Affordable Housing, Less Carbon: DOE Funds Texas A&M University 3D-Printed Hempcrete Project

The Department of Energy (DOE) has awarded Texas A&M University $3.47 million to support a project to 3D print a bio-aggregate composite consisting of hemp hurd and a lime-based binder, also known as hempcrete, a material with the potential to lower the environmental impact of traditional construction and make housing more affordable and available, reported Alyson Chapman for local media.

Funding will be provided through the program Harnessing Emissions into Structures Taking Inputs from the Atmosphere (HESTIA) from the DOE’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E)

"While production of conventional construction materials such as concrete requires large amounts of energy and releases large amounts of CO2 (carbon dioxide), hempcrete is a net carbon-negative material, which can provide major environmental benefits," said Dr. Petros Sideris, assistant professor in the Zachry Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and principal investigator behind the project. "Resilience to natural hazards is intertwined with environmental sustainability because building damage and subsequent repairs due to extreme events such as hurricanes result in major environmental impacts.”

Hempcrete resists mold, fire, and pests and practically lasts forever. Not to mention, it can capture carbon. In fact, NBA star Isiah Thomas, CEO of One World Products, Inc. OWPC, the largest Black-controlled, fully-licensed hemp and cannabis producer in Colombia, recently announced plans to commercialize the vast carbon credit opportunities contained within the company’s control of approximately 1.2 million acres of farmland in Colombia.

U.S. Worldwide Leadership In Advanced Construction Methods

In January, the US Hemp Building Foundation submitted an appendix to the International Residential Codes (IRC). Once accepted, hempcrete will be an approved natural building material in the United States.
"The advancements of this project will contribute to the U.S. maintaining its worldwide leadership in advanced construction methods and infrastructure sustainability and resilient technologies," Sideris said.

Sideris’ team consists of department head and professor Dr. Zachary Grasley, professor Dr. Anand Puppala, professor Dr. Wei Yan, assistant professor Dr. Maria Koliou and associate professor Dr. Manish Dixit.

Image courtesy of Flowertown

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