A single-story building made from hemp-lime has been built at Bath University to test its potential as a building material.
By Elizabeth Hopkirk, bdonline.co.uk
Researchers at the University of Bath believe hemp could be used to build environmentally friendly homes in the future so they constructed the “HemPod” to test the theory.
It has highly insulated walls made from the chopped woody core – shiv – of the industrial hemp plant mixed with a specially developed lime-based binder.
Dr Mike Lawrence, research officer from the university’s Department of Architecture & Civil Engineering, said: “While there are already some houses in the UK built using hemp and lime, the HemPod will be the first hemp-lime building to be constructed purely for scientific testing.”
Photo Source: Nic Delves-Broughton (The HemPod at Bath University)
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.
Stop the Drug War, Before They Kick In Your Door
By Paul Stanford, Executive Director of THCF for Hemp News
My speech at the 2010 Seattle Hempfest is my effort to highlight the historical, scientific and philosophical importance of hemp and cannabis. I honor cannabis reform activists that have passed on, such as Jack Herer and Dr. Tod Mikuriya; those arrested for cannabis, such as cannabis minister Roger Christie of Hawaii, Marc Emery of Canada, and Eddy Lepp of California; and those sentenced to death for cannabis in Malaysia.
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."
By Dimakatso Motau
The composite materials industry has the potential to contribute to the growth of the local economy, says the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) chief researcher and research group leader for composite materials Dr Rajesh Anandjiwala.
This view is also supported by the Department of Science and Technology (DST) and the Department of Trade and Industry, which have identified the growth of natural fibre-based industries as a significant agro economic tool.
Anandjiwala says that South Africa has the potential to become a tier-two supplier of composite products in future. However, he adds that the country must aim to become a tier-one supplier for higher benefits and job retentions.
However, to achieve this, the country must overcome certain challenges in the composites industry. Anandjiwala points to a lack of raw materials being manufactured locally, which results in the import of certain raw materials, such as natural fibres, some speciality chemicals and resins. He says the development of the industry is also hindered by the lack of a skilled workforce.
He adds that natural fibres in composites will also provide other benefits for industries in South Africa. The advantages of using natural fibres in composites include its light weight, which results in weight saving, a cheaper raw material price from the natural source, thermal recycling and the ecological advantages of using renewable resources, he explains.
Some researchers believe hemp has many properties that make it perfect for sustainability.
Our Future Planet investigates.
Reasoned argument over the value of hemp can often be tricky to achieve, polarized between die hard hemp and cannabis enthusiasts and skeptics regarding the arguments as woolly shirted, hippy doctrine.
The reality, as usual, is nowhere near as aggressive. For a start, a few facts surrounding the material do seem to indicate its worth within a sustainable agenda.
It appears industrial hemp can provide many of the raw materials we need as a society to function. Myriad websites list the uses: hemp food, hemp oil, hemp plastics, hemp insulation, hemp concrete, hemp paper, and other hemp composites.
‘Hemp is one of the fastest growing plants in the world, producing about ten tons of dry product per acre per year,’ explains http://www.hemp.com/. This is a pretty crucial fact. In a climate facing water shortages and rising temperatures, speed of production for sustainable materials is going to become key.
Organizations connect people interested in social and environmental contributions to their bottom line
By Steve Carey Reduce, Reuse, Rethink, Times Colonist
Imagine business people sharing information about sustainability. It's a nice thought, but does it happen? Yes, thanks to the Values-Based Business Network.
Red Fish, Blue Fish restaurant owner Simon Sobolewski was looking for B.C.-made biodegradable cutlery to further shrink his zero-waste seaside eatery's carbon footprint. Hemp and Company owner Bill Finley knew one source, and dropped by with a few samples. Connections like this are what the network is for, says its president Alan Dolan. The group connects businesses interested in a triple bottom line: social, economic and environmental factors, rather than just a financial bottom line.
"We're interested not just in doing business in an environmentally friendly way, but in how we treat our staff and make a living, balancing the economic and environmental aspects of sustainability," Dolan says. "Our members are everything from environmental consultants to retailers who have green businesses or green products, or other companies that are just interested in keeping their waste down and their carbon footprint low."
By Liina Flynn, Echo
Every time you flush the toilet, do you think about what happens to your bodily waste once it leaves the bowl? Ecological engineer Dr Keith Bolton does. With his driving philosophy ‘there’s no such thing as waste’, he has devoted his career to developing natural ways of treating sewage and using effluent for the benefit of communities.
Rather than creating environmental problems by pumping effluent into rivers and oceans, Dr Bolton believes wastewater should be utilised as a resource. The projects he has been involved with have taken him from growing the first fields of industrial hemp on the North Coast through to creating sustainable solutions to sewage problems in remote Aboriginal communities.
Through his company Ecotechnology Australia, Dr Bolton and his Lismore-based Ecoteam have pioneered the design of constructed wetland ecosystems to treat sewage. If we think of wetlands as being the kidneys of the land, then the process of constructing a wetland is like performing a kidney transplant.
“In nature, wetlands are the mechanisms that purify the water as it travels from land into water courses,” Dr Bolton said. “They essentially serve the same function that our kidneys do in our bodies by purifying the water cycle.”
Hemp Technology, has announced the launch of Breathe™, an innovative new natural fibre insulation. The sustainably sourced product, which will play a key role in the nation's drive to zero carbon construction, was officially launched at Ecobuild, the world's largest sustainable construction event, at Earls Court, London on the the 2nd March 2010.
By David Ing, Construction News
Hemp Technology, has announced the launch of Breathe™, an innovative new natural fibre insulation. The sustainably sourced product, which will play a key role in the nation's drive to zero carbon construction, was officially launched at Ecobuild, the world's largest sustainable construction event, at Earls Court, London, on the 2nd March 2010.
Produced from UK grown hemp and flax, Breathe™ offers a renewable and low-carbon means of insulating lofts, walls and floors. An eco-friendly challenge to the dominance of mineral wools, it holds superb performance qualities.
With a thermal conductivity of 0.039 W/mK, Breathe™ performs better than many fibre products. This boosts thermal comfort by reducing overheating in summer and damping internal temperature fluctuations. A high resistance to settlement ensures its good qualities last as long as the building to which it is applied.
Naturally Advanced Technologies Agrees with the National Research Council of Canada to Collaborate on Research for the Production of Cellulosic Ethanol from Sustainable Feedstock
This Research is Intended to Develop New Enzyme Technology for Cellulosic Ethanol Manufacturing
By Michael Bachara, Hemp News Staff
Naturally Advanced Technologies Inc. (NAT) amended its agreement with the National Research Council (NRC) of Canada to include collaboration on cellulose technology research for the production of cellulosic ethanol from sustainable feedstock, such as corn stalks and straws, the unexploited byproduct in agri-food production. In my opinion, this is a huge step toward sustainability and mankind's ultimate survival.
* The NAT - NRC collaboration began in 2004 and was extended in 2007 for the design and construction of advanced enzyme technology for the extraction and cleaning of industrial hemp fiber for the textile sector, as spearheaded by Dr. Wing Sung. (See Video Below)
* As this research is in the final stages, the two parties have agreed to divert existing funding commitments to pursue additional opportunities for the advanced enzyme technology, namely in cellulosic ethanol.
The Ford Focus is spearheading a comprehensive European Recycling Campaign, the car manufacturer has said.
The campaign has created over 300 separate car parts formed with recycling materials and diverts around 20,000 tonnes away from landfill each year.
Ford recycled materials include recycled plastics that make up 25% of heater and air conditioned housing, 50% of battery trays and recycled materials that make up 100% of fabric seat options.
Sources for this recycled material are everyday items as diverse as plastic bottles, CDs, computers and even denim jeans.
The noise insulation in all Ford vehicles is made from jeans and reclaimed car seat upholstery.
Ford is undergoing developments to create more alternative bio-based materials in order to decrease dependence on oil based products.
Ford researchers are currently developing new materials that include more natural ingredients such as soy flour, hemp and cellulose.
The Fuel Film Sets The Green Standard To New Levels - The Choice Is Ours
By Michael Bachara, Hemp News staff
FUEL, is a comprehensive and refreshing look at energy solutions in America, compiled by biodiesel advocate and filmmaker Josh Tickell. The film has taken over twelve years to assemble, won the Audience Award at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival, and is an ever evolving project. It is a historic time line of where we have been, identifies our present predicament and a searches for a solution to our dependence on foreign oil and food supply. The film evokes emotions that compel viewers to participate in local community projects in the aid of our planet.
By E. Huff, Natural News, Staff Writer
As the price for crude oil continues to rise over time, the cost of producing petroleum-based plastic products continues to rise with it. Alternatives such as bio-plastics, which currently cost more to produce than existing plastics, may someday become more cost effective than petroleum-based plastics.
Frederic Scheer, owner of a company called Cereplast that makes sustainable bio-plastic material from vegetable and grain starches, believes that petroleum prices will eventually exceed the costs of producing his own product. By 2013, he believes that industry giants like DuPont and BASF will pursue his technology as a replacement for their soon-to-be outdated petroleum plastics.
Scheer's company has developed a method of converting starch from corn, wheat, tapioca, and potatoes into biodegradable plastic resins. Because they effectively biodegrade in a mere 90 days, they are an excellent alternative to traditional plastic cups, containers and packaging materials.
Cereplast also produces a hybrid resin composed of 50 percent renewable bio-plastic which cuts waste and conserves energy. This blend is useful in things like cars and children's toys. By cutting the amount of polypropylene plastic used in products, the kind most typically used in consumer products, Scheer hopes his company will help to reduce the negative environmental impact caused by plastic products.