plants

Algae and marine plants represent valid resources for the production of materials and finished products of various kinds, such as bioplastics, inks, textile fibers, solar panels and materials for interiors and building materials.

The ribbon-shaped leaves of eelgrass - a perennial aquatic plant widely spread in the North Atlantic and Pacific, as well as in the Adriatic Sea, where it is present along the coasts of Friuli Venezia Giulia and in the Venetian lagoon - reach 1 meter in length and are used as raw material to produce durable acoustic panels for indoor environments.

Sould Acoustic Frames EelgrassImage curtesy of Søuld

High performing, low-impact and low-emission acoustic material made from eelgrass is made of 75% eelgrass, 15% flame retardant (Burnblock), and 10% bicomponent fiber consisting of polyethylene and polypropylene. It represents a CO2-storing alternative to conventional building materials that is ‘cradle to gate’ carbon negative certified: there is more CO2 bound in eelgrass than what is emitted in the production of the final product.

 1124501 31MC 11245-01 - MCX library - Scopri come accedere.

These acoustic mats are composites that can replace or be an addition to existing acoustic offerings. The material has embedded fire resistance due to the high content of mineral salts present in eelgrass which also impede mold growth and reduce risk of rot. It also offers excellent thermal and moisture regulating properties and does not contain toxic chemicals.

Eelgrass is a natural resource that grows spontaneously in the sea and whose stranding is a completely natural annual phenomenon: it washes ashore without any human intervention and is dried on nearby fields by sun and wind. It is then shredded down to shorter standardized fibers and impregnated with a non-toxic flame retardant and mixed with a binder designed for cellulosic fibers and recyclability.

zosteraImage curtesy of Søuld

The Cradle to Cradle Gold Certified® (2022) and Cradle to Cradle Material Health Platinum Certified® (2022) material is designed for circularity. Once the material has reached the end of its life they can be returned to the factory, re-shredded and either blended into standard products or used to create a base for second-generation materials. Materials that are not returned to the factory can be sent for combustion at heating plants. Applications include interior walls or ceilings.

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