Hempearth, a Canadian cannabis company, has announced plans to build an airplane using hemp as a key component. There’s little argument that hemp is the wonder plant of the ages. Despite being associated with its naughty cousin, marijuana, hemp has been put to thousands of vital uses over the ages. Not only has it been used for rope, but also fabric, medicine and a super food. But this latest incarnation is taking things to a whole new level.
The composite of hemp they are intending to use is apparently 10 times stronger than steel, and will be used to craft the seats, wings, walls and other bits of the plane. Probably not the engine though. As part of the PR pitch, the team are talking about running it using hemp oil, but we all know that by the time this thing gets certified it will probably make more sense to fly it using electric motors and batteries. But we’ll see. The really great thing about hemp, though, apart from the fact that it’s actually a weed, and grows like one, is the fact that it’s got an incredibly low to zero carbon footprint. It captures carbon as it grows. Perfect for something so carbon emitting as aviation.
The final product will have a wingspan of 36 feet and is designed to carry a pilot and four passengers. The company’s product page calls them ‘four very lucky passengers’. We’re not sure if that’s because they are flying in a great aircraft or if there’s a chance they’ll be able to smoke bits of it to stay calm in any crises. But we jest. This is not the first non-combustible product from the company, as they already make surfboards, plastic and mobile phones made out of the plant. There’s no word on the probable price of the aircraft though, so we really hope it won’t be too high and put people off. Thank you folks, we’ll be here all week.