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HomeArchitectureWillow Applied sciences Transforms Agricultural By-Merchandise Into Constructing Supplies in Ghana

Willow Applied sciences Transforms Agricultural By-Merchandise Into Constructing Supplies in Ghana

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Willow Applied sciences Transforms Agricultural By-Merchandise Into Constructing Supplies in Ghana

Willow Technologies Transforms Agricultural By-Products Into Building Materials in Ghana - Image 1 of 14

Set up “Therapeutic Meadow”. Courtesy of Mae-Ling Lokko. Picture © Selma Gurbuz

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https://www.archdaily.com/1004645/willow-technologies-transforms-agricultural-by-products-into-building-materials-in-ghana

Willow Technologies is a fabric analysis and constructing know-how follow that has been chosen as a part of ArchDaily’s 2023 Greatest New Practices. Based by Ghanaian-Filipino designer and architectural scientist Mae-Ling Lokko, it operates within the hole between analysis, improvement, and diffusion of bio-based constructing supplies. Working with agro-waste and bio-based supplies normally incurs technical questions relating to scalability, industrial manufacturing, standardization, fireproofing, and mechanical energy. Exploring this information is the place Willow Applied sciences situates itself, however peculiarly via the lens of creating areas in West Africa. By way of complete works with coconuts, moringa, rice, and different indigenous crops, Lokko’s follow has been in a position to examine and catalog the fabric character of varied crops, their attainable by-products, native transformation strategies, and the prospect and challenges of scalability as constructing supplies.

Willow Technologies Transforms Agricultural By-Products Into Building Materials in Ghana - Image 2 of 14Willow Technologies Transforms Agricultural By-Products Into Building Materials in Ghana - Image 3 of 14Willow Technologies Transforms Agricultural By-Products Into Building Materials in Ghana - Image 4 of 14Willow Technologies Transforms Agricultural By-Products Into Building Materials in Ghana - Image 5 of 14Willow Technologies Transforms Agricultural By-Products Into Building Materials in Ghana - More Images+ 9

Willow Technologies Transforms Agricultural By-Products Into Building Materials in Ghana - Image 2 of 14Cconut Panels-grounds-for-return-willow-exhibition. Picture © Selma Gurbuz

Mae-ling explains that attaining scalability of agro-based supplies can solely occur in parallel with stimulating demand via the understanding and schooling round these supplies. This was Willow Expertise’s foundational concept behind exploring using coconuts, moringa, and rice agricultural by-products in a rustic the place the commercialization of indigenous species was consistently reducing because of the inflow and advertising of imported hybrid meals species. “Tips on how to induce the demand and productive use of indigenous crops and agricultural by-products in Ghana” turned a analysis query for the follow, as solely via this might the crop generate sufficient by-product portions to be scaled into constructing supplies.

Willow Technologies Transforms Agricultural By-Products Into Building Materials in Ghana - Image 14 of 14Willow_African Rice Closeup. Picture © Mae-ling Lokko

As a part of a COP27 Name for tasks highlighting flooding via the British Council, Willow employed rice crops and coconut pith as core water-retention and flood-tolerant parts as a part of a bioswale mission within the Efua Sutherland Park in Accra, Ghana. Working with a leading African chef, Selassie Atadika, Willow collaborated with the Midunu Institute to supply 126 classes of rice from the Africa Rice via the World Crop Belief and applied them as green infrastructure in a flood-prone section of the park. The mission concerned designing and putting in bioswale to decelerate water by planting flood-tolerant rice alongside different native species. By way of this demonstration, Willow Applied sciences engages within the schooling of native and international contributors, together with Ghana’s Council for Scientific and Industrial Analysis (CSIR), Scottish architect Tom Morton, college students from Ashesi College, and Glasgow’s Waterproof coat Faculty of Structure.

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Returning the Constructing to the Soil: an Interview with the Architect and Scientist Mae-Ling Lokko Willow Technologies Transforms Agricultural By-Products Into Building Materials in Ghana - Image 5 of 14Willow_Bioswale Park_Accra. Picture © Mae-ling Lokko

Excessive demand for native meals merchandise can enhance the prospects for by-products with broader functions. That is exemplified by Willow Expertise’s exploration of by-products from moringa, a extensively well-liked tree in Ghana that’s sometimes used for tea, oil, natural, and medicinal functions. When the oil is extracted from moringa, a by-product referred to as press meal or press cake is left behind. This flour-like substance can be utilized as a flocculant to deal with poisonous wastewater, serving to heavy metals and poisonous parts in water clump collectively and settle. Willow Applied sciences’ analysis and design into moringa flocculants was utilized in a project to treat the textile wastewater of Global Mamas, a community of batik dyeing ladies’s home-based enterprises. In a proof-of-concept mission, this course of diminished the toxicity of their wastewater to beneath EPA laws, making it protected to be disposed of in municipal wastewater methods. The stays of the method additionally kind a sludge that presents a possibility for use as compressed earth masonry.

Willow Technologies Transforms Agricultural By-Products Into Building Materials in Ghana - Image 9 of 14Willow_Moringa Waste Flocculant. Picture © Mae-ling Lokko

Willow Applied sciences believes that the important thing to increasing agro-based by-products lies in creating a brand new distributed manufacturing infrastructure for the distributed biomass from meals, agricultural, and constructing cycles. Lokko means that lowering manufacturing prices begins by intervening within the hole between amassing agro-waste and its high quality management, and by designing accessible manufacturing strategies for them. The corporate’s preliminary work with coconut husks as a constructing materials exemplifies these ideas. Their tasks responded to the coconut increase in Ghana, which left merchants dumping tons of husks by the roadside because of the absence of disposal methods. They individually collected these husks from merchants for these tasks however intention to develop a distributed system of small-scale milling machines at particular factors within the metropolis, permitting coconut merchants to course of their husks and receives a commission a charge. The husks are shredded into gentle, fluffy, dried fibers, that are simpler to regulate for materials manufacturing.

Willow Technologies Transforms Agricultural By-Products Into Building Materials in Ghana - Image 12 of 14ASTM Testing Coconut Panels. Picture © Mae-ling Lokko

Native mature coconuts in Ghana have a excessive lignin proportion, which supplies them a structural benefit for potential constructing product functions like medium-density and high-density fiberboards in comparison with younger coconuts from different international producers. Lokko’s follow has harnessed this husk materials via thermal urgent strategies that make use of bio-based glues to supply low-carbon, non-toxic fiberboards. This course of is in distinction to reconstituted wooden or plastic board merchandise, that are pressed with glues at larger temperatures and resulting from using artificial glues launch VOCs and poisonous fumes that compromise the well being of manufacturing unit staff and constructing inhabitants.

Willow Technologies Transforms Agricultural By-Products Into Building Materials in Ghana - Image 11 of 14AMBIS Coconut Panel 4. Picture © Tanner Whitney

Regardless of the varied processes concerned, the most important problem going through Willow Applied sciences has been altering the notion of those supplies from one thing native to aspirational inside the context of Ghana. “Often, the quickest approach to make use of these supplies in buildings is as insulation. However when you cover them in a wall, nobody actually cares or is keen to pay a excessive value for them,” says Mae-Ling. “I believe there is a missed alternative to seize their true worth as robust, breathable constructing skins, partitions, and furnishings, by embedding customization that has the potential to draw and seduce individuals into adopting them,” she provides, noting that design has an necessary position in shifting cultural notion. This was an method the follow additionally utilized in using coconut husk fiber boards in tasks, utilizing the form, texture, shade, and floor patterns of those panels so as to add to the mechanical, acoustic, or thermal efficiency of the product proven in tasks just like the Yale CEA Nairobi Ecological Pavilion and exhibitions on the Museum of the Future in Dubai.

Willow Technologies Transforms Agricultural By-Products Into Building Materials in Ghana - Image 13 of 14Set up “Thresholds of Return” Courtesy of Mae-ling Lokko. Picture © Selma Gurbuz

The Ghanaian-Filipino architect believes that not all supplies can or ought to final endlessly, and we have to rethink the upkeep worth and efficiency metrics of all constructing supplies. Based on Lokko, coating such biobased supplies vastly reduces the potential of the distinctive hygrothermal behaviors of such supplies to influence indoor consolation. Such materials behaviors are necessary passive cooling applied sciences that depend on sorbing and storing moisture in the course of the late night and early hours of the morning in hot-humid, tropical environments and expelling that moisture in the course of the day.

Willow Technologies Transforms Agricultural By-Products Into Building Materials in Ghana - Image 4 of 14Willow_Coconut husk merchandise. Picture © Mae-ling Lokko

By evaluating the broad properties of bio-based merchandise, such supplies have a big position to play in each leveraging ample native assets and in addition driving down carbon all through the manufacturing, operation, and end-of-life of a constructing. Scaling up and normalizing using agro-waste and bio-based merchandise in constructing materials functions in Ghana and different contexts would require each bottom-up and top-down collaboration. On the one hand, creating partnerships between stakeholders within the agricultural and constructing sector are wanted to seize such assets and to assist upskill native artisans and professionals to turn out to be a part of a thriving bio-economy. On the opposite, it’s going to additionally require governments to play an energetic position in nationwide and regional insurance policies, to help and incentivize such partnerships and stimulate market demand.

Willow Technologies Transforms Agricultural By-Products Into Building Materials in Ghana - Image 7 of 14Upcycling Pavillion. Picture © Mae-ling Lokko

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