May 18, 2024

What can be done with banana processing wastes? 

A researcher from the Forest Products Research and Development Institute of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST-FPRDI) said if these wastes are banana fruit stalks (also called peduncles), they can be used to make thermal insulation boards.

The Philippines makes around 1.35 billion kilos of banana fruit stalk wastes every year. These stalks need not be thrown away; they can be made into thermal insulation boards.

“Our study shows fibers from the fruit stalk of the saba banana are promising material for composite insulation boards. Such boards can be used in tropical countries to keep heat outside of homes and buildings. The sample panels we produced are not yet perfect. We still need to make a few adjustments on them, but our initial findings are very encouraging,” said Engr. Gilberto N. Sapin of the  DOST-FPRDI.

Incidentally, the Philippines is one of the world’s top producers of banana and therefore one of the top generators of banana fruit stalk wastes. In Mindanao alone, some 1.35 billion kilos of these stalks are produced every year and left in the fields to rot.

“Mixed with the right amount of fibers and binders, the banana peduncle fibers we studied gave us boards suitable for thermal insulation. For tropical countries like the Philippines which are getting hotter temperatures due to the climate crisis, insulation panels will be very useful as they keep heat outside of homes and buildings,” he said.

Sapin also learned through an initial study that the peduncle fibers of lagkitan banana are also promising material for composite boards. At present, natural fiber composites are commonly used worldwide for walls, ceilings, floors and cabinets, crates, and car parts.

The findings stated above were part of Sapin’s thesis for his MS in Material Science at the University of the Philippines Diliman under the supervision of Dr. Leslie Joy L. Diaz.  –Rizalina K. Araral