Southern Manufacturing

Alberta Hemp Provides Opportunity for Business and Consumers

27 November 2007

A new $2.25 million project is looking at ways to use Alberta-grown hemp fibres and Alberta manufactured polymers to produce a biocomposite that is far more sustainable compared to conventional materials.

“Products made from biocomposites include car parts, building materials and other consumer goods,” says Dr. John Wolodko, program leader at ARC. “Those types of products work as well as those made from conventional materials and they can have the added advantages of being lighter and less expensive. The ability of environmentally friendly biocomposites to compete with non-renewable products like fiberglass makes for a promising future for the industry.”

Biocomposites are popular in Europe but the industry does not exist in Alberta. “We have the opportunity to take what they’ve learned in Europe, adapt the technology for Alberta and provide the foundation for a new industry,” says Wolodko.

“This is another example of how the Alberta government is committed to growing Alberta’s bioeconomy,” says Doug Horner, Minister of Advanced Education and Technology. “This project has the potential to provide new opportunities for economic growth, particularly in rural Alberta”

ARC’s biofibres development team is the largest of its kind in Canada, offering solutions from “first seed to final product.” ARC’s capabilities in producing, processing and creating advanced biocomposites from industrial hemp, flax, cereal crop and wood fibres are positioning the province to assume a lead role developing bio-industries in Canada and around the world.

This project is financially supported by Alberta Advanced Education and Technology’s Unleashing Innovation Program, and Alberta Agriculture and Food. Industry partners include Naturally Advanced Technologies and AT Plastics.

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