Manitoba company green-lit for green technology innovations

A Manitoba company could lead the way making flax and hemp fibres a crucial part of a green future.

Composites Innovation Centre Manitoba will get up to $2.9 million from federal government

Minister of Natural Resources Jim Carr says it's important to invest in green technologies. (CBC)

 A Manitoba company could lead the way making flax and hemp fibres a crucial part of a green future.

Composites Innovation Centre Manitoba (CIC) received a funding boost on Monday from the federal government to bring natural fibres into the composites industry and forge standards for Canadian biomass.

It means that properties from crops, like flax and hemp, could end up in vehicles, farm equipment, bus doors and even in the mining industry.

CIC President Sean McKay said the standards and measurement techniques will allow the producer to know what the quality of their crop is and what kind of returns they can expect. It also means the manufacturer can know that when they use those materials, they will be strong enough so that the part won't break.

"What this funding allows us to do is take the knowledge that we've already generated and move it forward to support industry commercializing the technologies," McKay said.

It will lead to lower costs and "greener solutions," McKay added.

CIC received funding up to $2.9 million for the initiatives.

During the funding announcement, Minister of Natural Resources and Winnipeg South Centre MP Jim Carr said the investment would help Canada transition to a "cleaner, renewable sources of energy and the use of that energy in our everyday lives."

"It's a long game and that long game is what Canada and other nations around the world understand is that we are transforming into a low-carbon future," he said.

"That means investment in renewable technologies. It means green technology. It means looking at the creative people who are on the cutting edge of these discoveries [and letting them] know that governments are very interested in the research they are doing and are keen to support them in any way we can."

The technologies are starting to be adopted in Europe, McKay said adding that he expects it to take between one and three years to get facilities up and running and to delve into the North American market.