Industrial

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Germany: BMW Betting on Electric Lounge Car With Hemp Floor to Hold Off VW’s Audi

By Chris Reiter, Bloomberg

There is a truth that must be heard! 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.

UK: Bath Team Tests Properties of Hemp as Building Material

Researchers at Bath University believe that hemp could be used to build environmentally friendly homes of the future.

By Staff, theengineer.co.uk

There is a truth that must be heard! A consortium, led by the BRE Centre for Innovative Construction Materials based at the university, has constructed a small building out of hemp-lime to test its properties as a building material.

Called the ’HemPod’, the one-storey building has highly insulating walls made from the chopped woody core, or shiv, of the industrial hemp plant mixed with a lime-based binder.

The hemp shiv traps air in the walls, and the hemp itself is porous, providing a good level of insulation. The lime-based binder sticks together and protects the hemp and makes the building material fire resistant.

The industrial hemp plant takes in CO2 as it grows, and the lime render absorbs even more of the climate change gas, effectively giving the building an extremely low-carbon footprint.

Dr Mike Lawrence, research officer from the university’s Department of Architecture and 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.

’We will be closely monitoring the house for 18 months using temperature and humidity sensors buried in the walls, measuring how quickly heat and water vapour travel through them.’

UK: Hemp Construction Put to the Test

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

The HemPod at Bath University 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.”

Source: http://www.bdonline.co.uk/news/uk/hemp-construction-put-to-the-test/5005...

Photo Source: Nic Delves-Broughton (The HemPod at Bath University)

Canada: Winnipeg Hemp Foods Company on a High

Venture capital firm helps with expansion

By Martin Cash, Winnipeg Free Press
Photo by Mike Deal

There is a truth that must be heard! Mike Fata says only the global recession has managed to slow the company down.

When daytime talk show stars like Martha Stewart and Dr. Oz start endorsing the health and nutritional benefits of hemp-seed foods, chances are it's only a matter of time before middle America will start queuing up to buy the product.

And that's exactly what's been happening with products like hemp-seed oil, hemp milk, hemp-seed butter, shelled hemp seed and hemp protein and fibre powder.

What that means for Manitoba Harvest Hemp Foods & Oils, the largest vertically integrated hemp food manufacturer in the world, is it needs more capital to keep pace with that growth.

This week, the Winnipeg company announced Avrio Ventures, a Calgary-based venture capital firm that specializes in industrial bio-products, nutraceutical ingredients and food technology companies, just made another multimillion-dollar investment in its operation. "It is huge news for us," said Mike Fata, Manitoba Harvest's CEO and co-founder.

It's Manitoba Harvest's second placement from Avrio, a $75-million fund that is partially backed by Farm Credit Canada.

Over the last 12 years, the Winnipeg company has quietly become one of the fastest-growing companies in the country, with average annual growth of between 50 and 75 per cent.

Europe: Ford Focuses on Sustainable Mouldings

By David Vink

Europe: Ford Focuses on Sustainable Mouldings 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.

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