The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is entering the hemp space by investing in Hempitecture, a public benefit corporation that wants to expand its research and development of eco-friendly, HempWool insulation. The DOE’s is awarding the innovative company and its COO, Tommy Gibbons, a $90,000 per year stipend plus up to $200,000 in additional research funds.
While all of Hempitecture’s endeavors are enticing, it was their HempWool insulation blend that drew in the DOE. One of President Joe Biden’s campaign promises was that he would reduce carbon emissions and invest in clean energy solutions, which is now on the path to being fulfilled by this DOE investment into Hempitecture’s hemp-wool insulation research. “The Department of Energy is interested in the decarbonization potential of insulation and other building materials made from hemp fibers,” Gibbons told HempBuildMag.
But it’s actually a specific program supported by the DOE’s Advanced Manufacturing Office called Innovation Crossroads that selected Hempitecture and Gibbons for this award. According to their website, Innovation Crossroads “positions entrepreneurial researcher fellows to address fundamental energy and manufacturing challenges identified by industry.” Because Hempitecture’s proprietary HempWool insulation is non-toxic, has strong thermal resistance, imparts a low carbon footprint, and is an ideal green alternative to traditional insulation, Gibbons and the rest of his team’s continued work is right up Innovation Crossroads alley.
According to Gibbons’ profile on Innovation Crossroads’ website concerning this award, “In 2021, Hempitecture plans to conduct research and testing on new, proprietary blends of its insulation material to improve its insulation value and fire resistance. Hempitecture also plans to onshore insulation manufacturing using industrial hemp waste from American farmers.” Marijuana and hemp waste is a major contributor to the cannabis industry’s carbon impact (among other factors that greatly contribute to the problem). Over the past year, we’ve seen states begin to implement improvement programs for how to handle all of the trimmings from cultivation operations. Hempitecture’s focus on working with American hemp farmers to redirect their hemp waste from landfills into green, low carbon footprint insulation alternatives and other hemp-based products is right in line with the movement to turn things around in the wasteful realm of cannabis farming.