Dr. Alireza Kharazipour, Professor of Technical Mycology at the University of Göttingen’s Büsgen Institute, has already attracted a fair bit of media attention with his pioneering popcorn. It all began back in 2008 with a trip to the movies. Holding some popcorn between his fingers, Kharazipour noticed certain similarities between everyone's favorite cinema treat and... polystyrene! "It felt like polystyrene and was just as lightweight," he recalls. The experience sparked an idea that kept going around in his head, and since then he and his team of researchers have come a long way. At this year's LIGNA, the Faculty of Forest Sciences and Forest Ecology at the University of Göttingen revealed their latest developments.
Featuring highly in the faculty's showcase was a substance called "Abocorn", which is almost ready to be launched on the market. It consists of composite materials made from popcorn granules that are designed to completely replace polystyrene materials, including in their popular expanded foam form. The popcorn granules seem set to offer a biobased, eco-friendly and sustainable alternative to the polystyrene-based products currently used throughout industry, such as in packaging for electronic devices, acoustic insulation panels, door leaves and even booster cushions.