By Susan Mcguire, The Gazette
Photograph by William Eaves, Jr.
Hemp breakfast cereal, hemp clothing, hemp hand cream - all available in perfectly respectable stores. Is this the same hemp that is illegal to grow in Canada? No, not at all.
These products come from what is called industrial hemp (Cannabis sativa L), a distant cousin of the marijuana plant. Both are part of a diverse plant species of more than 500 varieties that includes the hops used to make beer.
Farmers have been cultivating industrial hemp for 10,000 years, starting in Mesopotamia (Iraq) and in China's Yellow River Valley. For centuries, people used hemp fibre to make clothes, rope, sails and paper; they stewed, roasted and milled the grain for food; and used the oil for cosmetics, lighting, paints and varnishes.
In the 1660s and 1670s, Jean Talon encouraged the farmers of New France to grow hemp by giving them free seed, which they had to plant immediately and replace with seed from their next year's crop. So important was hemp that he confiscated all the thread in the colony and gave it back only in return for hemp. Women needed thread, and he knew that would put pressure on their husbands to grow the crop. However, production collapsed when Talon went back to France.
It hasn't gotten the attention of medical marijuana, but a growing number of states have passed laws authorizing the growth of hemp and are attempting to get the federal government to make it legal nationwide.
By Tim Johnson and Adam Silverman, USA TODAY
Hemp can be cultivated for fiber or oilseed, and it is used to make thousands of products worldwide, including clothing and auto parts. From 1999 through last year, 17 states have enacted measures that would either permit controlled cultivation or authorize research of industrial hemp, according to the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML).
Colorado was the most recent to authorize research in 2010. Maine, Montana, North Dakota, Oregon, Vermont and West Virginia have passed laws authorizing cultivation, according to NORML.
Hemp and marijuana are different varieties of the same species of plant, Cannabis Sativa. Industrial hemp has lower THC content, the primary psychoactive component of marijuana.
The federal government classifies all cannabis plants as marijuana and places strict controls on the cultivation of hemp. Industrial hemp was an American staple in colonial times. The output peaked during World War II.
Naturally Advanced Technologies Inc. develops renewable and environmentally sustainable biomass resources from flax, hemp and other bast fibers.
By Michael Bachara, Hemp News Correspondent
Naturally Advanced Technologies Inc. (NAT) announced that it has entered into a short-term Crailar Flax fiber development agreement with Carhartt to support evaluation of processing Crailar Flax fiber in premium grade work wear.
Established in 1889 and based in Dearborn, Michigan, Carhartt is a global work wear brand with a heritage of developing rugged apparel for workers on and off the job.
"Carhartt aligns perfectly with our current portfolio and we are excited to add them to our growing mix of partner brands," said Ken Barker, CEO of Naturally Advanced Technologies.
"Our testing to-date has demonstrated significant qualities that will be beneficial to the work wear market, including increased tensile strength, reduced shrinkage and high dye uptake that can reduce chemical usage," Barker continued.
"Perhaps most important is Crailar's ability to wick moisture, which provides Carhartt with a performance advantage by ensuring consumers stay cooler in hot summer months. We look forward to demonstrating this during our development period with Carhartt," explained Barker
Canada is investing in innovation that will help develop new bio-composites derived from hemp fibers.
By Michael Bachara, Hemp News Correspondent
SASKATCHEWAN - Members of Parliament have pledged funding for the Composites Innovation Centre (CIC) to study hemp fibers with the goal of making composites that perform better than fiberglass and plastic.
"Finding new and innovative uses for our flax and hemp will greatly benefit farmers and the economy in Western Canada," said MP Bruinooge. "This investment will enable farmers to adapt their growth and harvesting regimes to optimize fibre performance, increasing the demand for their crops and resulting in increased profitability."
The investment through the Canadian Agricultural Adaptation Program (CAAP) is designed to study the sub-molecular structure of hemp fibers.
"This exciting collaboration between the CIC and our world-class Canadian synchrotron facility will provide our local and national biomass industries with a key competitive edge in a growing international marketplace," says CIC Manager of Product Innovation Simon Potter. "The information we generate with the Canadian Light Source will support the high penetration of agricultural fibers into building materials and composites for automotive and aerospace products."
By Chris Reiter, Bloomberg
Bayerische Motoren Werke AG (BMW) will give a new electric-powered city car a lounge feel with bench seats, naturally tanned “mocha brown” leather and hemp fibers in the floor covering to hold off Volkswagen AG (VOW)’s Audi.
BMW for the first time showed concept versions of the i3 electric city car and the i8 hybrid supercar, which Chief Executive Officer Norbert Reithofer said will cost more than 100,000 euros ($143,000), in Frankfurt today. The models, developed from scratch, will anchor BMW’s new “i” sub-brand.
“The majority of current electric vehicles are so-called conversions of traditional vehicles but conversions are always compromises,” development chief Klaus Draeger said. “We wanted to bring e-mobility to the streets without compromise.”
BMW is betting that the 530 million euros investment to set up production of the vehicles will pay off in the race with Audi, which overtook Daimler AG (DAI)’s Mercedes-Benz this year and has vowed to topple the Munich-based carmaker as the luxury-car leader by 2015. Initial volumes for the models could be in the “tens of thousands,” with the potential to grow rapidly depending on market and regulatory developments, sales chief Ian Robertson told Bloomberg TV.
By Silvia Pikal, Mobile Mag
While hemp can be used for food, textiles, paper, fabric, and fuel oil, the misunderstood crop breeds fear amongst politicians in the United States and has led to the crop being illegal to grow without a DEA permit, which is pretty hard to get. But growing hemp is legal in Canada. Canadian company Motive Industries has taken advantage of this, and have been working on an electric car made of hemp plastic. Touted as Canada’s first bio composite electric car, the Motive Kestrel’s top speed is 135 km/h, with a range of 160 km. The ultralight car is a 3 door 4 passenger electric vehicle, and packs 16 kWh of lithium battery juice to keep the car going 160 kilometers per charge.
Now Motive has announced that bio composite materials derived from hemp and flax fibre will also be used in the car’s interior. They will be used to create the headliner, door panels, door trim, floor tub and center tunnel, instrument panel and the center console panel. The prototype should be coming out sometime this year, with a production goal of 2012.
By Paul Stanford, Hemp News Director
Hemp seeds produce more oil and protein than any other plant per land area cultivated. Hemp protein and oil are rich in the essential fatty acids (EFAs) that our brain and cardiovascular system need, Omega 3 & 6, in the perfect ratio for optimal human health. Hemp protein has all 8 amino acids, again, in just the right balance to meet humans' nutritional needs.
Per acre, according to a study published in the Notre Dame University journal, The American Midland Naturalist, wild hemp here in the USA produces 8,500 pounds of seed per acre. The study is called: An Ecological Study of Naturalized Hemp (Cannabis sativa L.) in East-Central Illinois, by Alan Haney and Benjamin B. Kutscheid at the University of Indiana at Urbana, Department of Biology.
By Gabrielle Giroday, Winnepeg Free Press
Bet you never thought a bus part might be made with hemp, canola and flax.
But Helena Marak, Manitoba Rural Adaptation Council program coordinator, sees possibilities for the products you might be more used to encountering on the shelves of your local health-food store.
Marak stood Saturday morning with a brown University of Manitoba prototype at the Agriculture in the City event at The Forks.
"People have really found this interesting. They marvel at the strength of it. It's really, really strong, it's durable and, of course, it's made with natural fibres that are grown right here in Manitoba, so that's a big bonus," said Marak.
She said hemp fibres left over from making food products can be used for other purposes, like products for the transportation or aerospace industry such as car door panels.
The three-day event is dedicated to educating the public about farmers, agriculture science and research, and uses for Manitoba crops beyond the table.
Event organizer Reg Sims said it started in 2003 and is expected to draw thousands of people.
"At one time, everybody in the city had an uncle or a grandparent that lived on a farm. They'd go to the farm, they knew their milk came from cows, their hamburgers came from cows," said Sims. He said he believes farmers are "the greatest stewards of our land."
"Agriculture is a lot more than food," he said.
Oregon Hemp History, Connecting the Past to the Future
By Michael Bachara, Hemp News Correspondent
In the early 1990's, C & S Specialty Builder's Supply (namely Bill Conde, Dave Seber, Barry Davis, and Tim Pate) in Harrisburg, Oregon, imported regulated bales of hemp and began working on a medium density fiberboard (MDF). The evolution of hemp MDF as a viable building supply option began when Bill Conde of C & S took their hemp fiber research and ideas to Paul Maulberg, the head of Washington State University's Wood Engineering Laboratory.
Conde explains in a 2005 Mycotopia blog, "We asked if [Maulberg] would consider trying some hemp fiber to make some experimental hemp MDF, and his reply was, 'You bet, hemp is the King Cong of fiber. I would love a chance to work with some."
Excitedly, Conde and team began the process working with Maulberg on creation and testing of the hemp MDF. It was soon discovered how strong the hemp fiber truly was, as the full-length hemp fibers jammed both of the processing machines and brought things to a standstill. The process for breaking down the fibers was redesigned and restarted with ultimate success.
By Christina Williams, Sustainable Business Oregon
Naturally Advanced Inc. announced Wednesday that Hanesbrands Inc. will buy as much as $375,000 worth of the natural-fiber company's new Crailar Flax material for testing in its products.
Both companies recently finished trials of Naturally Advanced's new Crailar Flax product, which is being developed by the company to follow its Crailar Hemp offering, which was purchased by Hanes earlier this year.
Naturally Advanced is led by Portland-based CEO Ken Barker, a former Adidas executive. Barker said in a press release, "We believe this next step is a significant validation of our technology and we look forward to bringing Crailar Flax fiber to consumers in 2011."
Naturally Advanced had been focusing its business on a hemp-based fiber, with operations based in Vancouver, Canada, where laws don't restrict the use of hemp. In the last year, the company has focused on proving its technology with flax fiber, which is more readily available in the U.S., said Naturally Advanced spokeswoman Erin Brunner.
The company also has a processing facility in South Carolina.
Brunner said that flax is a winter crop in South Carolina that rotates well with cotton, soybeans and tobacco, allowing farmers there to double-crop their land and increase their income.
Naturally Advanced, which is traded over the counter under the symbol NADVF, raised $1.4 million in a private placement in May.
By USA Today Staff
Now if your car breaks down and you're stuck by the side of the road, you can try to break off a piece and smoke it.
Well, not really. But the thought -- and the jokes -- are sure to arise over the hemp-fiber car that a group of Canadian companies will try to make, the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. reports.
The companies are collaborating on a car called the Kestrel that will have a body made of resin-impregnated industrial hemp, a tough fiber that comes from the cannabis family member that also results in marijuana. Unlike marijuana, hemp has a very low content of THC, the chemical that makes dope smokers high. Even so, it's illegal to grow in the U.S., so the Canadians think they might have an edge.
It's not a completely new idea. That Lotus Eco Elise from 2008, shown above, also has a hemp body.
The compact electric Kestrel will be prototyped and tested later by Calgary-based Motive Industries.
The CBC says Henry Ford first built a car made of hemp fiber and resin more than half a century ago.
By Nikki Gordon-Bloomfield, Fox News
As we're faced with an increasingly large world population and ever-dwindling resources the race is on to produce cars that not only produce zero tailpipe emissions, but ones that are green to manufacture too.
But what is the ultimate material for cars? Steel is strong, but hardly light enough to make ultra-efficient vehicles. Many plastics are based on oil, and composite materials like carbon fibre are difficult and costly to manufacture and repair.
Enter the Kestrel. Designed and engineered by Motive Industries, a Canadian firm based in Alberta, the fully electric car features a body shell made of hemp--which may be better known as Cannabis Sativa L.
The hemp for the Kestrel's body is grown by Alberta Innovates Technology Futures (AITF) under license from the Canadian government.
Unlike the cannabis Californians may find available at their local medical marijuana dispensaries, hemp grown by AITF ends up on a production line, where it is turned into a composite material that has the impact resistance of fiberglass.
But unlike fiberglass, the hemp bio-composite is cheaper to produce and has fewer health risks connected with its manufacture. It is also significantly lighter than glass-based composites traditionally used in racing cars.
By David Vink
Ford Forschungszentrum says it is close to using polypropylene reinforced with 30% sisal fibres for injection moulding.
Ford's Maira Magnani was speaking at Kassel University's 8th Global WPC and Natural Fibre Composites congress and exhibition last month, held for the first time in Stuttgart-Fellbach.
The 30% sisal fibre reinforced parts have already passed FMC crash and head impact test requirements. A centre console made using the material weighs 20% less than talc filled PP. Other advantages include a 20% lower melt temperature and a 10% faster cycle time.
However, further work is needed on the sisal material, Magnani advised, as there are issues to be solved in terms of odour, colour matching with parts made with non-natural fibres, mould flow input data, crash simulation and natural fibre simulation modules.
The sisal reinforced PP was developed by Ford Motor Company (FMC) which has over the last few years developed natural fibre reinforced composites for injection moulding, for example the 50% kenaf fibre reinforced PP used in Ford Mondeo, Focus and Fiesta door panels.
Ford is also looking at using 30% hemp fibre reinforced PP made in the USA and Brazil in electrical/electronic housings and engine compartment applications. Material and component tests also indicated that this type of material is also “close to implementation”, says Ford.
UNCC researchers create a formula for recycling old bottles into new building materials
By Amber Veverka, Special Correspondent, Charlotte Observer
A UNC Charlotte researcher with a passion for sustainability is creating a new building material out of recycled plastic bottles and an ancient grass.
Dr. Na Lu, an assistant professor at UNCC's Department of Engineering Technology, has created a material she believes may outperform composite lumber and wood lumber in many uses, and which has potential to be used in the residential and light commercial building industry.
In her lab at UNCC, Luna, as she prefers to be called, holds a dog bone-shaped sample of her creation: a beige plastic woven with threads of what looks like horsehair. "Hemp," Luna says, and points to a fluffy pile of the fibers on the table.
Unlike much present-day composite lumber, Luna's product substitutes hemp fibers for more typical chipped wood often mixed with virgin plastic. And unlike pressure-treated wood, the hemp material contains no toxic heavy metals.
Wood fiber is structured like a bundle of straws, she said, but hemp's crystalline structure gives it greater mechanical strength. She demonstrates by holding out a handful of hemp fibers to pull.
"This (hemp composite) material performs up to 4,000 to 6,000 psi (pounds per square inch)," Luna said. "That's as strong as medium-strength concrete."
40,000 Square Foot Facility Utilized As Pilot Scale Facility For Crailar Decortication Process
By Michael Bachara, Hemp News Staff
The hemp industry in the United States has taken a step forward in the Carolina's as Naturally Advanced Technologies, Inc (NAT) has announced that it has signed a ten month sublease of a facility at 164 County Camp Road, Kingstree, SC, 29556.
NAT has always committed to unlocking the potential of renewable and environmentally sustainable biomass resources from hemp and other bast fibers and this decision to locate closer to the HanesBrand headquarters is no exception to their track record. The move will create a presence as the demand for organic fibers increases worldwide. NAT's positive studies at North Carolina State University with their 80% Cotton/20% Hemp blend show great promise to the development of organic fibers worldwide. (See Video)