With the aim to focus on manufacturing sustainably sourced building products, North California-based CalPlant recently launched the world’s first rice straw-made MDF. The upcycled MDF called Eureka is manufactured using post-harvest rice straw, an agricultural waste product, and is engineered to match the performance of traditional wood-based MDF in machinability, paintability and strength.
Manufactured at the company’s 276-acre plant site, the plant is reportedly producing more than 150 mn sq ft annually and using up 280,000 tons of rice straw. A renewable raw material rice straw with all of the material for the plant is being procured each year from Sacramento Valley rice growers within a 15-25 mile radius of the plant site. Jerry Uhland, Founder and CEO, CalPlant said in a statement, “This is a defining moment for the CalPlant family and the industry as a whole. Decades of work have brought us to this day as we launch Eureka. When the Boyd family and I first set out to find a solution, we never could have imagined it would end in creating the world's first-ever rice straw-based MDF, and in turn a more sustainable future for our planet.”
Reports suggest, the 276-acre plant site produces 20 per cent of the nation’s rice and 1.5 mn tons of rice straw every year. To reduce the transportation impacts, the rice straw is sourced within its radius. Besides, the annual repossession of 20 per cent of the straw is expected to reduce water levels that would have been diverted from regional waterways to flood rice fields after harvest. Fewer flooded fields also mean lower methane emissions which are caused from the straw’s decomposition during the winter.
Ideal for commercial and residential interiors, Eureka MDF can be used in cabinets, furniture, moulding and millwork applications. Free from formaldehyde-based resin which is used in traditional MDF, Eureka MDF panels do not impact indoor air negatively. The upcycled MDF will be reportedly available by November 2021 in thickness of 2.0 mm to 30 mm.