Egypt is planning to build a $230m factory for turning rice straw into wood, the official Ahram Online news agency reported yesterday.
The factory, earmarked for a site in Beheira Province in the Nile delta, will produce 205,000 square metres of medium-density fibreboard (MDF) a year using technology supplied by German engineering firm, Siempelkamp.
MDF is usually made from waste wood.
As well as providing a useful construction material, the plant is intended to reduce the air pollution caused by burning rice straw.
A deal for the project was signed yesterday between Siempelkamp and Wotech, a new state-owned wood technology company.
Wotech signed another deal with state-owned oil firm Petrojet.
The plant, which was first mooted in October, would be only the second in the world after one set up last year in California.
This $315m factory was built in Willows, a rice growing region north of Sacramento, by CalPlant. It is expected to process 300,000 tons of rice straw a year.
There have been experiments into making MDF with wheat straw, but these ran into problems with cost and quality.
In Egypt the plant will produce MDF for furniture, construction, and decoration.
Image: Burning rice straw is a significant contributor to Egyptian air pollution (Green/CC BY-SA 3.0)