An Aus­tralian com­pany is look­ing to start man­u­fac­tur­ing ship­ping pallets us­ing hemp from early next year, af­ter a change to fed­eral laws made it a pos­si­bil­ity last year

Australian Transport News - - Contents -

AN AUS­TRALIAN COM­PANY

is look­ing to start man­u­fac­tur­ing ship­ping pallets us­ing hemp from early next year, af­ter a change to fed­eral laws made it a pos­si­bil­ity last year.

Biofiba, which sur­faced a decade ago, is plan­ning to build a man­u­fac­tur­ing fa­cil­ity in the New South Wales Cen­tral Coast town of Somersby, us­ing a pa­tented tech­nol­ogy to build ex­truded planks us­ing resins and fi­bre de­vel­oped from the in­ner core of the hemp plant.

The planks can be used to make ship­ping pallets which the com­pany says is a cost- ef­fec­tive and al­ter­na­tive to tim­ber and a biodegrad­able re­place­ment for plas­tics.

The Somersby plant would be its first Aus­tralian base af­ter Biofiba first started man­u­fac­tur­ing the planks in China in 2017, af­ter re­ceiv­ing de­vel­op­ment fund­ing from the CSIRO in 2011 and in 2009. Biofiba chair­man Lau­rence Dum­mett, right, says the tech­nol­ogy will re­place cur­rent raw ma­te­rial in­puts with al­ter­na­tives that are sus­tain­able, re­new­able and cost ef­fec­tive.

“We’re look­ing for­ward to adding con­sid­er­able value to in­vest­ment, and the pos­i­tive im­pacts our prod­uct will make to the en­vi­ron­ment in stop­ping de­for­esta­tion and re­duc­ing plas­tic waste,” he says.

The com­pany will be per­mit­ted to grow its in­dus­trial hemp fol­low­ing changes to Aus­tralian leg­is­la­tion in late 2017 – per­mit­ting Biofiba to use hemp for bio­com­pos­ite prod­ucts and other com­modi­ties such as hemp seed and oil.

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