The world’s leading manufacturer of premium motorcycles and automobiles, the BMW Group, seems focused on decreasing the emissions released when manufacturing and making use of its vehicles. It recently revealed that hemp would play a big role in this decrease in emissions.
The company has been making use of hemp for a couple of years now in the door panel lining of its fully electric i3 model. The use of the plant in this way not only attracts eco-savvy consumers but also helps lighten the vehicle.
Hemp, which is sometimes referred to as industrial hemp, is a class of cannabis sativa that is grown specifically for medicinal and industrial use. The plant can be refined into various commercial items, including biofuel, insulation and biodegradable plastics. With the BMW Group increasing its efforts against global warming and significantly decreasing carbon emissions in every vehicle it makes by 2030, the popularity of hemp and other plant materials may increase.
The company stated that in collaboration with its partners, it will continue to develop how it uses fibers such as flax, kenaf and hemp, by providing them with natural fiber lattice structures. It explained that its strategy to use natural materials instead of petrochemical ones had made it possible to avoid extra weight by decreasing the quantity of materials required for manufacturing and maintaining their vehicles’ mechanical properties.
In addition to this, the car company is also reducing its use of oil-based primary plastics and is focused on using reinforced plastics containing natural fibers such as hemp and biobased plastics. BMW’s overall objective is to decrease the lifecycle carbon dioxide emissions from its cars by over 40% by 2030.
This is not the only car company to have used hemp in its vehicles. Henry Ford, who is the founder of the Ford car company, also toyed with this idea. In 1941, chemists at the automaker developed a strong material comprising of 30% resin binder and 70% cellulose fiber. An estimated 10% of this fiber composition was hemp. However, this invention wasn’t pursued.
Around this time, the United States government had shifted from encouraging more farmers to grow hemp to demonizing marijuana, which led to cannabis and hemp being classified as one. This may have been what hindered Ford from pursuing this innovative creation.
In the years that followed, hemp stopped being grown in the United States due to its prohibition. It is of recent that hemp was finally restored to its agricultural crop status and made legal under the 2018 Farm Bill that farmers began growing it again.
Once hemp was legalized, many companies, including Flora Growth Corp. (NASDAQ: FLGC), saw numerous opportunities in this sector. These companies have leveraged cutting-edge science to come up with an array of finished products made using hemp or its derivatives.
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