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From bicycles, surfboards and skateboards to hemp biocomposites mopeds (photo)

11.10.2019

In addition to cars , hemp is actively used as a material for the manufacture of a significant number of other environmentally friendly vehicles , which are combined with the concept of ecological transport. A bicycle and a scooter have always been considered environmentally friendly means of transportation, but modern engineering is aimed at making other devices used for transportation from biocomposite materials based on hemp . 

DPDgroup, an international parcel delivery group, helped design the lightweight four-wheeled E-Cargobika electronic Oxfordshire startup Electric Assisted Vehicles (EAV). The front panel of the EAV Project 1 is made of a biocomposite material reinforced with hemp fibers glued together with a resin based on cashew oil. Several test models of “ E-Cargobika ” are currently being tested to identify possible design flaws and operating features of electronic cargo bikes.

A fully enclosed four-stroke hemp pedal electric vehicle, designed and tested in the harsh climate of New England, is legally classified as an electric bike .

Singapore-based Bamboobee has patented a home-made bike with a frame of bamboo canes and hemp fibers. Inside the box, which is sold through retail chains, there are all the components (wheels, steering wheel, chain), and, following the instructions, everyone can assemble their own hemp bike.

Another “Onyx” hemp bike designed by German engineer Nicholas Meyer is 60% made from hemp using bamboo (15%) and polystyrene and aluminum.  

However, the development of the market for hemp-based biocomposite materials does not stop at road vehicles. Cannabis use technologies have developed so much that over the past few years they have been actively used in modern sports. For example, in 2015, entrepreneur Brian Westphal created a skateboard using 3D printing technology from 70% biodegradable plastic and 30% hemp. 

Snowboards Cashew, Yavana (collection 2009-2010) and Vice SQD (2010-2011) are recognized as the most environmentally friendly snowboards. Instead of plastic, the outer coating of the boards consists of a material based on hemp. This material allows the snowboard to get rid of extra 400 grams of weight. In addition, the use of synthetic resins and other toxic materials has been minimized. 

In the world of surfing, the use of hemp plants is also widespread. The experiment was first conducted by American Ocean Green in the early 2000s. Today, cannabis-based biocomposite materials are used by several manufacturers of surfboards, including the Italian Blide. In addition, Dr. Nicoletta Ravasio, a researcher at CNR, an Italian research center, is studying resins made from hemp seed oil , which is extremely effective in replacing the epoxy layer of a surfboard.

For those who want to move at a fairly high speed, the market offers a Be.е scooter . Created by the Dutch startup Van.Eko. Monocoque is powered by an electric motor, and the body is made of bio-resin obtained from flax and hemp . Compared to mopeds with a plastic frame, “Be.e” weighs a lot less (about 100 kg with batteries).

 Commentary of the Ukrainian Technical Hemp Association

Issues related to the use of plants as the basis for the production of hemp-based biocomposite materials will be considered during the discussion at the round table " Hemp raw materials - technologies for its use in construction, production of biocomposite materials and furniture ". The event is scheduled for November 12 as part of the “ Hemp University ” on the basis of the National University of Life and Environmental Sciences of Ukraine.

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