The University of Maine has wowed everyone with the world’s first 100% bio-based house, made entirely with bio-based materials such as wood flour, or fine sawdust, mixed with a binder made from corn.
The house, accurately named BioHome3D, was developed with funding from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Hub and Spoke program between the UMaine and Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Its partners include MaineHousing and the Maine Technology Institute.
Designed to address labor shortages and supply chain issues that are driving high costs and constricting the supply of affordable housing, the home requires less time on-site building and fitting up due to the use of automated manufacturing and off-site production. It was manufactured by printing using abundant, renewable, locally sourced wood fiber feedstock that reduces dependence on a constrained supply chain. Printing was available on the world’s largest polymer 3D printer at the ASCC.
The bio-based 600 square foot single-family home has 100% additively manufactured- floors, walls, and roof- which differentiates this house from current commercial 3D-printed homes. It also has the distinction of the local wood fiber and bio-resin materials being developed by the Hub & Spoke partnership.
The BioHome3D is fully recyclable and highly insulated with a combination of wood fiber insulation and blown-in cellulose insulation.
Thanks to cellulose nanofiber production including drying, functionalization, compounding with thermoplastics, the innovative house designs demonstrates new bio-based PLA grade formulated for additive manufacturing
Governor Janet Mills of Maine states that the University of Maine and its prototype can help address these serious challenges. “With its innovative BioHome3D, UMaine’s Advanced Structures and Composites Center is thinking creatively about how we can tackle our housing shortage, strengthen our forest products industry, and deliver people a safe place to live so they can contribute to our economy,” says Mills. “While there is still more to be done, this development is a positive step forward.”