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Author Topic: Housing Material Made From Chicken Feathers  (Read 1321 times)

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mikey

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Housing Material Made From Chicken Feathers
« on: September 29, 2008, 10:31:51 AM »
A Housing Material Made From Chicken Feathers
A forestry expert has found that chicken feathers can he recycled into a low-cost, lightweight, and decay-resistant composite panel for use as building material for housing and construction.

He is Dr. Menandro Acda, a professor in the University of the Philippines Los Banos College of Forestry and Natural Resources where he has been working on his project called “Recycling Waste Chicken Feathers for Low-cost Building Material” since last year. This project was one of the 2007 grantees under the Ford Conservation & Environmental Grants Program.

Rick Baker, Ford Group Philippines president, said in a recent a visit to Dr. Acda’s laboratory in UPLB, that Ford is proud to be involved in such an exciting and ecologically relevant project. “Our support for this endeavor underscores our commitment to finding sustainable solutions in protecting and maintaining our environment. Our participation does not end at financial support. We actively involve ourselves in ensuring the success of these worthy projects,” he added.

Dr. Acda said that his project aims to resolve the problem on the disposal of waste chicken feathers by recycling them into affordable construction material. “There are 40 million chickens slaughtered in Philippines annually,” says Dr. Acda. He said that by weight, six percent of these are composed of feathers alone. This generates millions of kilos of feathers which cause disposal problems.

He added that traditional methods of disposal such as burying in landfills, incineration, and milling the feathers into low-cost animal feeds were proven to be expensive and harmful to the environment.

He also cited other potential commercial applications of chicken feathers for the manufacture of plastics, textiles, papers, and microchips. However, these only require feathers in less quantity, thereby barely reducing the total volume of feathers generated.

By utilizing the feathers as a component of medium-density fiberboard (MDF), Dr. Acda sees an alternative solution that will not only reduce the volume of waste feathers but also create a low-cost product with valuable use.

Thus, Dr. Acda and his laboratory staff have fabricated a cement-bonded chicken feather composite panel, which he claims to have its own advantages over other MDF in the market in terms of cost, resistance to decay and termite attack, and environmental impact.

He said that most commercial fiberboards use wood fiber composite that are susceptible to decay and insect attack. He said that most of these use synthetic glue as binder which is not environment-friendly. On the other hand, the cement-bonded board they have developed is more resistant to decay and termite attack due to the keratin found in the feathers.

“It would be cheaper than wood cement bonded board because chicken feathers are available almost for free,” says Dr. Acda, adding that commercial poultry
raisers would surely be more than willing to give away their waste chicken feathers to cut expenses on disposal.

In their experiment, Dr. Acda gathered waste chicken feathers from a food company’s chicken processing plant in Batangas. The feathers were washed with detergent and bleached overnight to disinfect and remove dirt. After rinsing with water the next morning, the feathers were dried under the sun for three days.

The feathers were cut to remove the quill (the hard middle part of the feather), and then ground to powdered form.

Using various proportions, Dr. Acda mixed the ground feathers with cement, adding water and commercial plasticiser. The mixture was put into a molder, board-pressed, and then cured for four weeks. A 10″ x 10″ panel, he says, would need 300 grams to 400 grams of feathers.

Aside from powdered feathers, Dr. Acda has also considered using cut feathers with quill to test its effect on the strength of the material. For the same purpose, he also came up with a formulation reinforced with feather fibers.

Dr. Acda said that they are now in the process of testing their formulations, having achieved target properties. A few more tests are needed to determine the commercial viability of the finished product.

Ford Group Philippines said that this is the second project of Dr. Acda being supported by Ford Conservation and Environmental Grants Program. In 2006, Dr. Acda was also a Ford Ecogrant recipient for his project called “Lahar Barrier for Termite Control in the Philippines”, which is now being showcased within the premises of UPLB CFNR.

Launched in the Philippines in 2000, the Ford Ecogrants Program responds to Ford’s mission of creating and innovating sustainable solutions which dramatically reduce environmental impacts. Since then, Ford Group Philippines has extended over P18 million funding assistance to 62 projects nationwide.



 

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