North Carolina Firm Developing Alternative to Traditional OSB and Plywood Using Grass

In a January 26, 2023, issue of Dezeen Magazine, a North Carolina firm was featured that has developed an alternative product to replace traditional OSB and plywood-like materials. The company, called Plantd Materials, was co-founded by Josh Dorfman and former SpaceX engineers Huade Tan and Nathan Silvernail. The trio believes that the material has the potential to “solve some real problems for builders” in the residential market.

The product is called Plantd, and it is a “blend of fast-growing perennial grasses” that the company aims to produce as replacement for traditional OSB and plywood-like materials used for sheathing wall and floors in residential houses. To that end, Plantd Materials has created a set of machinery that uses heat and pressure to press shredded grass into panels. It allows for the creation of standard 4 x 8 panels that use more than 50 pounds of grass per sheet.

According to company, one major impact will be in land usage. Plantd Materials uses perennial grass which grow much faster than timber. Dorfman said that manufactures need 140,000 to 150,00 acres of managed timberland to feed a medium-size OSB mill per year, while mills that use perennial grass will be able to function with 15,000 to 20,000 acres. Dorfman added that “it creates an opportunity to capture more carbon using less land, and because it regrows on the same land year after year, to be able to do it much faster.”

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