2009: The Year in Innovation

superabsorbents, absorbent technologies, zeba, farm, farmer
Photo by Mauricio Alejo
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A New Method of Irrigation

For a farmer, water can be frustratingly ephemeral; even when rain arrives, the moisture is often lost to runoff or evaporation. Absorbent Technologies in Beaverton, Oregon, wants to make water more reliable with Zeba, a white granular substance known as a superabsorbent. Zeba absorbs up to 500 times its weight in water, then releases the moisture slowly when plants need it. The company plans to use the biodegradable material for products like diapers and fire-suppression fluids.