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Feds invest in bio-composites


December 4, 2012
By Canadian Biomass

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December 4, 2012, Winnipeg, MB – The federal government announced an investment for two innovative projects that will create new opportunities for Canadian flax and hemp growers and help further develop the burgeoning bio-composite industry in Manitoba.

This federal investment of more than $210,000 will help the Composites Innovation Centre (CIC) evaluate, develop and apply composite material technology using hemp and flax fibre to build high-performance biomaterials. With considerable global interest in developing light-weight vehicles from renewable materials, the CIC will collaborate with industry, government and educational institutions to achieve measurable economic benefits for farmers through the value-added use of the flax and hemp they grow.

A first investment of $154,000 will help to find a use for locally-grown fibres in the development of biocomposite prototype parts for the agricultural machinery sector, including tractor hoods, side shields and operator cabin roofs. This project will offer the farming sector a combination of economic and environmental benefits through the creation of less expensive tractor parts using raw materials that have a lower ecological footprint.

Another investment of $57,000 will help to evaluate the use of flax fibre as a lightweight reinforcement in injection molded plastic for use in car interiors. Flax farmers will benefit from this project as it will offer yet another way to expand and diversify their businesses and sources of revenue.

"These new projects will allow farmers to realize a direct benefit from agricultural fibre improvement research," said Dr. Simon Potter, CIC's Sector Manager for Product Innovation and Civil Infrastructure. "From now on, it will be possible for them to use agricultural machinery built from the very products of their own fields."

"Our Government strongly supports innovation, and the agriculture sector has been a leader in creating exciting new market opportunities that generate jobs, benefit the environment and increase profits for our flax and hemp farmers," said Member of Parliament (Winnipeg South Centre) Joyce Bateman. "By developing innovative composite materials using crop waste, there is a real potential for agricultural products to be more widely incorporated into the manufacturing industry."

– From an Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada news release.


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