Formulation and testing of an entirely wood-based exterior insulation board for the high-performance building marketEPA Contract Number: 68HE0D18C0024
Title: Formulation and testing of an entirely wood-based exterior insulation board for the high-performance building market
Investigators: Henry, Dr. Joshua A
Small Business: GO Lab
EPA Contact: Richards, April
Project Period: October 1, 2018 through March 31, 2019
Project Amount: $100,000
RFA: Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) - Phase I (2018) RFA Text | Recipients Lists
Research Category: SBIR – Sustainable Materials Management , Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR)
The goal of this project is the formulation a rigid, insulating, low-density wood composite, with physical
and thermal properties comparable to fossil fuel derived foams.
To achieve energy conservation standards mandated by certification agencies such as Passive House
and LEED, high performance buildings require multiple shells of insulation – an inner shell that
contains electrical and plumbing systems and an exterior, structural insulation located directly below
outer facing of the building. In the United States this insulation shell is generally achieved using either
rigid, low-density boards made from polystyrene foam – a $4B annual market. Low-density wood fiber
(LDF) insulation boards are an environmentally sustainable product and could be manufactured cost
competitively in the US.
The technical hurdles that need to be addressed in this SBIR project to make that a reality are 1)
Develop a fundamental understanding of the material variables that most impact the mechanical
strength and thermal properties of low-density wood composites and 2) investigate the feasibility of
replacing polyurethane binding agents with entirely renewable materials. The renewable binding
agents we intend to investigate are nanocellulose and SynerXiD-WCB, which have been successfully
used in other wood composites and can be derived from marginal wood and agricultural feedstocks.