The Future of Automotive is About Reliable Supply Chains of Sustainable Materials

Steve Plumb with Auto Beat Online sat down with our CEO, Jesse Henry to discuss the future of plastics in automotive as the world transitions to a more sustainable future.

Every automotive company on earth is researching new materials that can reduce weight while maintaining performance characteristics. The problem the auto manufacturers have faced is that hitting all these targets while reducing price has previously been impossible.

This is the paradox that every engineering, R&D, and procurement division across the industry has attempted to solve.

  • Strength – Is the material strong enough to stand the test of time?
  • Lightweight – Can the material reduce our weight to increase performance?
  • Cost – Can the material reduce our input costs? 
  • Sustainable – Is this material reducing our carbon footprint?

These are the questions at the forefront of everyone’s mind in the automotive sector. Finding a material that fits all these needs has been difficult in this modern era. But, that wasn’t always the case.

hemp car henry ford

Henry Ford Strength Testing Hemp

As far back as the 1930s, Henry Ford faced the same material problems that we face today. His initial solution was to use hemp as his base material to create dozens of different parts for his automobile. Unfortunately, because hemp became illegal in 1937, he was forced to transition to steel, the heavy material we are stuck with today. Without a reliable supply chain, hemp was not a realistic solution for commercially viable vehicles.

Hemp had been the core component of Henry Ford’s biocomposites. The other bio-based materials alone did not have the strength or supply chains required to build hundreds of thousands of vehicles. When hemp became illegal almost 100 years ago, it destroyed the possibility that any bio-based materials would make it into his vehicles.

Today, we are happy to say that industrial hemp is 100% federally legal with the passing of the 2018 Farm Bill. We now have an opportunity to go back to our roots and begin building a world out of hemp materials. The big advantage we have today (vs the 1930’s) is the technology we have to process and mill the hemp plant.

Even the composite equipment that we have at our disposal today allows us to create highly engineered plastics. For bio-based materials like hemp to be utilized on an industrial scale, we need to provide biocontinuity that has never been seen before.

The 3 specific variables that Heartland is focused on refining are:

  • Moisture
  • Particle Size
  • Surface Area

Among many others, these variables are paramount to the adoption of hemp materials in the modern world.

Biocontinuity is one of the most important parts of Heartland’s business. Our team searched every corner of the world for equipment that meets our ESG mandate. Fortunately, we have found the golden goose that will create the foundation for our industrial hemp supply chain.

We are creating a supply chain that is scalable, sustainable, and provides a consistent output that large manufacturing companies can rely upon.

Join us on the journey as we build a world out of hemp.

– Heartland Team

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