Dieffenbacher using palm fronds for MDF

The waste from date harvest, palm fronds are first shredded (L), then separated into fibres before going into the press.

German companies Weser Industrie und Anlagentechnik GmbH, an engineering, procurement and construction specialist; and Dieffenbacher, a manufacturer of press systems and complete production plants for the wood-based panels industry, are collaborating with the Egyptian EPC contractor MT Mixers to supply a unique, innovative and eco-friendly plant for the manufacture of high- and medium-density fiberboard (HDF/MDF) from date palm fronds.

The facility is being built in the Toshka region and is scheduled to produce its first board in the fall of 2025 for Egypt’s National Service Projects Organization (NSPO).

Weser is acting as a general contractor for the turnkey project, which will cover an area of 4,00,000 square metres. The Dieffenbacher scope of supply for the complete plant project starts with a Maier chipping line consisting of a drum chipper with an extra-large infeed cross-section specially designed for high-volume material, a feeding belt conveyor, a vibration dosing table and an integrated Maier re-chipper.

It also includes chip cleaning, the refiner, dryer and air grader, glue preparation and dosing, the forming line and forming station, a CPS+ continuous press with press emission control system, the raw board handling and the sanding line, strapping line and pneumatic systems.

Additionally, Dieffenbacher will take care of the plant’s automation and electrics. The contract also includes a 29-MW energy system consisting of a solid fuel-fired steam boiler and a thermal oil heater.

Palm fronds fuel

“This is the first time since the acquisition of the former Bertsch Energy in January 2023 that we have integrated a Dieffenbacher energy solution into a project of our wood business unit,” explains Stefan Zipf, head of the wood business unit at Dieffenbacher.

“Our Austrian and German energy experts from Bludenz and Eppingen have worked closely together to provide NSPO with a customised solution perfectly suited to the special requirements of using palm waste,” he adds.

Adjacent to a 40,000-acre date farm, the new plant will use date palm fronds to produce around 1,25,000 cubic metres of MDF/HDF per year.

“This will make the factory a one-of-kind in the world,” says Weser’s Managing Director, Ahmed Amrou. The production facility is a valuable contribution to more sustainable farming in the area,” he adds.

Usually, palm fronds are considered farm waste. In this case, however, instead of wood – which is hard to get in this region anyway – they will be used to produce high-quality MDF/HDF boards that can be utilised for flooring or by the furniture industry.

In addition, the plant will create around 500 new jobs and is expected to boost the local economy in the Toshka region. Following the signing of the contract between NSPO, Weser and Dieffenbacher, work on the construction site in Egypt began in April 2023.



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