Australian company Zeo has developed and patented a glue-free process that creates a strong, versatile new building material out of just cellulose and water. The resulting hardwood-like material known as Zeoform can then be sprayed, molded or shaped into a range of products. And it's not just trees that stand to benefit – Zeoform also promises an eco-friendly alternative to the use of plastics and resins.
The environmental advantage of using cellulose as raw material is that, as the most abundant organic compound on Earth, it can be extracted from a wide range of sources including recycled paper, fabrics and plants. It can also be found in some forms of algae and in the secretion of some bacteria.
The formula used to make Zeoform imitates a natural glue-free process called hydroxyl bonding, whereby cellulose fibers stick together in water. According to Zeo this process is non-toxic, requiring no chemicals or glues, and is "energy and water efficient."
Zeo says the resulting material that is recyclable, "as strong as ebony" and can be shaped using a range of techniques that make it suitable for use in "any industry requiring woods, plastics and resins for manufacturing." At higher densities, Zeoform is water- and fire-resistant and the company is also working on coatings that could resist some of the most extreme weather conditions.
Zeo is launching a crowd-funding campaign October 19th and 20th during the LA Green Festival.