Born out of Beyond Interiors in Phnom Penh, this project aims to bring smarter local recycling options to Cambodia. Through collaborations with local organizations, entrepreneurs, and affordable housing initiatives, we hope to introduce new options for locally-produced recycled products and affordable building materials.
To develop a decorative interior wall tile made from more than 50% rice husk, a waste material readily available in Cambodia.
What is Rice Husk (Hull)?
Rice Husks (or rice hulls) are the hard protecting coverings of grains of rice. In addition to protecting rice during the growing season, rice hulls can be put to use as building material, fertilizer, insulation material, or fuel.
Rice hulls are the coating for the seeds, or grains, of the rice plant. To protect the seed during the growing season, the hull forms from hard materials, including opaline silica and lignin. The hull is mostly indigestible to humans.
Rice hulls can be used to produce mesoporous molecular sieves (e.g., MCM), which are applied as catalysts for various chemical reactions, as a support for drug delivery system and as adsorbent in waste water treatment.
Rice hulls can be used in brewing beer to increase the lautering ability of a mash.
Rice hulls are a class A insulating material because they are difficult to burn and less likely to allow moisture to propagate mold or fungi. It has been found out that when burned, rice hull produces significant amounts of silica. For these reasons it provides excellent thermal insulation.
Rice hulls are organic material and can be composted. However, their high lignin content can make this a slow process. Sometimes earthworms are used to accelerate the process. Using vermicomposting techniques, the hulls can be converted to fertilizer in about four months.
The direct combustion of rice hulls tends to produce a lot of smoke. A far better alternative is to gasify rice hulls. Rice hulls are easily gasified in top-lit updraft gasifiers. The combustion of this rice hull gas produces a beautiful blue flame, and rice hull biochar makes a wonderful soil amendment.
Rice hulls are used as a “press aid” to improve extraction efficiency of apple pressing.
Pet Food Fiber
Rice hulls are the outermost covering of the rice and come as organic rice hulls and natural rice hulls. Rice hulls are an inexpensive byproduct of human food processing, serving as a source of fiber that is considered a filler ingredient in cheap pet foods.
Rice hulls are used as pillow stuffing. The pillows are loosely stuffed and considered therapeutic as they retain the shape of the head.
1 ^ S. Chiarakorn et al. “Influence of functional silanes on hydrophobicity of MCM-41 synthesized from rice husk” Sci. Technol. Adv. Mater. 8 (2007) 110 free download
2 ^ J. Chumee et al. “Characterization of platinum–iron catalysts supported on MCM-41 synthesized with rice husk silica and their performance for phenol hydroxylation” Sci. Technol. Adv. Mater. 9 (2008) 015006 free download
3 ^ See: http://esrla.com/pdf/landfill_06.pdf
4 ^ Press aids
5 ^ http://www.dogfoodproject.com/index php?page=badingredien
Current Uses In Cambodia
Rice husks are commonly used as a ground cover in areas housing animals such as pigs and ducks. The rice husks are spread around to keep down smell from animal waste and in muddy areas to stabilize the ground.
Rice Wine Production
Rice husks are commonly burnt during the process which produces rice wine.
Rice husks are used as an insulating material in the delivery and storage of ice.
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