Everyone knows that good home insulation is the key to low energy consumption. This is of course great for our environment, as the less electricity is used, the less fossil fuels are burnt. Unfortunately, most of the insulation foams are based on petroleum and are not really environmentally friendly, which somewhat defeats the purpose.
Now, scientists from the German Frauhofer Institute developed a eco-friendly foam out of wood, which works just as well as the commonly known one, but it is much greener.
The new porous foam is produced when gas is added to the very finely ground wood particles. This process results in the formation of a substance, which is very light, full of tiny bubbles, and hardens with time. It can be shaped into various boards and flexible mats, but it could also remain in the form of a foam, with the help of a chemical reaction. This is not the first insulating material made of wood particles, but it is definitely the only one that does not compress in time. The inventors claim that the eco-friendly foam has all necessary thermo-insulating and mechanical properties that insulating materials should have in order to meet the necessary standards.
The next step in front of the team is to test which type of trees provides the best material for the foam production so that the new product would have a commercial value. It is indeed a greener alternative, which should be considered, especially if it turns out that it could be made out of wood waste from industries.
But until we know for sure if this will be the next wonder-material for insulating our home, I recommend you to go for the DIY option that you can make in a matter of minutes out of recycled bubble wrap.
Image (c) Fraunhofer Institute for Wood Research