UltraCell - Advanced Cellulose Insulation

EPA Contract Number: EPD14024
Title: UltraCell - Advanced Cellulose Insulation
Investigators: Thompson, Daniel H
Small Business: UltraCell Insulation, LLC
EPA Contact: Manager, SBIR Program
Phase: I
Project Period: May 1, 2014 through April 30, 2015
Project Amount: $100,000
RFA: Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) - Phase I (2014) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: SBIR - Innovation in Manufacturing , Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR)


Cellulose insulation is a well-established and $400M growing market. It is recognized for superior thermal insulating performance, its safety and its environmental benefits. UltraCell’s proprietary technology addresses two major issues facing the industry today: the decline in availability of newsprint as its primary feedstock and changes in OSHA labeling requirements scheduled for 2015.

UltraCell has developed a patented process for the product ion of an advanced form of cellulose insulation. The technology is innovative, cost competitive and ecologically beneficial. The company’s unique process enables the use of a safe liquid fire retardant, a major breakthrough for the industry. Technical feasibility has been proven, and this grant will allow UltraCell to further fine tune the production process to yield the highest quality product for commercial applications.

UltraCell’s cellulose insulation reduces carbon in three ways: (1) it improves the insulation of buildings; (2) it uses less energy in manufacturing than other forms of insulation; and (3) the product directly sequesters carbon. UltraCell’s formulation has a safer environmental profile than fiberglass, foam or any competing forms of cellulose insulation. It is the only cellulose product that will be exempt from new labeling requirements being implemented by OSHA. By enabling the ongoing growth of the cellulose industry as a whole, UltraCell will reduce the amount of pollutants (such as formaldehyde and volatile organic compounds [VOCs]) that are introduced by competing forms of insulation, and its active moisture management will help control the growth of mold.

UltraCell has a balanced team of industrial, technical and commercial experts. The team brings 60 years of direct experience in cellulose insulation, including production, installation and construction. UltraCell is a joint venture with US Dynamics, a technology commercialization company with a strong track record of helping firms navigate across the “Valley of Death.” Finally, the team draws on the robust technical expense of the University of Maine’s Process Development Center, an industry-leading research institution.

With completion of the research effort described as part of Phase 1, this project will be well along the way to lining up partners for pilot production under Phase 2. The company has identified leading firms in production, distribution, installation and construction to serve as partners from Phase 1 through a commercial rollout. A portion of the Phase 1 research will be conducted at an intended pilot-scale production site and preliminary testing of the product by prospective customers will occur as part of UltraCell’s Phase 1 trials.

Supplemental Keywords:

green manufacturing, cellulose insulation, pollutants, formaldehyde, volatile organic compound, VOC

Progress and Final Reports:

  • Final Report