In the building sector, huge amounts of mineral or petroleum based building materials, such as cement, concrete, building bricks, glass wool and expanded polystyrol, are used. Such materials have a high carbon footprint, health risks and other environmental problems.
Biobased building materials often have an improved environmental and health profile and even store CO2, which was captured by the plant during growth, during their useful lifetime (often +30 years). By using biobased building materials, carbon dioxide can be actively removed from the atmosphere, which is a strong leverage to manage atmosphere carbon dioxide content and to mitigate climate change.
Chopped hemp shives and miscanthus will be used to produce a range of formaldehyde-free fiber boards with various densities. CMF Greentech will use their patented, natural and 100% formaldehyd-free binder „Royal Jelly“ to produce these boards according to their CANAPAlithos® technology. Further, CMF Greentech will develop hemp oil as a raw-material for their formaldehyde-free binder.
Chopped miscanthus and hemp shives will be used to demonstrate the production of mycellium-based panels. The mycellium fungi is allowed to grow on the biomass until it is completely covered with mycel biomass. At this stage the panels are dried, pressed and thereby sterilized. In this process the mycel is acting as a natural binder and no chemical additives are required.
The panel is conditioned by cutting and grinding according to quality demands of the final product. The final product is a completely natural, stable and sterile panel which can be used for packaging, furniture and building.
Miscanthus parenchym (pith) is seperated with a special separation machine from the surrounding, fibrous stem material. The fibrous biomass can be used for other applications, while the parenchym is mainly interesting as insulation material. The parenchym biomass contains a high number of closed pores and therefore has a similar structure like expanded styropor. This makes this biomass highly interesting to produce biobased insulation material with a very low thermal conductivity and replace fossil oil-based styropor for insulation purposes.
Miscanthus chips are further processed to homogenize the particle size for application in lightweight concrete. The very fine dust fraction is being removed, since it would negatively impact the product properties. The coarse fraction is used for production of lightweight concrete, while the fine dust fraction can be utilized as additive in speciality paper.
Lightweight concrete has improved insulation properties than conventional concrete and can be used for non load-bearing applications, e.g. in wood or steel frame-construction. Further lightweight concrete helps to reduce the consumption of energy- and CO2-intensive cement.
The GRACE project has received funding from the Bio-Based Industries Joint Undertaking (BBI JU) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 745012.