The value of loofah is increasing along with the global plastic boycott trend. Recently, the emergence of bio-brick materials from loofah has helped this by-product quickly be hunted by the whole world in the race to create green building materials.
For a long time, melon is a familiar fruit used in the daily meals of Vietnamese people. Users mainly eat young fruit, and the fiber part is often of little concern. According to the Agricultural Extension Center of An Giang province, income from 1 pole of bitter gourd selling fruit usually fluctuates from 12 to 15 million VND per crop. The important advantage of the melon plant is that it grows quickly, from planting to harvesting takes about 45 days and requires little care.
With antibacterial properties, natural and durable interwoven fiber texture, loofah is suitable for making a lot of products for daily life, as well as making high-quality artistic products. . “Familiar consumer products such as back scrubs, bath sponges, face wash pads and household appliances are products with a large market that bring in revenue of nearly 1 billion dong/year for Vi Lam loofah”, Mr. Mac Nhu Nhan, the founder of Vi Lam’s Loofah brand, shared.
Not stopping there, recently, researchers at the Indian School of Design and Innovation in Mumbai have created a biodegradable brick called Green Charcoal, made from charcoal, soil, cement and loofah as an alternative to concrete. This eco-friendly brick can reduce the amount of coarse aggregate used by up to 90% compared to standard concrete – a key advantage in the context of sand, the world’s most mined material, today. more scarce.
In Green Charcoal bricks, loofah will replace the metal reinforcement found in standard reinforced concrete, providing the right strength, flexibility and ensuring 20 times more porosity than standard concrete thanks to the holes. Ventilation occurs naturally in loofahs. These “airbags” help retain water and nourish the organism, reducing the temperature of the brick and thus making the interior cooler, said Shreyas More, head of the Green Charcoal brick research project.
Charcoal is an ingredient used in small quantities on the surface of Green Charcoal tiles to purify the air by absorbing nitrates – a plant-nourishing superfood found in bricks, exhibiting a strong bond. between man and nature. If the facades of buildings, walls and dividers all use loofah bricks, they will not only clean the air and control the temperature, but also inspire the building of active social communities. “This new breathing architecture ensures increased biodiversity in cities and provides healthy alternatives to urban construction,” added Mr. Shreyas More.
According to information from the Ministry of Construction, Vietnam currently has 833 urban areas, it is expected that by 2025 there will be at least 1,000 more urban areas. The development of a line of environmentally friendly materials will be a good solution to help use 15-20 million tons of industrial waste and save about 1,000 hectares of agricultural land.
Green Charcoal bricks have brought a green option in the context that traditional fired bricks are causing many negative impacts on the environment. According to statistics from the Institute of Natural Resources, Environment and Community Development, every 1 billion traditional bricks will consume about 1.5 million m3 of land, equivalent to 75 hectares of agricultural land. At the same time, this process must consume 142.8 million tons of burning coal and release to the environment nearly 548 million tons of CO2 (collected data from the Scientific Conference “Safety and environmentally friendly materials” on February 2. July 2020, Hanoi).
Using environmentally friendly building materials is an inevitable trend of the construction industry, especially in the context of increasingly polluted environment and depletion of natural resources, said Mr. Pham Van Bac, Director of the Department building materials, the Ministry of Construction, said. Currently, the Government has many policies and decrees to encourage the development of environmentally friendly materials.
However, according to experts, bio-brick made from loofah has yet to be widely commercialized because the supply is not stable and the durability of the material still lacks time to get used to the Vietnamese market.
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