GreenJams Infrastructures LLP, a startup based in Visakhapatnam, has developed multiple prototypes of an eco-friendly concrete block by using extracts from hemp, a cannabis sativa plant species. A year after launching it, Tarun Jami, the techie who did his MS from Gujarat Forensic Sciences University, and two of his partners, conducted trials at the Central Building Research Institute, Roorkee, Uttarakhand. With encouraging response, they expect to go commercial within another year. The startup was founded with a mission to develop and commercialise sustainable building materials. “We are in fact re-imaging the building material market by infusing it with carbon-negative, bio-aggregate building materials. In our pursuit to achieve our mission, we have zeroed in on hemp concrete, which is made by combining particles of the stalks of the hemp plant (called hemp shivs) and a lime-based binder,” Mr. Tarun told
The Hindu
. Though growing cannabis is prohibited, only in Uttarakhand it is allowed for use for industrial purpose.

What the Act says

“We are expecting permission either in Andhra Pradesh or neighbouring Odisha, or else we will source it from Uttarakhand,” he said. As per the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, a State could apply discretion in granting permission for industrial use. The manufacture of the product has a reversal effect on climate change and global warming because it consumes carbon dioxide and has net negative carbon emissions.

Popular abroad

Industrial use of hemp for various applications is in vogue abroad since 1938, whereas it is still in the initial stage in India.

Hemp concrete (also known as hempcrete) is one of the 25,000 applications of the cannabis plant, encompassing its role in providing one of mankind’s basic needs – shelter.

Hemp, a generalised name for the cannabis sativa plant, is known for use to produce medicines and recreational marijuana.

Hempcrete is evidenced in the Ajanta Ellora Caves. Now, advanced research on hemps is on in France, the U.K., Belgium, Denmark, the US, and Australia.

The startup is investing in the R&D of hempcrete that can be used as a standalone walling material, rivalling autoclaved aerated concrete (AAC), concrete masonry units, and fly-ash brick.

Apart from having all the desirable properties of its rivals such as light weight, thermal efficiency, and low cost, it also benefits from its carbon-negativity. The startup is supported by Bombay Hemp Company (BOHECO), which is supplying hemp for research at a subsidised rate.

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