Reed waste as a new resource for renewable board material

Published on
November 18, 2015

Wageningen University & Research is to develop with Royal DSM, Compakboard and Natuurmonumenten, a renewable board material based on perennial reed from the society’s land.

The ultimate goal of the four parties is to market a new, sustainable product: a board material made from reed with a biomass-based resin as binder which can be used as an alternative to wood, chipboard and MDF in the building and construction sector and for kitchen and furniture manufacturing. The green resin will be developed by Wageningen Food & Biobased Research and DSM.
The so-called Glue Reed project is part of the public-private sponsored research programme called Biobased Performance Materials (BPM), dedicated to developing high-quality materials based on biomass. BPM focuses on two types of polymer materials, namely polymers produced by plants and polymers made from biobased building blocks using biotechnology or chemical catalysis. Glue Reed is an interesting combination of these two research lines. BPM is partly financed by the Dutch government’s Top Sector Chemistry approach and led by Wageningen Food & Biobased Research.
The reed used to make the plate material comes from nature reserves owned by Natuurmonumenten, a private nature conservation organisation. Mowing and processing the perennial reeds is expensive and using the biomass as a source for renewable plate material will generate funds which the society can reinvest in its nature reserves.
According to Christiaan Bolck, Director of BPM and responsible for the applied research in the field of materials at Wageningen University & Research, developing the new resin is a major technological challenge that will also represent a significant step towards a circular and biobased economy. “This biomass-based binder will allows us to produce a high-quality board material from reed waste that meets all technological and ecological demands. This will provide the building and construction industry and kitchen and furniture producers with a sustainable alternative for board material with synthetic resins from petroleum.”
“This development also provides the opportunity to develop high-quality applications for more heterogeneous biomass resources such as perennial reed which contains very interesting polymer properties but is a more difficult to process,” concludes senior scientist in natural polymers and project leader, Jan van Dam.