“One-of-a-kind” factory to produce fibreboards using date palm fronds: Dieffenbacher and Weser

The neighbouring date farm that will supply the raw material for NSPO’s new Dieffenbacher MDF plant

Engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) specialist Weser and developer of press systems and complete production plant for the wood panel industry Dieffenbacher are collaborating with the Egyptian EPC contractor MT Mixers to supply a eco-friendly plant for the manufacture of high- and medium-density fibreboard (HDF and MDF) from date palm fronds to Egypt’s National Service Projects Organisation (NSPO).

According to Dieffenbacher, the facility is being built in the Toshka region and is scheduled to produce its first board in the fall of 2025.

Weser is acting as general contractor for the turnkey project, which will cover an area of 400,000m². The Dieffenbacher scope of supply for the complete plant project starts with a MAIER chipping line consisting of a MAIER Drum Chipper with extra-large infeed cross-section specially designed for high-volume material, a feeding belt conveyor, a vibration dosing table and an integrated MAIER Rechipper.

Dieffenbacher will also supply 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. They will also take care of the plant’s automation and electrics.

The contract also includes a 29mW energy system consisting of a solid-fuel fired steam boiler and a thermal oil heater.

“This is the first time since the acquisition of the former BERTSCHenergy in January 2023 that we have integrated a Dieffenbacher Energy solution into a project of our Wood business unit,” explained 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 burning palm waste.”

Shredded palm fronds that will be used to produce high-quality MDF and HDF

Adjacent to a 40,000-acre date farm, the new plant will use date palm fronds to produce around 125,000m³ of MDF and HDF per year.

“This will make the factory a one-of-a-kind in the world,” said Ahmed Amrou, managing director of Weser. “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, for example.

“The production facility is a valuable contribution to more sustainable farming in the area.”

Following the signing of the contract between NSPO, Weser and Dieffenbacher, work on the construction site in Egypt began in April 2023.

Images: Dieffenbacher