CalPlant will soon introduce its long-awaited rice straw-based MDF, the composite panel of the 21st century.
When construction is completed this spring, CalPlant I will be the world’s first commercial-scale producer of rice straw-based medium density fiberboard (MDF), annually supplying approximately 140 million square feet of no-added-formaldehyde MDF to the building products industry.
CalPlant and its predecessor company CalAg LLC have spent many years researching, developing and patenting a process to make high quality MDF using annually renewable rice straw as the feedstock, the disposal of which has posed environmental issues in California for over a century. Rice straw is an agricultural waste product of the annual harvest, and all furnish for the plant will be procured from Sacramento Valley rice growers within a 15- to 25-mile radius of the plant site in Willows, California.
Currently, the most common practice of straw disposal is to initiate a decomposition process by flooding the fields after harvest. This practice uses a large volume of incremental amounts of precious water. By processing rice straw into MDF, CalPlant will significantly reduce the levels of water that would have been diverted from regional waterways to flood rice fields after harvest.