What: Sustainable building materials
Where: Netherlands
Who: Nova Lignum
When: 2013
Source: Sustainable business

Residual material from the horticulture industry

Sustainable building materials are not readily available, but Dutch companies are innovating quickly. From aubergines to hemp: the building materials of tomorrow. Suppose you want to build a sustainable home or office. The production of traditional materials such as cement, concrete, adhesives and insulating foam requires a lot of energy. These materials are also usually difficult to recycle. In that case, what building materials could you use?

It seems that the answers can be found in the burgeoning bio-based economy. This is all about creating energy and materials based on biological raw materials. Five Dutch innovations prove that bio-based construction is on its way.

Why not convert all that residual vegetable waste from the horticulture industry into high-quality sheet material? Aubergine grower Johan Groenewegen has developed the material Ceranex, a cladding made 90% from plant fibres. Not just aubergine, but any type of wood-like fibre is suitable for making Ceranex. The developers are somewhat guarded about the remaining 10%. In any case, it involves a natural powder and a liquid. The final product is a petrified ceramic that is resistant to both heat and water.

With his company Nova Lignum, Groenewegen won the silver medal in the 2013 Herman Wijffels Innovation Awards. The construction of a production facility is in full swing. Before the end of the year, the first Ceranex sheets will be rolling off the production line.