While people hailing from places near the Mediterranean sea know exactly what Neptune balls are and consider them more of a nuisance and something which doesn’t have any use, for others Neptune Balls are little balls of seaweed that come from the Posidonia Oceanica plant, also known as Neptune grass. While these little balls that are usually found as clumped-together with lots of sand inside, didn’t have much use till date, researchers at Fraunhofer Institute of Chemical Technology has found that these little balls can be converted into high-quality building insulation that is environmentally friendly too.
Being plentiful, renewable and above all useless till date, makes this dead seaweed as a perfect alternative to other forms of insulation currently being used in buildings. Not only is the weed mold-resistant and completely non-flammable, it also doesn’t rot and converting it into insulation doesn’t need chemicals as well. Moreover, it can absorb water vapor and release it again without having any effect on its insulation properties.
Converting these Neptune Balls into insulation requires simple processes such as mechanical shaking that separates the balls and lets the sand fall out. After being shaken, these balls are made to travel down a conveyer belt after which they are cut up. As a result of all this, the seaweed loses its ball form and consists of loose non-clumping fibers which can be stored and transported in bags.
Gizmag reports that the seaweed insulation can then be hand-packed or blown into attics and walls. The team at Fraunhofer states that the insulation properties of the material will be 20 percent higher than wood-based insulation and will also cost less.