The African building industry consumes an enormous amount of wood, steel and concrete. In many Sub-Saharan countries these construction materials are imported from non-African producers. Furthermore, there is a momentous lack of professionals in composite processing, resource flow analysis and life-cycle-assessment. The BioHome project at the University of Hamburg faces those challenges. We aim to develop bio-based composite materials for affordable housing compartments with Sub-Saharan partner universities in a trilateral research and education program. The combination of bio-composite materials, life cycle assessment and research-driven postgraduate education shall yield valuable socioeconomic and technological advantages in Ethiopia, South Africa and Germany. BioHome aims to combine secondary resources (such as fly-ash, slag, plastics) with lignocellulosic feed-stocks, such as invasive plants, fibre plants, agricultural residues and burnt plantation wood. The technology transfer to Sub-Saharan partner countries will be done through the development of appropriate technologies. The added value to waste materials will sustainably benefit the emerging recycling infrastructure in Ethiopia and South Africa. BioHome will incorporate SMEs and governmental organizations as well as expert groups by a participatory development scheme. Objectives and/or research questions: In combination with recycled post-consumer polymers (PE, PP, ABS, etc.), a new generation of African wood-polymer-composites (WPC) and a appropriate production technology will be developed. Geopolymers (e.g. fly-ash, slag) will be used as matrix material to produce geopolymer-wood-composites (GWC) with application potentials in concrete and cement construction. Raw materials for these composites will be analysed in terms of availability, quality and mass flow (MFA). Resulting products will be evaluated in life-cycle-assessments (LCA). The academic curriculum at the partner universities will be enriched in the fields of forest product utilization and composite technologies. Research and education capacities will be combined and promoted between the partner institutions in the long-term.
Mathematik, Informatik und Naturwissenschaften
Prof. Dr. Andreas Krause
Thünen Institute of Wood Research Impact of Wood Utilization on Environment and Climate, Stellenbosch University South Africa, Hawassa University Ethiopia