US Department of Energy funds hemp insulation research

The U.S. Department of Energy has designated hemp-fiber insulation a “game-changing” technology worth investing in, sponsoring a hemp executive to develop the sector over the next two years.

Tommy Gibbons, COO of Ketchum, Idaho-based Hempitecture, will get a $90,000 annual stipend and up to $200,000 for research and development on hemp insulation through the Energy Department’s Innovation Crossroads program for startups.

Gibbons will work on the company’s HempWool product, which the Energy Department calls a “non-toxic, high-performing, carbon-negative insulation material with the ability to drastically reduce a building’s embodied carbon footprint while increasing the occupant’s health and comfort.”

“The Department of Energy is interested in the decarbonization potential of insulation and other building materials made from hemp fibers,” Gibbons told HempBuild Magazine, which first reported the award.

HempWool is also being studied at the University of Idaho, the magazine reported. That project is testing Hemp Wool’s insulation, fire resistance and thermal conductivity.