Growing your home – Sustainability at its best!

Sustainable allrounder with features of high-performance fibres

Flax and hemp are two important renewable resources that are used as components in bio based construction materials. Recently the Institut für Textiltechnik (ITA) of RWTH Aachen University hosted the European project consortia “Grow2Build” which wants to improve the natural building materials and bring it back to market.

Sustainable allrounder with features of high-performance fibres

Why are bio-based fibres like Hemp and Flax so much demanded? They are sustainable – they grow and disintegrate themselves naturally. Beyond that, they have the same feature of high-performance fibres’ like glass fibre. Glass fibres are used to construct car seats. ITA showed in a project that one could have used hemp fibres likewise – they possess the same mechanical features and in addition biological producible and degradable.

ITA transferred its knowledge from the automotive area

ITA has developed a very string competence in the field of sustainable materials over the past few years. This competence has however been concentrated only at the automotive sector until now. The transfer of this knowledge is possible because ITA has worked on a number of innovative Building Materials in the past. Some examples include textile reinforced concrete and light emitting concrete.


Further approach

The European project “Grow2Build” wants to bring all parties involved in the flax and hemp chain, i.e. agriculture, primary processors, industry, construction sector, and end consumers into contact with each other. By exchanging information and bringing parties together, Grow2Build endeavours to help improve these building materials and to put them (back) on the market.

During the meeting the latest research work was presented and discussed and the base was laid for the next policy meeting planned for the 27.02.2015 in Brussels with member of the European Commission. Then a plan will be presented.

“Grow your own house”, summarizes Thijmen Huiskamp, Wageningen UR, Netherland



The “Grow2Build” Project is an Interreg IV B funded project and covers the entire value chain of sustainable raw materials.

European Territorial Cooperation – better known as INTERREG – is part of the EU’s structural and investment policy. With INTERREG, the EU supports cross-border infrastructure, job market integration and cultural exchange (so-called INTERREG A). INTERREG also covers transnational cooperation in larger areas such as the Baltic Sea Region or the Alpine Space aiming at territorial integration of these areas (INTERREG B). From 2014 to 2020, the EU provides 1.39 billion euros for this type of cooperation.

Germany participates in six transnational programme areas: Alpine Space, Danube Region, Central Europe, North Sea Region, North West Europe and Baltic Sea Region. Each of these areas faces specific challenges that do not stop at administrative borders and require coordinated actions. These are being implemented through hundreds of joint projects.

The Federal Institute for Research on Building, Urban Affairs and Spatial Development (BBSR) supports transnational cooperation in the six programmes with German participation. This includes communication and knowledge transfer among German stakeholders. The BBSR also represents the Federal administration in the programme steering committees and – on behalf of the Federal Ministry for Transport and Digital Infrastructure – runs a national funding programme “Transnational Cooperation” (source:


About the Institut for Textiltechnik (ITA) of RWTH Aachen University

The Institut für Textiltechnik (ITA) belongs to the top 5 institutes of RWTH Aachen University. Its core expertise consists of textile related production technologies and high performance materials. With the inauguration of the Center of High Performance Materials in December 2012 ITA offers small and medium industry direct access to scientific research especially in the fields of high modulus fibers and composites.

ITA provides research and development services and advanced training and creative workshops in cooperation with its partner company 3T TextilTechnologieTransfer GmbH.

Furthermore, ITA graduates students in various textile related courses.


Institut für Textiltechnik (ITA), press release, 2014-09-24.


3T Textil Technologie Transfer GmbH
BBSRC Sustainable Bioenergy Centre
European Commission
European Union
Rheinisch-Westfälische Technische Hochschule Aachen (RWTH)
Wageningen University