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A Canadian hemp composite producer has received a $10 million (US $7.4 million) grant that will support development of a manufacturing facility to turn out products for the automotive, marine, wind energy and consumer products industries.
INCA Renewtech, Kelowna, Alberta, processes stalk from hemp grown for grain and turns it into biocomposite core material. INCA already supplies Winnebago Industries, Forest City, Iowa, with panels used in recreational vehicles and truck trailers through a partnership with laminate materials maker Genesis Products, Elkhart, Indiana.
The company also has commercialization partnerships with Gurit (Wattwil, Switzerland and Bristol, Rhode Island), a composites maker; and Toyota North America (Plano, Texas), and said it is finalizing joint development agreements with both Canadian and U.S.-based polymer producers.
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“This funding will enable INCA Renewtech to significantly accelerate construction of our state-of-the-art hemp processing and composites manufacturing factory,” said David Saltman, INCA’s chairman and CEO.
Midwest Natural Fiber
The grant to INCA, from Emissions Reduction Alberta (ERA), is a part of the Circular Economy Challenge, a total CAD $58 million fund set up by the provincial government that is focused on advancing innovations that will reduce the impacts of material production, processing and disposal, and support economic development. ERA invests revenues from the carbon fees paid by large emitters, with the goal of accelerating the development and adoption of innovative clean technology solutions.
The nearly 200,000 sq. ft. INCA factory, going up in Vegreville, Alberta, will turn out refined short and long fibers to substitute scarce balsa wood in boats, wind turbine blades, car parts and components for the rail industry. Total investment in the facility, located on an 18-acre industrial site, is estimated at CAD $72 million (US $56.6 million).
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Originally published February 19, 2023 on Hemp Building Mag