Imagine you’ve driven out to the coast, it’s
warm sunny day you’re relaxing swimming in the ocean, all your worries disappear. But then as you’re sitting there pieces of trash start floating by. your liquid dream quickly turns into a plastic nightmare. I’m a surfer. I imagine a few of you here might be as well. And as surfers we care deeply about the ocean and the environment. However, the equipment we ride couldn’t be more toxic. This is an art installation called the 1000 surfboard graveyard and its goal is to bring awareness to the carbon footprint and waste issues associated with surfboards. Now a surfboards biggest contributor to waste is the foam core called the blank. These foam blanks are typically made using the polymers polyurethane or polystyrene. The issue with these foams is that they’re
non-renewable, they’re toxic, and non biodegradable. Polystyrene foam or as you might know it’s styrofoam takes over 500 years to degrade. And that’s why right now in the US our landfills are filled nearly 1/3 by a single material, polystyrene. Surely there must be a better material to make these foam blanks out of that is sustainable. That is non-toxic. Even better, what if this material is something that’s currently just going to waste. Over 8 million tons of shrimp, crab, and lobster shell waste are disposed of globally every year. Of that 8 million over 2 million of it is a biopolymer called chitin. But what is chitin? Chitin is a type of natural polymer
called a polysaccharide and it has a chemical structure very similar to that of cellulose. So if you think of cellulose as the tiny fibers that make
up trees Well chitin, chitin is a tiny fibers that
make up shrimp shells. Chitin is the second most abundant polysaccharide on the planet after cellulose. It’s also non-toxic, biodegradable, and sustainable. So with the enormous amount of chitin disposed of every year it’d be amazing if we could turn this otherwise wasted material into foam and start replacing these toxic polyurethane and polystyrenes. Cruz Foam does exactly that. Taking chitin from shrimp shells and
transforming it into a foam. Our eco-friendly water-based process
involves only water, salts, and a foaming agent. There are no toxic components. Our proof-of-concept seen here has comparable mechanical properties of that existing polyurethane and polystyrene foams used in surfboards today. The application opportunities for Cruz Foam are immense. With further research and development it has the potential to go far and beyond surfboards. Thank you.