HONSELERSDIJK – 20th MAY 2019. Miscanthus is often called “Elephant Grass” and often confused with the African grass Pennisetum Purpureum known by the same name. Miscanthus is also considered to be a biofuel crop because it grows rapidly, has a low mineral content and a high biomass yield. Vibers uses the perennial Miscanthus in a number of Biobased materials, but Why?
Plant for the future
Elephant grass was already used in industrial applications as it was burnt in power plants as a source of bioenergy. Elephant Grass has a few advantages. It grows without pesticides and fertilisers. The stems can be fermented and distilled, and it requires less drying than other plants. It absorbs a lot of carbon (greenhouse gas) when it grows: about 30 ton/CO2 per hectare each year. The crop produces 20 tons of biomass per hectare for more than 20 years.
High tech applications
The advantages of elephant grass are low cost and already being dry enough for thermoplastic injection moulding. So you save a lot of energy and there are zero chemicals needed. The moulded products are light and strong. Using natural grown Elephant Grass, the biodegradability is not compromised. We started to grow Elephant Grass in the Netherlands in 2013. In the meantime, we developed a biodegradable bioplastic called Vibers Biopolymers. It’s made from Elephant Grass and starch from potato waste. Vibers Inside is used in several applications such as consumer goods, packaging and concrete.