The LSU Agricultural Center announced today that they have received a $250,000 grant from the USDA Innovative Uses of Wood program.  The grant is entitled “Development of Bio-Based Spray Foam Insulation from Wood Residues” and will be led by Todd Shupe and Niels deHoop from the School of Renewable Natural Resources.  The main goal of the project is to determine the potential of low-value wood fiber as a raw material for the development of a green spray foam insulation.  “Consumers are demanding green products for their houses but insulation is one product that is currently not very green,” said Shupe.  This project will allow the team to determine the potential of small diameter timber and low value fiber as a feedstock for spray foam insulation.  This material currently has little to no value but poses a significant risk for wildfires.    In addition to substantial energy cost savings, wood-based spray-foam has much better biodegradability compared to petroleum-based foam insulation, which will benefit the environment when this material is landfilled.  Current spray foams contain 0-30% biomass, typically an agricultural by-product (i.e., bagasse from sugarcane).   There is an economic and environmental opportunity to increase the percentage of biomass to 50% and reduce the amount of isocyanate in the feedstock to 50%.   The project is being done as a collaborative effort with the spray foam industry.  Shupe said we would like to increase the percentage of biomass in spray foam and we want that biomass to be from forest fuel reduction programs.

Caption for picture enclosed — “Examples of wood-based foam samples that the LSU Agricultural Center team has produced during preliminary research.”  

For more information contact Dr. Todd Shupe at (225)578-6432 or tshupe@lsu.edu