Defra - Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

Science Search

Science and Research Projects

Return to Science Search homepage   Return to Project List

Supply Chain Development of Environmental Wool Fibre Boards for the Building Industry - NF0603

Main Objective
Recent investigations by DEFRA (NFUC draft report 2003) have identified a need to make better use of UK sheep's wool. Demand for natural fibre insulation board products in the building industry has significantly increased in recent years. The formation of renewable fibre board products constructed from UK grown wool and natural binders has been identified as a technically feasible approach and such boards have the potential to markedly increase product functionality in terms of thermal efficiency and vapour breathability as compared to existing boards composed of non-renewable materials. To enable the exploitation of such wool fibreboard products it is essential to develop a suitable manufacturing supply chain and to engineer the structure and properties to meet the specific environmental sustainability and technical performance requirements of board products used in the building industry. Second Nature UK Ltd have undertaken preliminary feasibility studies to show that sheep's wool can be used as a base material for such a thermal/acoustic insulation board. These studies have established that a board can be made using various natural binders. The main objective of this project is to establish a supply chain that will enable the manufacture, distribution and installation of the board. This will be achieved by optimising the wool/binder matrix for thermal and acoustic resistance and mechanical strength. Tests will be carried out to ensure resistance to fire, degradation and vermin attack. The work will be conducted in consultation with supply chain stakeholders.

Policy Relevance
The development of new insulation boards with renewable materials from agriculture provide a viable alternative current materials from non-renewable sources will reduce the reliance on non-renewable materials and provide alternative uses for agricultural production. Technology uptake and the development of a functional supply chain are recognised by Defra as limiting factors for the use of the renewable materials from agriculture. This project will address both, by focusing on the establishment of the supply chain and disseminating the results to promote technology uptake.

Intended Use of Results
The major output from this project will be in the form of a pre-production prototype insulation board that will satisfy the market needs and meet the regulatory controls of the UK Building Industry. Definitive information on the properties of both the board and its constituent materials will be published together with the probable impact that commercial exploitation of the product will have on sustaining economic development in the countryside.
1. To assess the viability of a manufacturing supply chain for environmental wool fibre boards for use by the building industry.

2. To establish quantitative specifications for the new wool fibre boards to allow benchmarking with existing non-sustainable building materials used by the building industry.

3. To develop wool fibre board construction and composition to maximise the technical and environmental sustainability requirements of, and benefits to, the building industry.

4. To conduct a full life analysis including packaging and transport considerations for wool fibreboard products and existing insulation boards currently used by the building industry.
Project Documents
• Final Report : Supply Chain Development of Environmental Wool Fibre Boards for the Building Industry   (1912k)
• Final Report - Annex : Supply Chain Development of Environmental Wool Fibre Boards for the Building Industry   (4220k)
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2004

To: 2006

Cost: £146,212
Contractor / Funded Organisations
Second Nature UK Ltd
Arable Farming              
Fields of Study
Non-Food Crops