An alternative building materials manufacturer specialising in hemp blocks has received support from the Western Australian Government.
Hemp Squared was founded by engineer and entrepreneur Iggy Van. The blocks his company are developing are made with hempcrete, which is a mix of industrial hemp hurd (the woody core of the plant), lime and water.
Among hempcrete’s many benefits are low thermal conductivity, fire resistance, pest resistance, noise dampening, natural moisture regulation and of course, it’s very sustainable. Building blocks are just one application for hempcrete, and for using hemp in building generally.
Hemp Squared was recently awarded a $100,000 Regional Economic Development (RED) Grant by WA Regional Development Minister Alannah MacTiernan and the Department of Primary Industries to expand its manufacturing facilities in Bridgetown, which is approximately 270 kilometres south of Perth.
The cash will support the start-up through construction of a new shed, pneumatic block presses and ancillary equipment. The Hemp Squared funding was part of $549,181 awarded to projects in the South-West of the state in the latest RED grant round.
“Our latest round of REDs builds on the South-West’s natural strengths in tourism, agriculture and manufacturing, helping local plans get off the ground and providing new opportunities for local business,” said Minister MacTiernan. “REDs has been a great economic driver, providing the financial fuel for these grant recipients to go forward with their plans while diversifying industry and driving growth.”
The company was thrilled to receive the grant:
“We are humbled and excited about our future, and the future of industrial hemp in Western Australia,” said Hemp Squared.
The McGowan Government has provided a significant amount of support to the state’s fledgling hemp industry through various mechanisms, including the Industrial Hemp Grants Scheme (IHGS). Among the companies receiving a helping hand under the IHGS in the South-West region was Margaret River Hemp Processing. Almost $300,000 in IHGS funding was awarded to six companies.
Hemp production is regulated in Western Australia under the Industrial Hemp Act 2004, which defines industrial hemp as cannabis with leaves and flowering heads not containing more than 1.0% tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). The threshold is significantly higher than in many other jurisdictions where it often set at 0.3%; giving WA hemp farmers a bit of an edge in terms of strains that can be cultivated.