AgCenter receives spray foam insulation grant

Johnny Morgan  |  4/28/2015 12:47:16 AM

Examples of wood-based foam samples produced by the LSU AgCenter during preliminary research. Photo by Todd Shupe

News Release Distributed 04/27/15

BATON ROUGE, La. – The LSU AgCenter has received a $250,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Innovative Uses of Wood program.

The grant will fund a project on bio-based spray foam insulation from wood residues, and will be led by LSU AgCenter forest products researchers Todd Shupe and Niels de Hoop from the AgCenter 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,” Shupe said. “Consumers are demanding green products for their houses, but insulation is one product that is currently not very green.”

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, Shupe said.

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 zero to 30 percent biomass, typically an agricultural byproduct – such as bagasse from sugarcane,” Shupe said.

There is an economic and environmental opportunity to increase the percentage of biomass to 50 percent and reduce the amount of isocyanate in the feedstock to 50 percent, Shupe said.

“The project is being conducted 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.”

For more information on the project, contact Shupe at 225-578-6432 or tshupe@agcenter.lsu.edu.

Johnny Morgan

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