Industrial hemp material supplier Heartland Industries, which has its offices in Detroit, is planning to open a lab-scale manufacturing facility in Holland, southwest of Grand Rapids. An undisclosed amount of financing for the new operation was secured from Bank of Ann Arbor.
The facility will process 1.5 million pounds of hemp per year, providing hemp-based materials to manufacturers for product development. The facility is Heartland’s first and aims to be fully operational by summer 2021.
With this facility, seed secured for the 2022 planting season, and a network of qualified farmers, Heartland says it is on track to create the first reliable industrial hemp supply chain for U.S. manufacturers. This development will allow industrial hemp to move beyond R&D labs and into end products.
“Michigan is the leading state for advanced manufacturing, and companies from many industries are interested in finding the next sustainable material that will change their business,” says Jesse Henry, founder and CEO of Heartland Industries. “Low-cost, carbon-negative materials such as hemp have the ability to fill that need, but are only viable with a consistent, reliable supply chain. We developed our products with these qualities in mind to create North America’s first supply chain of hemp-based materials for a new generation of sustainable products.”
Throughout the last six months, Henry says his team has made “huge leaps forward in securing interest from top companies in the automotive, packaging, marine, aerospace, and health care industries.” The company’s industrial hemp products are intended to provide a sustainable, bio-based replacement for traditional reinforcing additives and fillers like fiberglass, carbon fiber, talc, and calcium carbonate that are currently used in the plastics industry.
By the end of 2021, Heartland plans to secure additional funding to begin construction of a flagship facility in Detroit. This larger facility will have the capacity to process more than 300 million pounds of industrial hemp every year to serve the growing demand for sustainable materials.