York project secures six-figure funding to establish industrial hemp as ‘major’ UK crop
A York-based project to establish industrial hemp as a ‘major’ UK crop has secured six-figure funding.
The first development phase of the HEMP-30 project has been awarded £200k 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 project, led by researchers at the University of York and Biorenewables Development Centre (BDC), aims to increase the amount of industrial hemp 100-fold in the UK from 800 hectares to 80,000 hectares.
BDC director, Dr Joe Ross, commented: “Hemp has major untapped potential as a versatile low carbon raw material that can be used across a range of industries.
“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 commented: “Under the banner of our BioYorkshire programme, we aim to accelerate the translation and application of our research discoveries into full-scale industrial applications.
“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.”
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