Local man part of national hemp company tapped for upcoming Olympics

By Charlene Tebbutt
September 28, 2018 - 10:16am

A Canadian company is leading the way with a new process using hemp to prevent cracking in concrete. The system has caught the attention of organizers with the 2022 Winter Olympics – and there’s a Prince Albert connection.

Canadian Greenfield Technologies Corp. (CGT) is behind the new process, which uses industrial hemp fibre to stop concrete from cracking. The business generated interest amongst organizers with the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics, who plan to use the technology on bobsleigh and luge tracks at the event.   

Stephen Christensen, vice president and general manager with CGT, grew up in Prince Albert and is part of the team that developed the system. Christensen said the application is groundbreaking within the hemp industry.

“For very highly-engineered projects like pools or skate parks, or the bobsled track at the Olympics in Beijing, they need a fibre that really, really mitigates cracking very well and also is easy to finish,” Christensen told paNOW. “It’s the only fibre that’s compliant … so it will replace glass or plastic fibre that doesn’t really do that great a job stopping cracking, but that’s the only technology out there right now.”

Christensen became a chemist after finishing school at Carlton Comprehensive Public High School in 2002. He started working with CGT after coming across an ad in Calgary about developing a surface treatment using hemp to stop cracks in concrete.

“We developed a treatment that worked and then a lot of work went into making a process that would actually develop, like process the fibre to a point that it could be used in concrete,” Christensen said. “Current technologies are over 100 years old and this is the first one that actually uses a completely different mechanism to basically break down the hemp plant into components.”

Christensen said there are a lot of new opportunities in the industrial hemp industry, aside from textiles. The company is also fielding interest from companies looking to extract CBD oil from industrial hemp, Christensen said.

“It’s not just Canada,” he added. “We’re hosting a number of tours from interested companies in the U.S. and Europe and all over Canada, and New Zealand, Australia.

“We find that the real difficulty in people using our product is that they don’t, they never considered there would be another product out there, so now that we’re getting a lot of traction and a lot of people are using it. Its use is just exploding.”

 

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On Twitter: @CharleneTebbutt

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