ZILA Works is using industrial hemp to change the way that plastics are made.
The company has developed a patent pending, BPA-free bio-epoxy resin made from industrial hemp that it hopes will contribute to Canada’s clean tech economy.
Utilizing hemp, a renewable resource that absorbs carbon dioxide as it grows, changes the game for epoxies, “from a heavy carbon footprint to carbon sequestering,” according to the company.
Hemp also significantly increases the bio-content of the resin, which reduces health risks for manufacturing workers and decreases toxins to consumers, ZILA says.
In 2023, ZILA Works is working to commercialize its bio-based epoxy resin for use.
First, in the outdoor industry: the company has already created the world’s first snowboard using a hemp-based epoxy resin.
This same resin can be used in other outdoor recreational equipment, including kayak paddles, surf boards, and frames for hang gliders, according to ZILA.
A second formulation of ZILA’s resin has use cases in the floor coatings industry. It is an ideal floor material for hospitals and schools, among others, “to create healthier buildings for our communities,” the company says.
“Not all bioplastics are the same,” asserts ZILA. “Thermoset plastics, like those that ZILA Works is creating, offer a superior alternative that forms more complex three-dimensional bonding structures during the curing process, improving the material’s mechanical properties such as enhanced chemical resistance, heat resistance, and structural integrity.”
ZILA is establishing a research and development facility in Alberta to enable use-specific formulations of its resin tech.
“Customers and manufacturers are looking for ways to cut our dependence on fossil fuels, which contributes to global warming and the destruction of our environment,” the company has stated. “[Our] hemp-based bio-epoxy resin takes fossil fuels out of the picture and is made with plant-based materials so it is safer for consumers and manufacturing workers.”
The company was recently named to The Foresight 50, which recognizes ventures from across Canada and a variety of sectors including watertech, carbon solutions, and renewable energy.
ZILA Works was founded in the Seattle region in 2014 by Jason Puracal, who serves as CEO.
Other companies in the area working with hemp include HEMPALTA, a Calgary-born ag-tech startup focused on modern hemp processing and product creation.