PROJECT TITLE: Ιntegrated exploitation of agricultural residues wastes from traditional and novel cultivations in the production of high added value products





The woodworking industry is a key pillar of the global economy and especially the circular economy. Today, there is a shortage of timber, due to deforestation, inadequate forest management and utilization, as well as the growing demands on wood for pulp and the production of biorefinery chemicals.

On the other hand, the growing population of the planet and the increasing shift of consumers to eco-friendly products create increased demand for wood products (wood boards such as particle board, fiberboard, plywood, etc.) used in furniture and interior construction. A solution worth considering is the replacement of wood by other lignocellulosic materials of agricultural crops. The processing and standardization of agricultural products are accompanied by the production of a huge volume of liquid or solid waste, the exploitation and proper environmental management of which is a major challenge internationally.

Olive is one of the traditional Greek crops with a particularly large area of ​​cultivated lands but also at the same time with a very large volume of waste from both initial cultivation and after the receipt of the main product. With an annual production of olive oil of 300,000-400,000 tons, Greece produces a large amount of waste which is disposed of in the environment without any special treatment. The environmental effects of olive cultivation and olive oil production are particularly important in Greece due to the liquid and solid waste produced during the annual pruning of trees (small branches) and during oiling (olive kernel, olive leaves) which are a significant amount of biomass that remains virtually untapped.


Also, the legalization by the Greek state of the cultivation of industrial hemp in the last years, has led to a rapid increase in hemp-cultivated areas, as it is a profitable alternative cultivation with many industrial applications. In this case too, however, the processing of plant material is accompanied by a huge volume of waste which has a high organic load and often leads to incineration with harmful effects on the environment. The objective of the project is the production of innovative and eco-friendly composite wood boards from wastes from olive oil production and the primary use of industrial hemp, with the use of new adhesives made from raw materials of plant origin.

In the present project, waste from olive cultivation (small olive branches), and olive growing (leaves and olive kernels) as well as waste from industrial hemp cultivation (inner woody part of the plant stem, leaves and seeds), before and after the removal of their chemical components which may be useful in other high value applications, will be used in the manufacture of composite wood boards.

Specifically, the woody materials (olive branches and hemp shoot) will be used in 100% replacement of virgin wood in the production of particleboard, while the remaining non-wood materials will be pulverized and will be used as components of the gluing mixture in the production of plywood type panels. For all types of composite wood panels to be produced in the project, new protein adhesives will be developed and applied as bonding elements, so that the resulting products will be "green" and meet the new market requirements. Such boards will be constructed for the first time in the framework of this project. 


Objectives of the project are:

1. To propose solutions for the integrated management and utilization of the waste from the cultivation of olives and oil production as well as from industrial hemp in the production of products of high added value 

2. To meet the needs of the market for new "green" composite wood products made in a sustainable way, in agreement with the principles of the circular economy