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Bio-based building products

Grow2Build is an InterregIVB project that seeks to promote the use of bio-based building products such as wheat straw, hemp, and flax as raw materials for construction products such as bio-composites and compressed agricultural fibreboard. Grow2Build has worked towards the transition of the North-West European economy from an oil-based economy towards a bio-based economy. 

The project has 11 partners spanning five countries; Germany, France, Belgium, Holland, and the UK. Grow2Build takes a holistic approach to increase the efficiency of the entire value chain of bio-based construction products by facilitating the collaboration between farmers, producers, distributors, and end-users. With the exception of wood, the use of natural (biobased) materials (based on hemp, flax, straw, or other natural resources) is still limited. Nevertheless, many benefits are attributed to these materials in terms of a healthier and more comfortable indoor climate. Other potential benefits of natural insulation materials that are often mentioned are energy savings and reduced environmental impact.


  • 1) Ghaffar, S. * (2019). Wheat straw bio-refinery for agricultural waste valorisation. Green Materials, doi: https://doi.org/10.1680/jgrma.19.00048
  • 2) Ghaffar, S.*, Fan, M., Abo Madyan, O., Zhou, Y. (2017). Detailed Analysis of Wheat Straw Node and Internode for their Prospective Efficient Utilisation. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. doi: 10.1021/acs.jafc.7b03304
  • 3) Ghaffar, S.*, Abo Madyan, O., Fan, M., Corker, J. (2018). The Influence of Additives on the Interfacial Bonding Mechanisms between Natural Fibre and Biopolymer Composites. Macromolecular Research, 17(158), 1-13. doi: 10.1007/s13233-018-6119-8
  • 4) Ghaffar, S., Fan, M.*, & McVicar, B. (2017). Interfacial properties with bonding and failure mechanisms of wheat straw node and internode. Composites part A: applied science and manufacturing, 99, 102-112. doi: 10.1016/j.compositesa.2017.04.005
  • 5) Ghaffar, S., & Fan, M.* (2017). An aggregated understanding of physicochemical properties and surface functionalities of wheat straw node and internode. Industrial Crops and Products, 95, 207-215. doi: 10.1016/j.indcrop.2016.10.045

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Meet the Principal Investigator(s) for the project

Dr Seyed Ghaffar - Dr Seyed Ghaffar is a Senior Lecturer (Associate Professor) in Civil Engineering. He is a Chartered Civil Engineer (CEng, MICE), a Member of the Institute of Concrete Technology (MICT) and a Fellow of Higher Education Academy (FHEA). He is the leader of Additive Manufacturing Technology in Construction Research Group (AMTC). The focus of AMTC is on valorising construction and demolition waste using materials science and 3D printing to achieve the circular economy goals of sustainable construction. Dr Ghaffar, as the Principal Investigator, has been successful in securing a €220K project funded by the H2020 EU Commission on ''Digital fabrication and integration of Material reuse for environmentally friendly cementitious composite building blocks (DigiMat)' 2021-2023. Dr Ghaffar is the Principal Investigator of a £300K project funded by the British Council (Institutional Links) on 'Direct Writing of Cementitious Inks to Scaffolds with Complex Microarchitectures (DiWoCIS)' 2020-2022. He is also the Principal Investigator of a £300K project funding from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) on 'High-Performance Compressed Straw Board (HP-CSB): A New Generation of Building Materials' 2018-2022. Dr Ghaffar's research covers a number of construction materials, with a focus on the development of low carbon technologies suitable for new and retrofitting applications by combining materials sciences and innovative technologies. Dr Ghaffar is the Associate Editor of the Journal of Results in Engineering (Elsevier) and the Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers - Structures and Buildings (ICE Publishing).   During his PhD (2012-2016), Dr Ghaffar was simultaneously working as a research associate on several European research projects, i.e. Grow2Build, VIP4ALL, REWOBIOREF and GELCLAD. Natural fibre composite production, formulation and characterisation are part of Dr Ghaffar's research expertise. In 2015, he was appointed Manager of Grow2Build European Centre of Excellence (Grow2Build), which serves as a permanent focal point for local manufacturers, industries and research centres interested in bio-based building products, providing technical support and innovation for utilisation of bio-based products in the construction industry. Moreover, construction waste management and valorisation (WasteValue) is another of Dr Ghaffar's research interests. This research aims to study the feasibility of the circular economy (cradle to cradle) management of waste and the environmental sustainability of the systems in construction. WasteValue evaluates and analyses current technologies and strategies concerning construction and demolition waste management in the UK.

Related Research Group(s)

Resilient Structures and Construction Materials

Resilient Structures and Construction Materials - RIMS research group brings together material scientists and structural engineers to deliver resilient infrastructure (buildings, bridges etc.) made of sustainable, advanced materials to perform under harsh natural environment and human-induced hazards.

Project last modified 05/01/2021