A presentation of the pilot action within the AWeS0Me project was held in Tehnopolis

28.02.2023

Yesterday in the premises of our Center, within the AWeS0Me project, a workshop was organized for the use of agricultural waste for the production of high energy efficiency building materials, and a presentation of a pilot action at IEC Tehnopolis as an example of good practice when it comes to this topic.

After the introductory presentation of the project, Dr. Radomir Zejak, full professor at the Faculty of Civil Engineering of the University of Montenegro, addressed the audience, presenting the chronology of the development of building materials and their use, starting with the most primitive buildings such as greenhouses and stone houses, and ending with modern forms of construction that are used today. During the presentation, it was discussed about the characteristics of natural and artificial materials and their properties in the field of energy efficiency, where the fact that the increasing use of artificial materials significantly increased energy consumption and decreased energy efficiency was highlighted.

During the workshop, Dr. Zejak pointed out that the basic idea for the valorization and use of agricultural waste in the construction industry is the use of agricultural waste in composites. The key advantages of such use of agricultural waste are, first of all, low price, availability and environmental acceptability, and high carbon content, which generally improves the durability, i.e. resistance and flexibility of the material, while the main disadvantage of its use is the reduced durability of materials based on agricultural waste (resistance to rotting, fire, freeze-thaw cycles, aging, and the like). When it comes to the protection of agricultural waste, the necessity of proper drying, as well as various previous procedures/treatments of moisture protection (including structural treatments) is emphasized. As for the application of agricultural waste in construction, it can be applied in several ways, namely:

  • in “green” concrete, as a substitute for binding material, reinforcement, sand and gravel;
  • for obtaining bio-bricks, as well as insulating material for buildings;
  • as components for making tiles for concrete roofs;
  • as components of tiles, different types of chipboards and for bio-based plastics.

During the workshop, it was stated that, in accordance with the preliminary results of research at the global level, the agricultural waste management strategy is a key parameter for its implementation.

When it comes to the possibilities of using agricultural waste in construction in the territory of Montenegro, it is possible primarily for the production of composites, that is, their variations. The idea of combining it with existing industrial waste in Montenegro, at least as a partial replacement of some components, represents a challenge and an important field for research in the coming period.

During the workshop, it was also discussed about the design of prototypes, based on agricultural waste as a basic raw material, which is specifically possible on the territory of Montenegro in the following cases:

  • in clay products, which do not require high temperature and baking;
  • in composite materials (mortar and concrete);
  • in fiber briquettes;
  • as a replacement of a part of large aggregate with waste from shells, olives, pomace and others for composites of the type of mortar and concrete with inorganic binders;
  • in multi-layered (lamellar) packages made of pressed plates (based on cereal waste, corn, grape pomace, olives and the like.

Such systems have not yet been developed in Montenegro, except for simple uses, where straw is used for certain primitive forms of thermal insulation. When it comes to the properties of the designed composite prototype based on agricultural waste, there are significant differences between ordinary concrete and standard solid bricks, which are primarily reflected in large differences in the degree of thermal conductivity, while it is emphasized that a wall of the same dimensions made of concrete would have thermal conductivity higher by more than 4 times, while a wall of the same dimensions made of standard solid bricks would have thermal conductivity almost 3 times higher.

A special part of the workshop was dedicated to the presentation of the pilot action at IEC Tehnopolis, in the premises of the Industrial Design Laboratory TechLab Tehnopolis, which includes the production of two walls whose basic raw material is the waste of various agricultural crops, namely: baled soybean, wheat and hemp straw, and corn sorghum. The space between the walls is a test room that will be used to measure the hydro-thermal characteristics of the walls, which essentially represents the basic requirements when designing prototypes based on agricultural waste. The measured characteristics will provide real data that can be used for future calculations of similar designed systems. After certain measurements with the help of modern equipment, the conclusion was that the newly built walls let in significantly more heat compared to the existing ones, and there was an increase in energy efficiency.

At the very end of the workshop, the participants visited the Industrial Design Laboratory TechLab Tehnopolis, in order to learn more about the process of making walls, as well as the appearance of the walls and their structure.

The main goal of the AWeS0Me project is to increase the use of energy-efficient materials in the construction industry, which originate from the processed waste of the agricultural industry.

The leading partner on the project is CONFIMIALBANIA, and the project partners Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center Tehnopolis, Polytechnic Faculty, University of Bari, Italy and Municipality of Molise, Italy.

The project was financed through the Interreg IPA cross-border cooperation program Italy – Albania – Montenegro for the financial period 2014-2020.

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