Development of hemp-lime stone based on hemp grown in Switzerland

Hemp-lime stone for building applications will be developed based on hemp grown in Switzerland. The project provides valuable economic and ecological insights and harmonizes them with regional and national sustainability goals.


  • Lead school School of Architecture, Wood and Civil Engineering
  • Institute Agriculture
    Institute for Building Materials and Biobased Products IBBM
  • Research unit Materials and Life Cycle Assessment group FGWO
  • Strategic thematic field Thematic field "Sustainable Development"
  • Funding organisation BFH
  • Duration (planned) 01.10.2023 - 31.03.2024
  • Project management Prof. Dr. Heiko Thömen
  • Head of project Dr. Ali Shalbafan
  • Project staff Dominik Füglistaller
    Rina Rohrbach
    Katerina Valová
  • Partner Genossenschaft Glärnisch Textil
  • Keywords Hempcrete, Swiss hemp, hemp Hurd, building, sustainable


Hemp-lime stone is a bio-composite building material consisting of hemp hurd as lignocellulosic by-product and a mineral binder. Known for its exceptional sustainability, it offers superior insulation, moisture regulation, and long-term durability. Swiss hemp-lime stone producers rely on imported hemp hurd, while Swiss farmers suffer from a considerable amount of unused by-product. About 40% of hemp production is considered as underutilized hurd. The project is therefore exploring how these underutilized resources can be used as a viable and eco-friendly alternative for hemp-lime stone production. Therefore, legal hemp varieties grown in Switzerland are being studied to understand their mechanical properties and impact on the properties of hemp-lime stone.

Course of action

The use of local hemp hurd is mainly hindered by the lack of systematic information on the properties of hurd and the further processing for hemp-lime stone production. By combining agricultural and material science knowledge, the team can gain a comprehensive understanding of how farming practices affect material quality. This integration enables accurate assessment and analysis of material properties in relation to the influence of agricultural processes. Material characterization and the establishment of a decortication facility would enable the utilization of all parts of the hemp in industries, promoting circular economy principles. Furthermore, the initiative could stimulate the growth of a new sector focused on sustainable hemp processing, attracting investors and companies to become processing partners. All this by offering an applied solution to use neglected material as well as increasing the potential for local production and further promoting Swiss hemp farmers. Quantitative and qualitative methods are used to gain insight or contextual information about both hemp hurd and developed hemp-lime stone.

Aus einem Abfallprodukt wird ein nachhaltiger Baustoff
Aus einem Abfallprodukt wird ein nachhaltiger Baustoff.

This project contributes to the following SDGs

  • 9: Industry, innovation and infrastructure
  • 11: Sustainable cities and communities
  • 12: Responsible consumption and production
  • 13: Climate action