Grass juice, the green alternative for road salt

Frequently asked questions

Grass2Grit is a circular concept aimed at de-icing roads and the (re)use of grass fibers. We want to demonstrate through a pilot that verge grass can be used to maintain the road along which it grows. The mowed roadside grass is collected, reprocessed and pressed, separating grass juice and grass fibers. Both raw materials are then reprocessed into bio-based products that can be used on or alongside the road.

Partners in this project are the Province of Noord-Holland, Schuitemaker BV, J. van Bodegom & zn. BV, Van Gelder and Sustainable Tree Systems. Furthermore, Tauw, TNO, the Butterfly Foundation and the Recreation Centre Geestmerambacht are also important suppliers, stakeholders and discussion partners. See our partner scheme for more information.

The safety of the grass juice as a deicer will be tested by TNO. This will be initially tested in a laboratory. In the course of the pilot period it will also be tested on public roads. Theoretically, the product is safe, as we are dealing with freezing point lowering minerals, also called salts, which have the same effect as the commonly used sodium chloride.

In the event of snowfall, the snow is first ploughed away. On a clear road, grass juice is then spread preventively. In general, a lot of salt is required in the event of snow. In those situations, it will also be necessary to use solid salt.

Waste is sorted manually before it is processed. There are currently no suitable techniques to do this automatically.

Sinus management is an ecological mowing method. It is a meandering mowing method, whereby part of the grass remains uncut. By mowing in winding paths and in phases, a diverse grassland is created. As a result, there is plenty to be found for butterflies, bees and birds all year round, thus contributing to biodiversity.

Please see for more information the Butterfly Foundation’s website: https://www.vlinderstichting.nl/sinusbeheer/

For various reasons:

  1. it can replace the mulching mowing method by linking our project to sinus management. We do not see the verge as a mining area, instead Grass2Grit is developing a method to finance sine management and also utilizes the waste.
  2. Grass juice is more beneficial to groundwater than regular road salt. Salt is not toxic in itself, however in winter generally large quantities end up in the environment. The pilot will also examine which alternative salts can be used, giving preference to salts that naturally occur in the area to reduce the environmental impact.

Yes, it is. All plants have minerals that can be used for this purpose.

Between 6 and 10 tons of fresh grass per km2.

In the process, the sugars and proteins are extracted from the juice and it is concentrated in such a way that it cannot decay.

The Province of Noord-Holland is a partner and is investing in the project. The location was also found to be suitable because it has wide verges where sinus mowing can be properly applied. Furthermore, Grass2Grit is also part of the Green Capital Farm that is being developed in this recreational area.

The Green Capital Farm is a center for eco-based innovation and cooperation. A place where entrepreneurs, students, researchers, civil servants, interest representatives and residents work together on the future and focus on challenges in the areas of biodiversity, circular economy, agriculture, energy supply and climate adaptation. The Green Capital Farm is located in the recreation area Geestmerambacht and is facilitated by the Province of North Holland. The Grass2Grit factory is part of the Green Capital Farm.

We expect that in the winter of 2019-2020 we will be able to test the grass juice for the first time on public roads. We will announce this in advance via the newsletter and social media. Please also see the timeline on the website.

The Grass2Grit concept is a public-private funded pilot that is budgeted at a total of approximately 4 million euros, spread over four years. The partners each invest a part, and a LIFE grant of 2.2 million has been obtained from the EU.

We are examining whether we can develop a version for private or commercial use.

In principle, the pilot phase lasts until 2022. Based on the results, we will be able to work out if the business case is viable.

This will not be known until after the pilot phase. It is an innovation in which investments still mainly have to be made. We already know that the income from the juice and the fiber is jointly important for a successful business case.

See the Grass2Grit Process diagram for how it’s made.

It is sprayed. There are several methods to deice roads, such as pre-wet spreading where salt is mixed with brine. We can replace the brine with grass juice. The ratio between salt and brine in pre-wet spreading is 50-50 or 70-30.
In the past, a lot of dry spreading used to take place, but this is hardly done anymore.

It is made from agricultural waste such as starch from the potato industry. This is called organic granulate, which is mixed with grass fibre and organic glue. Grass2Grit’s products are made from these materials.