Modular Design and Additive Manufacturing of Interlocking Superinsulation Panel from Bio-based Feedstock for Autonomous Construction

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Buffalo, New York
Project Term:
10/28/2022 - 10/27/2024

Critical Need:

HESTIA addresses the need for implementing carbon removal strategies by converting buildings into carbon storage structures. HESTIA is also important for nullifying embodied emissions. The majority of these emissions are concentrated at the start of a building’s lifetime and locked in before the building is ever used. This upfront emissions spike equals 10 years of operational emissions in a building constructed to meet standard code, but increases to 35 years for more advanced, higher operating efficiency buildings, and more than 50 years for high-efficiency buildings operating on a lower carbon intensity grid. These time horizons go beyond 2050 climate targets, which means embodied emission reduction strategies are a high priority.

Project Innovation + Advantages:

The University of Buffalo will design modular interlocking multifunctional superinsulation panels that can be roll-to-roll manufactured and readily assembled by robotic automation. The rapid-prototyping hydrophobic panels, which consist of recyclable biogenic materials (cellulose, straw, etc.) and superinsulating silica aerogel, will provide high thermal insulation, structural durability, moisture and fire resistance, soundproofing, and easy installation at a low cost. The panels will meet embodied and operational carbon-negative emission requirements and provide recycling/repurposing capabilities. Compared with drywall or multilayer structural insulated panels, the proposed panels also provide a pathway for autonomous construction to further reduce emissions.

Potential Impact:

HESTIA projects will facilitate the use of carbon storing materials in building construction to achieve net carbon negativity by optimizing material chemistries and matrices, manufacturing, and whole-building designs in a cost-effective manner.


HESTIA technologies will reduce the carbon footprint of the built environment.


Building materials and designs developed under HESTIA will draw down and store CO2 from the atmosphere.


A variety of promising carbon storing materials are being explored and commercialized for building construction. Currently these materials are generally scarcer, cost more per unit, and/or face performance challenges (e.g., flame resistance for biogenic carbon-containing materials). HESTIA seeks technologies that overcome these barriers while nullifying associated emissions and increasing the total amount of carbon stored in the finished product.


ARPA-E Program Director:
Dr. Marina Sofos
Project Contact:
Prof. Shenqiang Ren
Press and General Inquiries Email:
Project Contact Email:


Oak Ridge National Laboratory
CleanFiber, LLC

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