Skip navigation
Share via:

Pitch

Ecovon are developing sustainably sourced, newly engineered wood made from coconut husk and sugar cane bagasse better for people and planet.


Description

Summary

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=brWt7dhuf0A

Ecovon believe that there is a better way of making building materials. That is why we are focusing our energy on completely rethinking and re-designing how the new generation of building materials is made. Ecovon are developing sustainably sourced, newly engineered wood made from coconut husk and sugar cane bagasse, supplying the global market with a formaldehyde-free bio-based wood alternative that are better for people and planet. Coconut husk has the highest lignin content of any known plant and this helps the raw material to bind into a hard board without the addition of any damaging glue or binder. Due to its strength the board has the potential to be used for structural elements in buildings. It also has natural anti-fungal properties and burns three times slower than wood. The boards are developed by milling, steam pressing, and cooling the husks. They require no glue or resin to hold together. They absorb water without swelling and are flexible enough to bend without breaking: this makes them resistant to fire.  The board material has been shown to exhibit excellent properties, which are comparable with or even superior to commercial wood based panels. Our product is stronger and more durable, priced considerably less, and greener.The obtained boards show very good mechanical properties (strength of 50 MPa and stiffness of5
GPa) comparable to those of commercial MDF and by far surpassing those of particle board- 15 -
(strength of 15 MPa and stiffness of 3 GPa). The thickness swelling and water absorption of the
coconut husk board is lower than for MDF. After immersion in water, the coconut husk binder
less boards show mechanical properties that surpass those of MDF by a factor of two. The
density of the coconut husk boards (1.3 – 1.4 g/cm3), however, is higher than for commercial
MDF and particleboard (0.8 and 0.7 g/cm3 respectively)

 


Proposals

Promoting Green Buildings in Bangladesh

Model homes

http://www.arcom.ac.uk/-docs/proceedings/ar2005-0601-0610_Graham.pdf

https://www.scp-centre.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/28_Tessema_Taipale_Bethge__2009__Sustainable_Building_and_Construction_in_Africa_en.pdf

Cooperative Building

Green Buildings: Way forward in reducing emissions from buildings

Better Building: the Simplest Way to End Climate Change WITHOUT Politics!

https://twitter.com/HarvardChanSPH/status/959072355581440001


What actions do you propose?

Ecovon will bring the first non-additive, bio-based, renewable wood product to market which is naturally flame retardant and anti-fungal without added binders (glues). The physical properties are better than comparable engineered woods on the market currently, all which use additives and heavy chemicals to reach additional flame retardant properties while reducing our CO2 footprint, deforestation and enriching the lives of locals in coconut and sugarcane producing developing countries such as Ghana. The board material has been shown to exhibit excellent properties, which are comparable with or even superior to commercial wood based panels. Our product is stronger and more durable, priced considerably less, and greener

The coconut husk board starts to ignite after 4 minutes, whereas the fire penetrates the board after 15 minutes. The hardboard, however, ignites within 1 minute and the fire penetrates the board within 2 minutes. Obviously, the coconut husk board has better fire retarding properties than commercial medium density fibre board, hardboard and plywood. Ecovon will produce sustainably sourced, newly engineered wood made from coconut husk and sugar cane bagasse, supplying the global market with a formaldehyde-free bio-based wood alternative. The activity of the company to create a “new wood” industry from coconut husk and sugarcane bagasse creating value-add for the poorest rural farmers (Bottom of the pyramid) will reduce CO2 emissions and deforestation
The obtained boards show very good mechanical properties (strength of 50 MPa and stiffness of5 GPa) comparable to those of commercial MDF and by far surpassing those of particle board- 15 - (strength of 15 MPa and stiffness of 3 GPa). The thickness swelling and water absorption of the coconut husk board is lower than for MDF. After immersion in water, the coconut husk binder less boards show mechanical properties that surpass those of MDF by a factor of two. The density of the coconut husk boards (1.3 – 1.4 g/cm3), however, is higher than for commercial MDF and particleboard (0.8 and 0.7 g/cm3 respectively).

Based from the analysis of data gathered, the binder less coir board has a bright prospect of penetrating several industries and markets, namely, the construction, furniture, commodities export, coffin/casket production and individual consumers. With the depletion of forest reserves, the future production of plywood shall be reduced, thus the potential of the binder less coir board is further enhanced.

Ecovon will generate wealth and employment/jobs for individuals in rural and urban areas of Ghana at the initial stages of the value chain, mostly youth and women, who will collect, sort and clean coconut husk and sugarcane bagasse for production. By the 3rd year of operation, Ecovon aims to create 100 direct and over 500 indirect jobs. The company aim to create a “new wood” industry from coconut husk and sugarcane bagasse creating value-add for the poorest rural farmers (Bottom of the pyramid) while reducing CO2 emissions and deforestation. Ecovon will also produce cheap alternative building materials for low income earners and poor rural farmers in the country.

Ecovon Plan for coming three years is to withdraw over 2 million kilograms of coconut husk and bagasse from the environment and use them to manufacture fibreboards and save an estimated 500 acres of forest (based on calculations by the Canadian Forestry Association). Coconut husk and sugarcane bagasse recycling also saves 2.5 kg CO2/kg coconut husk and bagasse hence we will be preventing 2,500,000 kg of CO2 emissions further mitigating climate change.

Ecovon hope to turn 99% of coconut and bagasse waste generated in the country in to wealth and also provide cheap alternative building materials for low income earners in Ghana. Ecovon has reduce the
burden on coconut sellers by collecting the waste generated from their operations and the cost they would have incurred disposing off their waste

The coconut husk is composed of coir fibre and pith, which have to be separated for traditional fibre applications in woven carpets, ropes, brushes and matting. This can be achieved by retting
procedures or mechanical decortications. The residual pith, however, contains a large amount of lignin, which has been demonstrated to act as a thermosetting binder resin for the coir fibres.
The basic principles of the resulting process from the performed detailed investigations on coconut husk processing are as follows:
After separation from the coconut, the husk is refined to small particles and short fibres using asimple opening technique by dry hammer milling, yielding suitable material for conversion into boards by hot pressing . After drying to moisture contents below 12% the milled husk material is evenly spread in the mould/press plate and compressed at high pressure and temperature. The boards are developed by milling, steam pressing, and cooling the husks. They require no glue or resin to hold together. They absorb water without swelling and are flexible enough to bend without breaking: this makes them resistant to fire. Stress tests done on the boards produced from husk show that the water-absorbent and flame-retardant properties of the products are superior to most other woods used now, including medium-density fibreboard, plywood, and hardwood. The medium quality board resists catching fire for three minutes, while the high quality board starts to burn only after five minutes. In comparison, hardwood burns after one minute. Only 10 per cent of the weight of the board is lost in a fire whereas other types of wood like MDF and plywood lose much more. Hardwood, for instance, falls apart. The gaps or spaces inside coir fibres allow water to permeate it without causing the product to stretch, which makes it convenient for use in high-moisture environments. The boards can be cut, sanded, painted and waxed, but are hard to drill. The force required to hammer a nail in the board is almost twice required for hardwood.

The SDG's the project will help deliver on

Goal 1: No Poverty

Goal 3: Good Health and Well-Being for people

Goal 9: Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure

Goal 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities

Goal 12: Responsible Consumption and Production

Goal 13: Climate Change

It is inexpensive. The glue that has to be added when boards based on wood fibre are made contributes to one third of the total production costs. Glue is not required to process coconut husk into board material

Comparison of Properties of Coir Ply to Other Boards

Coir-Ply Tested as per IS No IS-1734, Density (kg/mtcu)  748 ,Moisture (%)6.50%  ,Glue shear strength (N/mm2)1720 ,Water resistance(8 hrs. boiling)  No delamination ,Tensile strength (N/ mm2) 23.6 Compressive strength (N /mm2) 51.02 ,Modulus of elasticity (N/ mm2) 6440 ,Modulus of rupture (N/ mm2) 47.5 ,Nail holding power (in kg) 50 ,Screw holding power (in kg.) 245, Surface strength (kg/cm2) 30

Plywood  Tested as per IS No IS-1734, Density (kg/mtcu) 400-+700  ,Moisture (%)5-15% ,Glue shear strength (N/mm2) 1200-1750 ,Water resistance(8 hrs. boiling)  No delamination ,Tensile strength (N/ mm2) 35.55 Compressive strength (N /mm2) 29.24 ,Modulus of elasticity (N/ mm2) 3500-7400 ,Modulus of rupture (N/ mm2) 29.49  ,Nail holding power (in kg) 125 ,Screw holding power (in kg.)  300, Surface strength (kg/cm2) N.A

Medium Density Fibre Board  Tested as per IS-2380 , Density (kg/mtcu) 750-850  ,Moisture (%)5-15%,Glue shear strength (N/mm2)  N.A ,Water resistance(8 hrs. boiling)  Disintegrate ,Tensile strength (N/ mm2) 7.0-8.0, Compressive strength (N /mm2) N.A  ,Modulus of elasticity (N/ mm2) N.A ,Modulus of rupture (N/ mm2) 25.28  ,Nail holding power (in kg) N.A  ,Screw holding power (in kg.) 125-150 , Surface strength (kg/cm2) 30

Particle Board Tested as per IS-2380 , Density (kg/mtcu) 700-800  ,Moisture (%)5-15%,Glue shear strength (N/mm2)  N.A ,Water resistance(8 hrs. boiling)  Disintegrate ,Tensile strength (N/ mm2) 4.0-4.5 , Compressive strength (N /mm2) N.A  ,Modulus of elasticity (N/ mm2) N.A ,Modulus of rupture (N/ mm2)  12.5-15.0 ,Nail holding power (in kg) N.A  ,Screw holding power (in kg.) 85-125 , Surface strength (kg/cm2) 30

 


Who will take these actions and which types of actors are involved?

Coconut Sellers Association of Ghana
The coconut sellers are the most important partners of Ecovon because they provides us with needed raw materials thus coconut husk for production of our fibreboards. Most of the coconut sellers put the waste generated from the selling of coconut in to sacks making it easy for transport by our collectors
Adansonia Project
Adansonia provides Ecovon with hands-on training and connects us with investors for funding. Adansonia primary goal is to build connections between entrepreneurs in the African continent, both within and across country borders. Being part of the Ghanaian face-to-face group, Mr. Isaac and Ecovon has taken part in our series of four (4) workshops with entrepreneurs from the area of Accra and other parts of Ghana
Environmental Protection Agency
They provides Ecovon with technical assistance and training


Where will these actions be taken and how could they scale?

Ecovon will bring the first non-additive, bio-based, renewable wood product to market which is naturally flame retardant and anti-fungal without added binders (glues). The physical properties are better than comparable engineered woods on the market currently, all which use additives and heavy chemicals to reach additional flame retardant properties while reducing our CO2 footprint, deforestation and enriching the lives of locals in coconut and sugarcane producing developing countries such as Ghana. The board material has been shown to exhibit excellent
properties, which are comparable with or even superior to commercial wood based panels. Our product is stronger and more durable, priced considerably less, and greener

The board material that is made from coconut husk can be used for all kinds of applications, for example, in the construction sector, such as wallboards, frames and similar. The material is intended for both local consumers and for export, for example, the furniture industry.  Biobased Products is currently considering the options for large-scale production. A production factory is being set up to this end. The intention is to transfer knowledge and technology to coconut-producing countries, such as Sri Lanka, India, the Philippines, Indonesia, Nigeria, Tanzania, Jamaica, Mozambique and other coconut producing countries


In addition, specify the countries where these actions will be taken.

Ghana


Country 2

No country selected


Country 3

No country selected


Country 4

No country selected


Country 5

No country selected


Impact/Benefits:


What impact will these actions have on reducing greenhouse gas emissions and/or adapting to climate change?

Ecovon Plan for coming three years is to withdraw over 2 million kilograms of coconut husk and bagasse from the environment and use them to manufacture fibreboards and save an estimated 500 acres of forest (based on calculations by the Canadian Forestry Association). Coconut husk and sugarcane bagasse recycling also saves 2.5 kg CO2/kg coconut husk and bagasse hence we will be preventing 2,500,000 kg of CO2 emissions further mitigating climate change.

Ecovon will generate wealth and employment/jobs for individuals in rural and urban areas of Ghana at the initial stages of the value chain, mostly youth and women, who will collect, sort and clean coconut husk and sugarcane bagasse for production. By the 3rd year of operation, Ecovon aims to create 100 direct and over 500 indirect jobs. The company aim to create a “new wood” industry from coconut husk and sugarcane bagasse creating value-add for the poorest rural farmers (Bottom of the pyramid) while reducing CO2 emissions


What are the most innovative aspects and main strengths of this approach?

Ecovon will bring the first non-additive, bio-based, renewable wood product to market which is naturally flame retardant and anti-fungal without added binders (glues). The physical properties are better than comparable engineered woods on the market currently, all which use additives and heavy chemicals to reach additional flame retardant properties while reducing our CO2 footprint, deforestation and enriching the lives of locals in coconut and sugarcane producing developing countries such as Ghana. The board material has been shown to exhibit excellent properties, which are comparable with or even superior to commercial wood based panels. Our product is stronger and more durable, priced considerably less, and greener

The activity of the company to create a “new wood” industry from coconut husk and sugarcane bagasse creating value-add for the poorest rural farmers (Bottom of the pyramid) will reduce CO2 emissions and deforestation


Costs/Challenges:


What are the proposal’s projected costs?

Ecovon is at seed stage and it needs an amount of $10,000 to start small scale production. This amount of investment will enable Ecovon to start production and also assist Ecovon to cover the time between first costs and revenue from sales. Ecovon will need and an investment of $100,000- $300,000 during its commercialization stage.


About the Authors

My name is Brenya Isaac, 27 year old from Ghana and I hold BSc Development Planning from University for Development Studies, Ghana. I am green entrepreneur who runs a startup called Ecovon in Ghana. I have passion for the environment and am always desire to protect and preserve the environment and our forest by helping co-green entrepreneurs who have innovative ideas to get their dreams realized. As a green entrepreneur I have participated and have been finalist in many green competitions including Switch Africa Green Starter 2016, Adansonia project 2016, Ghana climate innovation center and Seed Awards 2017. I was part of 49 candidates in Africa to be shortlisted from 350 submissions to the SAG-SEED Awards 2017; I was also a finalist in the selection process of green innovators in 2017 by Ghana climate innovation center.


References

https://www.wur.nl/en/show/Ecocoboard-a-new-material-made-from-coconut-husks.htm

Publications 2006

Publications 2005

Publications 2004 and older

 


What enabling environment would be required in order to implement this proposal?