CalPlant I rice straw MDF plant to start operations in Q3, 2019

1 August 2019


When construction is completed in Q3, 2019, CalPlant I will be the world’s first commercial-scale producer of rice straw-based MDF supplying approximately 140 million ft2 of no-added-formaldehyde MDF to the building products industry.

CalPlant I 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 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 water. By processing rice straw into MDF, CalPlant I will significantly reduce the levels of water that would have been diverted from regional waterways to flood rice fields after harvest.

Siempelkampl is the equipment designer, manufacturer and installation supervisor during plant construction. The plant will include a Generation 9 Siempelkamp press 10ft wide and 115ft long (35m). Designed capacity is approximately 140 million ft2 (3/4in basis). The board’s thickness offer will range between 2mm and 30mm.