Biomass Feedstock Innovation HEMP-30 project

Background

The first development phase of the project was awarded £200,000 from the UK government’s Biomass Feedstocks Innovation Programme, funded through the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy’s (BEIS) £1bn Net Zero Innovation Portfolio. The BEIS programme aims to accelerate the commercialisation of innovative clean energy technologies and processes.

The HEMP-30 project is led by researchers at the University of York and Biorenewables Development Centre (BDC) and aims to increase the amount of industrial hemp 100-fold in the UK from 800 hectares to 80,000 hectares establishing industrial hemp as a major UK crop. Consultancies Lucid and Kepier & Company Limited support the delivery of the HEMP-30 project.

Industrial hemp is traditionally used in textiles, animal bedding and mattress filling, but increasingly manufacturers are exploring its potential in markets such as food, fuel, construction and pharmaceuticals.

“Hemp has major untapped potential as a versatile low carbon raw material that can be used across a range of industries,” explained BDC Director Dr Joe Ross. “It offers environmental benefits as a fast-growing ‘break’ crop that improves soil health and is very efficient at capturing carbon.

“But it also offers major economic benefits as a potential source of bioplastics, insulation and building materials including hempcrete. It can also be used in interior panels in the automotive and aerospace industries.”

Professor Ian Graham from the University’s Department of Biology said the project underlines York’s commitment to use its research expertise to support the shift from oil-based to bio-based products and processes.

He said: “The HEMP-30 project is an outstanding example of that translation from the lab to bio-based applications, opening up new markets for farmers, supporting the development of high value, skilled jobs while addressing the need for low carbon industrial products.”

Current Progress

The first stage of this project was designed to assess the current UK situation and develop a ten-year roadmap for the sector. The roadmap will present a plan to share best practice in farming and processing hemp while setting out how a significantly expanded hemp breeding, farming, processing and production industry could be established in the UK by 2030.

HEMP-30 project consortium has been working with a wide range of industrial hemp supply chain stakeholders during this phase of the project.  In particular, the HEMP-30 team are drawing upon support from hemp industry advisors from Rare Earth Global and also from Alex Sparrow MD at UK Hempcrete Ltd who have each provided significant amounts of time to liaise with the HEMP-30 project team

The project findings on how to boost the production and processing of industrial hemp across the UK by 2030 will be announced soon.

Other project information

Press release on the funding announcement

Notes to editors:

This project is funded by the Biomass Feedstocks Innovation Programme through the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy’s £1 billion Net Zero Innovation Portfolio, which aims to accelerate the commercialisation of innovative clean energy technologies and processes through the 2020s and 2030s

 

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