In our project, it was investigated that it is possible to make a solid product in which 65% of the raw material can be replaced by grass fibres. Think of reflector poles, fencing, bank boards, picnic benches, etc. For more information, please contact Bert van Vuuren of Natural Plastics
Making a bio-de-icer from grass juice turned out not to yield the sustainability gain that we had expected. When pressing, less grass juice came out of the grassfibers than we had expected, about 150 m3 from 90 tons of grass while we had assumed twice as much.
Several filtration steps were needed to get the grass juice clean enough to process into bio-de-icer. The filtration equipment required a lot of electricity and manual labor. Power consumption in particular has had a negative impact on the sustainability gains we had in mind.
Finally, there was only a minimal saving of salt usage. Although grass juice naturally contains a variety of different minerals/salts, even after concentration through ElectroDialysis it was still necessary to add extra NatriumChloride.
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.
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:
- 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.
- 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.
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 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.
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.