Conversion by insects – alternative method for wood waste up-cycling

IRG/WP 18-50337

A Sandak, J Sandak, M Kutnik, I Paulmier, C Brunet, M Petrillo, P Grossi

Building industry is a major consumer of materials and waste generator in Europe. The bio-based building materials are considered as interesting alternative in modern building sector due to their low environmental impact. However, in order to increase confidence for bio-based materials application, they should present satisfying performance during service life allowing at the same time their cascade use, material and/or energy recovery and recycling. New development in the wood modification offer well-performing solutions even in severe environments. However, the advantage of the high resistance against biological degradation can become a restraining factor at the end of their service life. Presented research is a part of the BIO4ever project, where beside of modelling of service life performance, alternative end-of-life solutions for novel facades biomaterials are investigated. The efficiency and ability of insects to convert different categories of materials was investigated during 24 weeks of laboratory tests with selected termite species. Considering discriminatory choice of termites, it can be stated that at least some of the materials category might be converted into valuable protein source at their end-of-life. The investigated termite species Reticulitermes flavipes was recently classified among edible insects. Proposed solution might therefore contribute to the global problem of nutrient deficiency by providing recommendation of the use of building biomaterial wastes as an alternative feedstock for further transformation into proteins.

Keywords: wood waste, insect conversion, termites, up-cycling, end-of-life strategy

Conference: 18-04-29/05-03 Johannesburg, South Africa

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