Circular Biobased Construction Materials

Building materials are a major contributor to GHG emissions and climate change. Biobased materials can offer an alternative energy and resource-efficient solution, based on renewable biobased feedstocks. Wageningen Food & Biobased Research offers the full package of biobased technology and value chain expertise in order to provide solutions to stakeholders in Buildings and Infrastructure.

Storing biogenic carbon

Buildings and Infrastructure require strong and durable materials in order to attain good performance over a long lifetime. These materials (e.g. steel, concrete, asphalt) usually require a lot of energy and fossil resources to produce. Building materials are therefore a major contributor to GHG emissions and climate change. Biobased materials have an advantage over many conventional building materials because they can store biogenic CO2 for a long time, since they are obtained from plants which capture CO2 from the air during their growth.

Besides wood, other biobased alternative materials are increasingly becoming available to the market. These include boards for interior walls and panels, glues/binders, insulation materials, cladding and interior applications. Performance improvement and validation, both from a techno-economic and sustainability perspective, can help in making these biobased materials a fully fledged alternative to conventional building materials. In addition, new materials need to be developed for applications which currently have no biobased alternative.

Harnessing the functionality of natural resources

Wageningen Food & Biobased Research has a long track record in the entire circular and biobased materials value chain. Our strong connections with other institutes of Wageningen University & Research related to agriculture, forestry and environment give us a unique position in the world. It enables us to take a broad perspective on the use of biomass for industrial applications. With research and advice, research, material and technology development, we support construction companies, property developers and architects, suppliers of building material technology and feedstocks, public authorities and housing associations looking to increase the use of biobased building materials.

The expertise of Wageningen Food & Biobased Research is all about harnessing bio resources and extracting and using the intrinsic functionality they offer in applications. For building materials, this means:

  • Extracting components out of biomass which have optimal quality for specific building applications and can be re-used or regenerated if necessary.
  • Chemical, thermo-mechanical or biological conversion or modification of these components to building materials.
  • Correlation of product properties to structure and composition characteristics of biobased feedstock.
  • Product technology and expertise in biocomposites, fiber & particle boards, bioplastics, but also biopolymer blends for e.g. asphalt or 3D printing.

Turning biobased technology into products

Relevant topics on which Wageningen Food & Biobased Research is working include:

  • Fully biobased asphalt and roofing binder technology
  • Fully biobased binders for high-pressure laminate panels
  • Binderless board technology (converting lignocellulosic biomass into dense composite materials without additional binders)
  • Fibre board and biocomposite technologies using biobased fibres from reed, hemp, flax and many more with or without biobased resins or biopolymers
  • Mycelium material production
  • Cement recycling using biobased additives
  • 3D printing of biopolymers
  • Value chain analysis and LCA-studies for new biobased materials
  • Biomass cultivation and sourcing studies
  • Smart biorefinery technologies to produce relevant and applicable components

Contact us

Wageningen Food & Biobased Research works at the interface between fundamental and industrially driven applied research, together with industrial partners. If you are interested in collaborating with us, please contact us.