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Using cattails for insulation
Date:6/3/2013

Lowland moors regenerated by Typha cultivation

Despite the numerous advantages of Typha, so far this natural building material has yet to be installed on a wide scale, or industrially exploited. "Cattails are highly prolific, especially in East Europe mainly Romania and Hungary. The wetland plant is not being cultivated in this part of the world, so it would have to be imported extra," as the engineer relates an important obstacle. In this respect, he indicated that there would be suitable cultivation areas in Germany. For example, dried out lowland moors that were used for agricultural purposes for decades could be revitalized by cultivating Typha. Scientists have already shown that this is possible through the "Cattail Cultivation in Lowland Moors" project sponsored by the Deutschen Bundesstiftung Umwelt DBU (German Federal Environment Foundation) and headed by the Chair for Landscape Ecology at the Munich University of Technology. "Drained lowland moors are a source of CO2 emissions. Each year, up to 40 million tons of carbon dioxide are released in Germany by draining," Krus affirms. By comparison: Automobile traffic in Germany causes an annual release of 105 million tons of CO2. This process could be stopped, though, by cultivating cattails. The depletion is reduced and many nutrients remain in the soil. At the same time, cattail surfaces offer habitats for rare plants and animals. "Therefore, typha cultivation also contributes to environmental protection," says the scientist.

There would be no impediment to high yields, since cattails are extremely fast-growing. Krus acknowledges that the harvested typha has excellent sales potential. "The plant can be processed easily," stressed the researcher. The leaves are detached horizontally into rod-like particles and then shortened at the correct length of around seven centimeters. Next, they are sprayed in a drum with environmentally-sound mineral adhesives and brought into a heated pre
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Contact: Martin Krus
martin.krus@ibp.fraunhofer.de
49-802-464-3258
Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft
Source:Eurekalert

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