The Composites Innovation Centre has received a $1.9 million infusion of capital from the federal government to set up the world’s first bio-fibre grading centre.
The money from Western Economic Diversification will help the CIC buy equipment to establish the Prairie Agriculture Fibre Characterization Industrial Technology Capability (FibreCITY) centre.
The CIC has been advancing the use of natural agricultural materials such as flax and hemp since it was formed in 2003.
The creation of FibreCITY is seen as a key element in efforts to build the supply chain that will support the industrial adoption of parts made with bio-fibre composites. It will evaluate and grade the capabilities of agricultural fibres that are used in key industries.
"Of paramount importance to having industry, for example ground transportation vehicle manufacturers, readily accept using agriculturally grown natural fibres in their products, is to have an assurance that these materials will last the life time of the vehicle," said Sean McKay, executive of the CIC. "The intent of FibreCITY is to develop the necessary test capabilities, material data bases and standards that will result in a very simple and easily applied test method to ensure that natural fibres selected for specific end uses will be consistent with their requirements thus securing widespread adoption by industry."