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US: Feds fund development of hemp-based, 3D-printed materials to build affordable housing

The Department of Energy (DOE) has awarded Texas A&M University $3.47 million to support a project to 3D print hemp-based building materials known colloquially as hempcrete, with a focus on creating affordable housing.

The plan is to utilize the crop in environmentally sustainable engineering projects using 3D printing technology. It’s one of the latest examples of the federal government embracing the potential of the form of the cannabis plant that was legalized under the 2018 Farm Bill.

Funding is being made available through DOE’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) Harnessing Emissions into Structures Taking Inputs from the Atmosphere (HESTIA) program.

As noted in a press release from A&M’s engineering department, hempcrete is made from a mix of hemp powder, fibers, lime, and water. It’s considered to be a durable but lightweight alternative to traditional building materials.

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