Prospedia Capital, the trading name of Advanced Automotive Technologies Limited, has joined ESI Venture Capital in fundraising for Hemspan®, who plan to build houses with hemp bio-composite, a material also relevant to the automotive and transport sector. Prospedia and ESI are also working on the fundraising with Envestors Private Investment Club, one of the UK’s longest established and most successful early-stage fundraisers.
“The environmental benefits start with one hectare of hemp, a tall annual herb, removing 15 tonnes of carbon in a hundred days of growing,” says Matt Belcher, the founder and CEO of Hemspan®. “Henry Ford built and ran a car on hemp. Fast forward 100 years, and we’re seeing its renaissance in the automotive industry as a proven natural solution with numerous uses.”
“Volkswagen Audi Group were in the vanguard in the 21st-century noughties, long before we set up Hemspan,” says Belcher. “And like other carmakers, Volvo also uses its natural fibres to reduce the weight of components. Peugeot, for example, has achieved 25 per cent weight savings compared to traditional plastics in their 308 model. BMW launched its futuristic i3 electric hatchback almost a decade ago in 2013 with hemp biocomposite parts. Porsche applies it in the 718 Cayman GT4 Club Sport, and the Mercedes C-class luxury saloon uses two dozen parts in each vehicle.”
The latest applications include the challenging task of constructing lightweight body panels alongside the more obvious interior and exterior trim. The wide-lens view is all about volume impact. Like battery materials, the industrial hemp industry in the UK is at a very early stage, with virtually no hemp grown for fibre or hurd. Hurd is the woody inner parts of the hemp stalk separated from the bast fibre by breaking and scutching them, leaving the bast fibre as one of the most valuable parts of the plant. It grows on the outside of the stalk, similar to the bark of a tree. Bast fibres give the plants strength as well as components using it.
“Hemspan®has the potential to drive significant demand for UK-grown hemp and, at the same time, direct investment into processing facilities that could serve both the housing and automotive sectors,” says Belcher. “Our product development plans for non-woven bio-composite cladding for buildings are already relevant to the automotive and transport sector for vehicle interiors.”
The next step is high-grade technical fibres for woven bio-composites providing optimum yield opportunities for processing facilities producing a range of fibre fractions. Processing is part of Hemspan’s long-term strategy, but initially, it’s keeping a narrow focus on niche markets to ensure it delivers its on-demand and volume promise.
“The bio-resin system being developed with our commercially confidential composites partner has already been used with carbon fibre for the aerospace industry,” says Belcher, “so its crossover into woven hemp composites for automotive is clear. There is a growing appetite for more sustainable UK-manufactured composites.”
The non-woven hemp matting used for the Hemspan® pre-preg is already used for acoustic insulation in automotive manufacturing. Graphene applications are another area that is gaining attention, as well as biofuels from waste materials, so the opportunities around UK-grown hemp are significant.
Hemspan is a seed-stage company eligible for the Enterprise Investment Scheme. The UK government introduced its EIS initiative to attract investment into startups by offering tax relief to individual investors, often called business angels, who buy new shares in an early-stage company.
For further information on investing in Hemspan, please visit: https://bit.ly/3JsNNzm
Media contact: Rob Palmer at email@example.com on +44 1582 763255 or +44 7768 242761. Hi-resolution image of the thumbnail below is available from Palmer Public Relations or Newspress at https://newspressuk.com/releases?company_id=2783
Hemp is a proven solution for the automotive industry as it strives for net-zero mobility and an excellent cladding for positive energy houses
About Prospedia Capital
Prospedia Capital is the world’s first private equity investment platform focused on connecting early-stage startups developing advanced automotive technologies, intelligent net-zero mobility and future transport solutions with angel investors and the industry’s technical experts. The startups are carefully curated, including technical, financial and legal due diligence, before commencing with fundraising.
With the support of Beauhurst, Prospedia has studied the investment flowing into companies serving the UK’s automotive and transport sector, a vital part of the UK economy. Their joint report identified upwards of £1 billion of private investment needed to support more than a thousand startups in the UK alone.
Prospedia is part of Envestors’ Envestry network, a member of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), the UK Business Angels Association (UKBAA) and Zemo (Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership). For more information, please visit https://prospediacapital.com/ & https://prospediacapital.envestry.com
Investor Risk Warning: Investment in startups carries high risks as well as the possibility of high rewards. Risks include the lack of liquidity in terms of being able to sell shares, the loss of the value of the investment, and dilution of shareholding. See: https://prospediacapital.envestry.com/risk-warning