Replacing traditional materials with more sustainable ones: the use of Arundo Donax, L. as bio-building material and pellet

Luisa Paolotti, Gabriele Campadello, Maksims Feofilovs, Antonio Boggia, Francesco Romagnoli, Ezio Rosa

Abstract


Considering the hazardous future scenarios outlined for the environment by the scientific community and various institutions, embracing more sustainable production methodologies is imperative. This is especially vital within the construction and energy sectors, which stand as significant contributors to climate change and environmental impact.  The topic presented herein aligns with this direction. Specifically, the aim of this study is to highlight the benefits of transforming conventional agriculture into a technologically advanced and environmentally sustainable practice. The proposed study demonstrates new ways of using reeds (Arundo Donax, L.) in two strategic sectors - i.e., building and heating fuel - promoting the reduction of environmental impacts compared to traditional materials. The study explored the utilization of reeds as a material for roofing or wall coverings and as pellets for heating stoves. A Life Cycle Assessment was performed to investigate environmental impacts in all the phases of the processes. In the first case (i.e., reeds used in the building sector), a reduction of environmental impacts within the construction phase was found, followed by an enhancement of performance in the buildings on which the reed panels were installed. In fact, they contribute to minimizing heat losses, leading to a subsequent decrease in fuel consumption for heating and cooling, and help to mitigate acoustic problems. In the second scenario (i.e., reeds used as heating fuel), the goal of the study was to detect if Arundo Donax was suitable for pellet production. In this instance, all the production processes were analyzed (e.g., harvesting, shredding, drying, pelletizing) together with the intrinsic characteristics of the pellets (e.g., calorific power, content of carbon, etc.). This analysis enabled the evaluation of substituting traditional materials with reeds.

Keywords:

Reed (Phragmites Australis (Cav.) Trin ex Steud.); bio-building; reeds panels; pellet; environmental impacts; alternative materials

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DOI: 10.7250/%x

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Institute of Energy Systems and Environment
Riga Technical University
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