Teens find a way to convert rice waste into ‘green wood’ for home construction

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In a world that hungers for resources, it is quite surprising to see how we discard or literally burn material that could be immensely useful. Bisman Deu from India noticed that her family burnt off the husk from rice cultivation. The 16 year old student from Delhi was convinced that there had to be a better way, and went on to invent Green Wood, a wood-like material sourced from the rice husk.

Rice is probably the most popular food item in the world, with more than half of the global population using it as a staple food. On an average, every 5 tons of rice produced, leaves behind nearly 1 ton of husk. A small amount of the husk may be used as cattle food or for other purposes, but largely, it has no commercial value and is usually set on fire in the field itself. The practice causes a huge amount of pollution, and even strips the soil of some nutrients.

Bisman worked with her friends Rayvin and Ekambir to find a use for the rice husk. Eventually, the young inventor found that mixing the waste with a resin and pressing the resulting mixture into particleboard could have very encouraging results, and thus came about the invention of Green Wood.

According to Bisman, the Green Wood is low cost, fungi and mold-proof, fairly strong, and could be used in house construction and furniture. The inventors hope that the new material will provide better and affordable housing options to the poor in India, several of whom still live in houses made from mud that can’t always stand the weather.

The ‘Green Wood’ is still a prototype, and Bisman and the team are working to make it better while continuing their studies. The young inventors have received support from the Social Innovation Relay initiative, and were featured in UNICEF’s “The State of World’s Children: 2015” report.