The first commercial Oriented Split Straw Board (OSSB) plant opened in China recently, under licence to Dutch-based Panel Board Holding (PBH) Ltd and with help from panel technology developed by the Alberta Research Council (ARC), reports The Edmonton Journal.

“They don’t have trees anymore in China, but there is lots of wheat straw. The economy is booming and demand is really growing,” said Jack van de Haterd, an engineering supervisor with PBH.

The first OSSB plant is designed to produce up to 5,000 four-by-eight-foot panels a day, enough to build between 30 and 35 houses.

The structure is considered about 10 times more resistant to earthquakes than brick because of its flexibility, the newspaper stated.

“China reckons it will need 200 million new houses in the next 20 years, many of them in rural areas that could use this new straw technology,” said Mr van de Haterd.