Tuesday, April 21, 2009

A Very Interesting New Technology that Could Make Rice Husk and Other Vegetable Waste A Very Useful Raw Material

One way of making homes energy efficient is to insulate them properly. This reduces the amount of energy required for heating as well as for cooling and reduced pressure on heaters and air conditioners means reduced costs and less strain on the environment especially when the bulk of the electricity that we use comes from fossil fuel sources. The New York Times's Green Inc Blog has this very interesting piece about a company that uses fungi, agricultural waste and a type of naturally occuring mineral to manufacture an advanced insulating material: http://greeninc.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/04/13/using-fungi-to-replace-styrofoam/

In India, for some time now, rice husk has either been used to make cheap paper, as feed for mushrooms in the few places where they are cultivated for export or burned either in biofuel based powerplants or in the open air for festivities like Bhogi / Sankaranti. My feeling is that this new technology, if licensed and used in South Asia, would offer significantly more value addition than any of the other uses talked about so far as to make this a very viable project. And, if the insulating material were used in homes, it would make them vastly mroe efficient than what is available in that part of the world right now. In the USA this is used as a substitute for Styrofoam. Homes in South Asia do not use styrofoam and are utterly inefficient as far as insulation is concerned. There is potential here - will anyone rise to the challenge? If someone wants to do this, Evocative Design's website is: http://www.ecovativedesign.com/

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