14 Nov 2018
Beirut, Lebanon
Resource efficiency and sustainable waste management

To counteract the growing mountains of trash in dotting the roads and shores of Lebanon, individuals as well as a few businesses and initiatives are hard at work trying to change that reality. But with that at work, these mountains don’t cease to heighten and only the most creative, such as Emile Moughayar would manage to curb that, even a little, through recycling fabrics to be used as construction or insulation materials.

Civil engineer and entrepreneur Moughayar was introduced to such knowledge at university where he learned that certain fabrics can be turned into a thermal insulation material. “It’s mainly made of cotton and we mix it with propylene. Usually we obtain the materials from left-over textiles at some textile factories,” Moughayar says.

Through starting his own business, TRI Lebanon, Moughayar uses a technique called “thermal bonding”, a process that heats fibers then cools them to solidify the bonding. “The process is used in France and other countries, but we lack the machinery which does a much better, detailed job,” he notes, adding that textiles are naturally insulating.

Moghayar who is currently finalizing his prototype to be tested, thought of other ways to procure fabrics from discarded clothes, but was told it’s easier to deal with leftover textiles than with clothes. Hoping to start his own factory where he can run operations and control the process of thermal bonding, he is already in talks with potential customers.

“Though the market is currently stagnant, they are in need of a thicker material but I’m working on it. The other customer segment would be refugee shelters and tents, and I have been in contact with the UNHCR to gauge interest,” he says.

Moughayar is also eyeing a market beyond the Lebanese borders to reach Syria after the war. “It’s a bigger country and they have more textile waste so I can, for example, start a factory on the border to maximize the profits,” he adds.

He is also currently recruiting team members of various backgrounds to join TRI Lebanon. He’s also working on preparing a technical data sheet and some numbers to support his business.

Of the form this insulation material takes, Moughayar says that it can be installed as a panel for shelters or from the outside or inside for construction. It can even be included as what’s called a sandwich panel in the case of double-walled buildings. It doesn’t only work as a thermal insulation but an acoustic one, too.

 

Photos: Leo Fosdal and Petra Kessler via Unsplash.

TRI Lebanon Resource Efficiency & Sustainable Waste Management
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