37° 46′ N, 25° 28′ W
San Potito / Morcone, Italy

Multidisciplinary research and experimentation pathway to investigate the potential of agricultural residues and by-products as resources for the production of new cementitious composite materials for additive manufacturing

Embedded in a project for the cultural and social regeneration of the historic village of Morcone, funded by New European Bauhaus / European Union

Mario Festa, architect, Ru.De.Ri.

Barbara Liguori, Industrial Production Engineer, University of Naples
Martha Lombardi, Project coordinator
2019 - ongoing
A conspicuous amount of the stockbreeding and agricultural practices final waste and byproducts are often not valorized as resources as they could be.

This happens also in rural areas, where, due to the small scale manufactures and their decentralized location, the lack of dedicated infrastructures and the intricate bureaucratic systems of regulations, production waste is just a matter of finding the best inexpensive way to get rid of it.

Because the amount of waste/byproducts, not reusable in the original agricultural practice, is available in high amounts it should be considered by medium / small manufacturies as raw material.
In the area of Matese, there are tons of wasted materials coming from the wine, olive, corn and wheat cultures as well as from the stockbreeding practices, that end up in the local waste plant in Acerra. The final ashes coming out from the waste plant have still to be managed, it goes to landfills or is used in the concrete production.

In the specific case of the incinerator in Acerra, some of the ashes are transported hundreds of kilometers to north Italy, to be processed in other plants. A typical linear production system scenario, that in this case seems not to be efficient neither in terms of ecology not in terms of economy.

The leftover materials contain proteins or organic minerals and are perfectly reusable for the elaboration of new products and materials for various applications.

Agricultural waste is not being used adequately, but is burned and put into landfill. This REFUSED MATTER has still organic and inorganic load, that could be used in  composite materials.

Wine production leftovers

Corn cob leftovers

Wheat production leftovers

Our aim is a holistic and regional material-, production- and application-scenario in order to minimise the destruction of landscape and habitat through open-cast mining, as well as the burden on the environment through the disposal of waste and by-products from the agricultural industry.

The objective is to reduce environmental impact and create occasion for growth and valorization of human potential and cultural heritage.

Investigation, extraction and processing of plant based waste materials and by-products from local agricultural production for usable silicates, polymers and plastisizers for the production of composite materials with cementitious properties.

Development of plant-based recycled matrix for use in 3D printing processes as well as functional and formal design experiments to explore the aesthetic potential of the recycled materials in generative processes.

Exemplary design of large-format, two-dimensional structured architectural elements according to the principle 'Design for Disassembly' for the implementation of the recycled material with the help of additive manufacturing.


Interim results of the REFUSED MATTER project were awarded with the Rural Design Award and exhibited at Rural Design Week.

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