Transforming Agricultural By-Products Into Building Materials in Ghana

Focusing on West Africa, Willow Technologies explores the potential of agro-waste and bio-based materials, addressing critical questions related to scalability, industrial production, standardization, fireproofing, and mechanical strength.

Willow Technologies, an innovative material research and building technology practice, founded by the talented Ghanaian-Filipino designer and architectural scientist, Mae-Ling Lokko. The company operates at the intersection of research, development, and diffusion of bio-based building materials.


Unlocking the Potential of Indigenous Crops:

At the core of Willow Technologies’ mission lies the understanding that achieving scalability for agro-based materials depends on fostering demand through education and awareness. Mae-Ling Lokko and her team embarked on a journey to explore the utilization of indigenous crops and agricultural by-products in Ghana. This exploration became a necessity as the commercialization of these native species was diminishing due to the dominance of imported hybrid food crops.


Investigating Crop Materials:

To understand the material characteristics of various crops and their by-products, Willow Technologies conducted comprehensive research on coconuts, moringa, rice, and other indigenous crops. The team meticulously cataloged the potential applications of these materials, local transformation techniques, and the challenges and prospects of scaling them into viable building materials.


Bridging Education and Green Infrastructure:

Willow Technologies’ innovative approach to the bioswale project went beyond implementation. The team collaborated with local and global participants, including Ghana’s Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), Scottish architect Tom Morton, students from Ashesi University, and Glasgow’s Mackintosh School of Architecture. This multi-faceted collaboration aimed to educate and engage diverse communities in sustainable building practices, promoting the integration of indigenous crops into modern solutions for environmental challenges.


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