A plan from Texas A&M University researchers to 3D print new resilient buildings using hempcrete has received a $3.74 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).
Dr. Petros Sideris, assistant professor in the Zachry Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, will lead the project as principal investigator to develop residential and potential commercial construction designs. His team consists of assistant professor Dr. Maria Koliou, department head and professor Dr. Zachary Grasley, and professor Dr. Anand Puppala from the department, along with associate professor Dr. Manish Dixit and professor Dr. Wei Yan from the Texas A&M College of Architecture.
Hempcrete is made by mixing hemp powder, fibers, or shives with lime and water, creating a lightweight, green building material.
“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,” says Sideris.
As part of the project, building designs will be printable and created to achieve structural and energy performance which will comply with modern design codes. Sideris says digital designs of printable hempcrete buildings will facilitate adoption by the construction industry.
The funding for the project is part of DOE’s Harnessing Emissions into Structures Taking Inputs from the Atmosphere (HESTIA) program, which prioritizes overcoming barriers associated with carbon-storing buildings—including scarce, expensive, and geographically limited building materials. The program aims to increase the total amount of carbon stored in buildings to create carbon sinks, which absorb more carbon from the atmosphere than released during construction.