Universitat Rovira i Virgili

SUSCAPE Research Group
Department of Mechanical Engineering

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What is SAVASCO?

SAVASCO is an INTERREG project (Spain - France - Andorra) POCTEFA 2014-2020, which aims to structure an innovative and sustainable construction sector based on corn and sunflower stalks. Established on the transpyrenean territory, it should contribute to reduce the environmental impacts of the building sector.


Today, insulation building materials are mainly derived from non-renewable raw materials of mineral or petroleum origin, whose extraction and processing have major environmental impacts, particularly in terms of greenhouse gas emissions and energy consumption.

However, the physical characteristics of certain agricultural waste, such as corn and sunflower stalks, give them the thermal insulation and hygroscopic regulation performance sought after in the formulation of construction materials. In addition, these bio-sourced raw materials have many environmental advantages: they are renewable, local and act as carbon sinks.


  1. Develop processes for collecting and processing sunflower and corn stalks at moderate cost for the production of plant aggregates with controlled physico-chemical characteristics.

  2. Formulate, implement and characterize construction products incorporating these plant aggregates.

  3. Identify and network stakeholders in a cross-border chain for adding value to corn and sunflower stalks in construction materials (agricultural cooperatives, designers, craftsmen, construction industrialists, materials distributors, research laboratories and training organizations).

  4. Life cycle analysis of the construction products developed and of the whole sector.

Main achievements expected

Our contribution

Spanish Universities are collaborating in the characterization and development of plant aggregates for the construction sector, the main objectives are to develop materials with good thermal and physic properties without compromising the durability of the materials. This require a further hygroscopic, acoustic and fire resistance analysis of the aggregate optimal samples (those with the best properties without compromising the cost and the environmental impact).

To evaluate the cost and environmental impact of the plant aggregates, a life cycle methodology is considered (life cycle cost and life cycle assessment respectively), considering all steps from the extraction of the materials until the disposal (cradle to grave). On the other hand, for the early stage of the analysis, a cradle to gate analysis might be considered, including all the steps until the fabrication of the plant aggregates.


Associated partners