A gentleman from the South African Sugar Research Institute contacted me today to discuss the potential of using sugar cane bio-mass in bales as a building material. He is very interested in the potential of sugar cane to provide affordable building materials for the thousands of men, women and children who cannot afford housing of adequate construction.
Sugar cane is used to produce 70% of the World’s sugar (with the remaining 30% coming from sugar beets). With total market production of over 120 million tons annually, grown in 121 countries, the crop produces adequate waste that might be suitable for bale construction. I mentioned my concerns of bale density, moisture content, and structural strength of the material to him in our communications. I look forward to continuing the dialogue and hope to discover that the cane bio mass makes a suitable building material and thus provides affordable housing for many, many people. The sugar cane industry is huge in South Africa and as such could provide a large amount of material for the people to build with. He and I will discuss the next step of the process, labor education, in the future; assuming the cane passes the necessary tests for construction quality. I am excited about the possibility of success with this project.