RiceRes research project: reusing waste from rice production
The RiceRes research project, launched in 2016 by the CNR (National Research Council) and the Universities of Milan and Pavia and financed by the Cariplo Foundation, aimed to make the most of waste materials from processing Italian rice.
The RiceRes project sought to use all production waste from Italy's rice chain by transforming it into a wide range of products with added value, with the ultimate goal of both meeting the demands of the circular economy and increasing the profitability of rice cultivation in Italy.
To achieve this goal, the project took a multidisciplinary approach to exploit the oil, phytosterols and proteins contained in the husk to obtain products with greater added value. Meanwhile, the silica contained in the husk, the husk itself and the straw could be used to manufacture composites and materials for bio-construction. Rice straw could be used to reinforce wool and vegetable fibre composites for use as thermal and acoustic insulation in green building, while the husk and silica obtained from the husk could be used for bio-plastic composites.
The aim of the project was threefold:
- to add value to the rice supply chain
- to develop a biorefinery model based on rice waste
- to introduce the concept of the bio-economy as a competitive advantage among Italian rice growers.
In 2018, the Istituto per lo Studio delle Macromolecole – CNR produced a report describing the potential uses of rice waste identified during the project. The final results are available in the form of a report here.