Development of biocomposite on the basis of roadside cuttings, recycled toilet paper, water plants and reeds

Commissioned by STOWA, the Amstel Gooi and Vecht Water Board, the Hollands Noorderkwartier Water Board and Staatsbosbeheer, NPSP investigated whether fibers derived from grass clippings from water boards and nature organizations could be used as reinforcement in biocomposite.

NPSP's research focused on the production of biocomposite with fibres from reed, grass, aquatic plants and cellulose. It has been shown that a fully-fledged composite can be made from natural fibres. However, follow-up research is still needed into the optimisation of the fibres and possible risks due to the possible presence of heavy materials in the biomass.

In the management of waterways and nature, considerable quantities of water plants, reeds and natural grasses are released. At present, the material is generally composted. This is a relatively low-grade application, where CO2 is directly released into the atmosphere. By using natural fibres to a high degree in biocomposite, the emission of greenhouse gases can be reduced and finite and polluting raw materials such as glass fibre and aluminium can be replaced.

In the second phase of the research, various recipes for making biocomposite were tested with different proportions of natural fibres, lime and bio-resin (polyester). The mechanical properties of the produced materials were then determined using a bending test and impact tests. The various recipes were also artificially aged using a QUV cabinet, after which the mechanical properties were determined once again. It turned out to be possible to make a full product from 84% of the residual flows with mechanical properties comparable to those of regular materials such as pinewood and Trespa. There are, however, differences between the fibres used. Biocomposite based on cellulose fibre appears to have the best mechanical properties. The properties after the ageing process (by the QUV box) also appear to be reasonable. The mechanical properties are mainly reduced by exposure to moisture.