First steps towards new products made of woody alien plant species
The first period of the APPLAUSE project was strongly dedicated to the starting/kick off activities. We managed to arrange all necessary initiation phase tasks: the modified Application Form and Monitoring plan were validated, the project Partnership Agreement signed and the Subsidy contract is about to be signed. Along with those activities a web page of APPLAUSE is being active and on line. In January 2018 we had a successful kick off meeting together with Maribor’s Urban Soil 4 Food project. Basic project ideas were exchanged between both projects as well as some common points of interests were identified for further collaboration.
The main focus of the first phase of the APPLAUSE project is on localisation and harvesting the alien plant species. In Ljubljana there are more than 180 different alien plant species identified, approximately 40 of them are invasive. Within the project we are working on 25 alien plant species. More than half of these species are woody and can be found as shrubs or trees.
Beautiful unique red discoloration of ash leaved maple (photo: M.Merela)
In 2017 we began to analyse the existing data records in order to localise individual species. Due to good weather conditions first logs of timbers were already collected in November 2017.
Taking sample from the log of black locust (photo: M. Merela)
So far we have managed to get 11 different species; altogether we collected 30 m3 of raw wood material (approximately 27.000 kg) of alien plant species.
Beside beautiful colorful texture urban trees hide also unpleasant surprises such as nails and screws that are found during cutting (photo: M. Merela).
Logs were already cut to boards and are in drying processes.
MSc Students at Biotechnical Faculty – Department of Wood Science and technology preparing wood of IAPS for kiln drying (photo: M. Merela).
Process (saw milling) residuals have been collected and stored for further processing. According to APPLAUSE business model strategy namely collected raw material as well as residuals will end as basic building material for innovative products developed in the frame of the project. To use IAPS as raw material for products in the Zero Waste processing it’s necessary to use all parts of the plant as well as process residuals. Because we plan to produce wooden and paper products, dyes, coatings, food sources etc., we started in January 2018 with necessary analyses and testing of a raw material. All collected samples were suitable for the predicted analyses. Basic biological wood anatomy studies, chemical analyses, determination of physical and testing of mechanical properties have revealed a variety of interesting patterns.
Variety of interesting patterns is revealed during analysing samples of wood (photo: M. Merela).
According to material characteristics different species are appropriate for different type of products that will be developed by our research and design group. So far all planned activities started well and in the next period we are ready to collect also herbaceous plants that will appear in the spring time.
Author: Maks Merela, PhD; WP5 Leader