Professor Patents Bio-Panel System
Paper, weeds, industrial hemp and discarded forest products are among the waste materials a University of Colorado architecture professor and former graduate student are using to produce building products.
Julee Herdt, Professor of Architecture at the University of Colorado Denver, and Kellen Schauermann were recently awarded a U.S. patent for their BioSIPs construction system, according to a Sept. 14 statement from the university.
The pair is working to commercialize the invention, the university noted.
Called BioSIPs (Bio-Structural Insulated Panels), the materials can be used to build walls, roofs and floors.
The technology could replace petroleum-based building products known to harm humans and the environment, the university said.
“The BioSIPs invention actually consumes society’s waste and diverts tons of trash into valuable products for safe, strong, and energy efficient buildings,” Herdt said in the statement.
“There is great beauty and value in waste materials. It just takes the right processes and methods to find it, and with BioSIPs we’ve invented and now patented these techniques.”
The university said that the invention is based on Herdt’s research and teaching program and with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Products Laboratory. Herdt said she has tested the materials in her own home and is currently designing a “very small home” in Boulder, CO, using BioSIPs materials.
Herdt said she has tested the materials in her own home and is currently designing a “very small home” (not shown) in Boulder, CO, using BioSIPs materials.
Schauermann began working with Herdt in 2007. Together, they have formed BioSIPs Inc., which is a commercial spin-off from the university. Other CU Denver students also have worked with the pair on the construction of a BioSIPs building, the university said.
According to the university, that building also includes bio-based furniture; sliding wall and ceiling panels; and signage.
Herdt and Schauermann have an additional patent pending with John Hunt of the USDA Forest Products Lab for software applications that would allow the creation of multi-shaped versions of BioSIPs panels, the university said. Those panels would have the ability to curve and bend.
Schauermann began working with Herdt in 2007. Other CU Denver students also have worked with the pair on the construction of a BioSIPs building.
The second patent also would include methods for enhancing grades of waste fibers in their bio-based boards while generating information about strengths and economics for manufacturing their products, the university said.
Meanwhile, the university said Herdt continues to work with the University of Colorado Technology Transfer Office on bio-based building product intellectual property while she and Schauermann work on commercializing BioSIPs.