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Project GO SUBER: Modernization of the peel to improve productivity

The main objective of the project is to modernize the task ofcork extraction (traditionally done with an axe) through the cam mechanization, the optimization of peeling procedures and the improvement of health and safety conditions through various initiatives such as new measures adapted to peeling tasks and the prototype of a cork ladder. In addition, it seeks to valorize cork and its derivatives to improve their commercialization, through new technological applications and new uses (“green facades“).

The cork mountain is an ecosystem that hosts one of the richest biotopes in the European Union and is one of the main drivers of the economy of many rural areas in the Mediterranean area.

Cork is a material with a combination of properties that make it unique and versatile. These properties include its low density, high mechanical and fire resistance and low thermal and electrical conductivity. In addition, it is a good thermal and acoustic insulator with high elasticity and good adsorbing potential of some pollutants.

These properties make it possible to consider the use of cork by-products, or uncapped cork as material for plant growth substrate and waste water treatment systems. The development of new uses will involve the valorization of waste, giving rise to by-products or cork derivatives that will find new markets promoting the circular bioeconomy.

 

NEW USES FOR BYPRODUCTS OF CORK AND PELLAGRI

An important issue that arises is the utilization of waste and uncapped cork, considering that cork granulate is the destination of at least 50% of the production.

Standardizing and correctly classifying each type of cork, making waste, waste or unstoppable cork useful and not an added cost, is another of our goals.

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In the development of new uses for by-products of cork and pelagrí, an action coordinated by the ICSuro Foundation, a "pilot green cover with cork as a substrate and / or support, taking advantage of its insulating and bioabsorbent characteristics" for landscaped cladding of facades, where cork is applied as a substrate that allows the germination and growth of plants and also as a biosorbent for the decontamination of waste water from buildings, as well as improving its energy efficiency due to the insulating properties of the material.

In the GO SUBER project, the proposed prototype focuses on building vertical vegetation systems, and is considered as a comparative study between a gabion system with substrate or commercial filtering medium (peat, coconut fiber and perlite) and a gabion system with cork granulated substrate. During the GO SUBER project, different aspects of the constructed plant system have been monitored and studied: percentage of cork as a substrate, different plant species and their growth, physicochemical parameters and decontamination (biosorption). Decontamination tests are being carried out studying the biosorption of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons.

The use of cork by-product for the treatment of pollutants makes it possible to solve two problems: the management of cork biomass that cannot be used for corking and the deterioration of water quality.

The purpose of the tests is to verify the efficiency of water management and the contribution to improving the energy performance of buildings and to encourage the economic and environmental performance of the cork forest sector by making use of the by-product of the industry.

A green roof with cork is an innovative system that represents a substantial improvement in the competitiveness of this material compared to other systems that use non-sustainable materials. The application of cork involves improvements in terms of thermal, acoustic and resistance, which represents an innovation compared to current systems.

The partners of the project are: the company Trevinca Inversions Mediambientals (coordinators), the company Coveless Engineering, the Confederation of Forestry Organizations of Spain (COSE), the National Institute of Agricultural Research and Technology (INIA), the Andalusia's Environment and Water Agency (AMAYA), the Catalan Cork Institute Foundation (ICSURO), the company JOGOSA Obres i Serveis and CICYTEX, through the Cork, Wood and Charcoal Institute.

As subcontracted partners: the Consorci Forestal de Catalunya, the Association of Ecological Reserves of the Province of Huelva (ADEHECO), the Associació de Pietearis de Muntanya Sureda d'Extremadura (APMAE), the University of Córdoba (UCO) and the Comte la Vall de Salazar-ETSE Montes Foundation.

PROJECT CO-FINANCED IN 80% BY THE FEADER FUND WITH A TOTAL AMOUNT OF AID OF €531,994.36

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