A team from the University of Illinois have created a “proprietary corn-based composite board” that can be used as a construction material instead of plywood or fiberboard. Dubbed ‘CornBoard’, the material is made from corn waste and is capable of absorbing CO2 emissions that would otherwise be released into the atmosphere.
Now before anyone addresses the issues of using foodstuff to create construction materials when a large portion of the world is facing starvation, it is important to known that CornBoard is made from corn stover (corn husks and stalks), a byproduct that is generally left to decompose after harvest, in turn releasing more CO2 into the atmosphere.
The US has a major corn growing industry, and as such it produces a large amount of corn stover byproduct. In fact, it is estimated that for each acre of corn sown, 4,000 lbs of corn stover is left in the field afterwards. This is a huge amount when you consider that 86 million acres of corn are grown in the US each year.
It is estimated that about two acres worth of corn stover would be utilized in order to create enough CornBoard to outfit a standard two-storey house. CornBoard could be used in floors, wall sheathing, and decking making it a multi-purpose recyclable material with a broad range of applications. If that wasn’t enough, the University of Illinois team are planning to also construct furniture out of CornBoard, opting to use a non-toxic resin-based binder instead of the usual solvents. The smart green building product has already been patented for use by a company called Corn Board Manufacturing, Inc.
Via Clean Technica