Environmentally friendly, fire-resistant insulation material produced from seagrass

The Posidonia-Dämmstoffe project has made an important contribution to the environment by using the naturally non-inflammable fibres of the seagrass Posidonia Oceanica, commonly known as Neptune Grass, as a fire-resistant insulating material. The project aimed to make Neptune Grass fibres suitable for use as insulation in the construction and automotive sectors and developed the processing and testing techniques and procedures required to do this.

Additional tools

Seagrass used for insulation by the NeptuTherm project © Neptutherm e.K. Seagrass used for insulation by the NeptuTherm project © Neptutherm e.K.

The leaf fibres of the withered Neptune Grass are rolled up into balls on the bottom of the sea and washed up on Mediterranean beaches by waves and wind. These balls were gathered in and transported to Germany. The aim of the project was to find out the best methods for removing sand and separating the fibres by cutting.

Energy- and resource-efficient processes were developed for production of insulation materials. A method for blowing the material into the spaces to be insulated was elaborated based on existing technology. The partners also drew up a supply and marketing strategy to prepare for the commercial launch of the product, and it is now marketed under the trademarked name 'NeptuTherm'.

Low environmental impact

The life cycle assessment carried out under the project showed that, when used as an insulation material, the Posidonia fibres have a very low environmental impact throughout their lifetime. A lot of insulation materials are produced from crude oil products. There is an up and coming market in Europe for renewable resources. The use of Posidonia fibres is an alternative which helps to ensure that oil resources are conserved and, at the same time, makes the insulation of buildings more energy efficient.

The amount of these natural fibres used in insulation could increase significantly in the coming years due to its environmental benefits. When compared with other natural fibres, seagrass is in a unique position as it is not produced by agricultural or forestry processes and is therefore not in competition for land space with food production. Furthermore, it is suitable for both thermal and acoustic insulation and is inherently non-inflammable and resistant to mould, making additional treatment with chemicals unnecessary.

Total investment and EU funding

Total investment for the project “Posidonia-Dämmstoffe” is EUR 759 000, of which the EU’s European Regional Development Fund is contributing EUR 299 000 from the Operational Programme “Baden-Württemberg” for the 2007 to 2013 programming period.

Draft date