(CNN)Wood has been the building block of some of the world’s greatest architectural feats for thousands of years.
As architects and engineers look for more sustainable, green materials to build with — new research has brought the material back into the limelight, in an entirely unexpected way.
Over the past year, scientists at the University of Maryland, College Park have worked to develop a superior, transparent version of wood.
Currently, Hu’s team is seeking additional funding to expand their research, and predicts that transparent wood will be on the commercial market in a few years.
Since the research has gone public, Hu has already received numerous inquiries by firms looking to examine the technology for mass production.
“It’s exciting. And because the material has been used for a long time, there’s already a lot of know-how and manufacturing infrastructure in the wood industry, so this field will develop very quickly.”