Potato peels used to make MDF-like panel
January 9, 2019 | 5:15 pm CST

LONDON -- Engineers have developed a material from potato peels that can be used as a panel product like MDF. Chip[s] Board was developed in response to the environmental impacts of readily disposable materials.

Chip[s] Board began during the studies and freelance work of co-founders Rowan Minkley and Robert Nicoll in London.

Think of all the potato peel waste created by french fries. The idea was to create an alternative to particleboard and MDF. The new material reportedly does not contain formaldehyde or other chemicals and is biodegradable after it is used.

Working across a range of design and fabrication projects the founders were surprised by the lack of value materials were given and disposability they held after such short lifespans.

Inspired to find a new solution they sought to develop a new material that if treated in the same disposable manner would not have the large environmental impact currently generated by material disposal.

The company has made chip particleboard, a fine grain rigid board with a quality surface finish for interior design. Available in a range of natural pigments to remove the need for further painting or sealing, reducing labor costs and environmental impacts.

Chip strandboard is a smooth fiberboard with a smooth surface finish and tensile strength for interior design.
All materials developed by Chip[s] Board are durable, recyclable and biodegradable. They contain no toxic chemicals and have been designed specifically to create a stronger circular economy for materials.


Finished products shown on the company’s site include a milk stool, lamp shade and wall mounting, along with furniture and clothing.

According to Dezeen, http://www.dezeen.com,  an architectural and design magazine in the United Kingdom, the developers wanted to combine this issue of material waste with the problem of food waste, which sees a third of all food produced ending up being thrown away. The result is a sustainable wood substitute made from the waste potato peelings created from industrial food processing.

The invention led to Minkley being announced as the United Kingdom's "most promising young engineering entrepreneur" by the Royal Academy of Engineering Enterprise Hub. This is part of its annual Launchpad Competition, which aims to encourage more young people to start their own engineering businesses.

After collecting the peelings from manufacturers, they put the raw potato peel through various refinement processes to create a binding agent that can be applied to their fibers, which include potato skins, bamboo, recycled wood or beer hops.

They then use this to form the material by heat pressing the composite into a robust sheet of board, in a process similar to MDF production, that can be processed into an array of products, such as furniture and building materials.

This allowed the developers make strong and usable boards, with the help of co-founder Greg Cooper whose background in biochemistry helped them to experiment with each sheet, refining the product until it could be produced commercially. See http://www.chipsboard.com

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Karl Forth

Karl D. Forth is online editor for CCI Media. He also writes news and feature stories in FDMC Magazine, in addition to newsletters and custom publishing projects. He is also involved in event organization, and compiles the annual FDM 300 list of industry leaders. He can be reached at [email protected]