Re-thinking HEMP

09john_wolodko

Dr. John Wolodko

Hemp was an important industrial material before World War II, but then it was supplanted by the development of petroleum-based products.
Sixty years later, hemp is making a comeback as an environment friendly biofibre.
The Alberta Research Council has developed a new technology to separate the very long fibres of the hemp plant from its inner core. And according to Dr. John Wolodko, a program leader in the Advanced Materials Group, when these fibres are chopped and formed into a mat, they make a very good substitute for energy intensive glass fibres used to make fiberglass.
One potential application for this hemp fiberglass is in the production of molded automotive parts.
Wolodko says, We’ve been working with a company out of Calgary called Motive Industries who are developing prototype cars for electric vehicles, for example. The big advantage with the hemp material is that is very light weight compared to fiberglass. So it offers an incredible value in terms of energy savings, as well as reducing the weight of the vehicle, which is of paramount importance for increasing that kind of driving distance for electric vehicles. So it’s a very good fit. “
Wolodko’s group at ARC is also working with a boat manufacturer in the Okanogan to produce hemp fiberglass parts for boats. √

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