Thursday, May 25, 2017

Growing hemp processing plant moves to Irish Hill

By Kayla Moody

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) – A Louisville-based hemp processing plant has relocated its headquarters to the Irish Hill neighborhood.
Sunstrand is a biomaterials company that processes hemp, kanaf, bamboo, flax, and other natural materials for industrial and technical applications. The business started operating in a 6,000-square-foot plant in Okolona in 2014, shortly after Kentucky legalized industrial hemp.
"One of the reasons we moved to this state was to bring hemp into our lineup and Kentucky, being a leader in the hemp industry, was a perfect fit for us,” Trey Riddle, CEO of Sunstrand, said.
Sunstrand’s new plant is more than four times larger than its startup location, spanning 25,000-square-feet in the 1400 block of Locust Street. City and state leaders, including Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles, attended a ceremonial ribbon cutting for the new headquarters Tuesday evening.
CEO Trey Riddle said the bigger space will allow Sunstrand to meet increased product demand.
Hemp makes up about half of Sunstrand's output. The plant’s fibers are incredibly versatile, with industrial applications ranging from car parts, to building materials, 3D printing, and consumer goods. Manufacturers use Sunstrand's materials to make products more sustainable by replacing plastic and glass fibers with Kentucky hemp.

“[All of our hemp] comes from the state of Kentucky and most of our farmers are within a 100 mile radius of our plant here in Louisville,” Riddle said.
Riddle anticipates continued growth over the next five years with the hope of adding at least one more plant in the Commonwealth, near Elizabethtown. The spinoff plant would be more specialized than its diverse headquarters, Riddle said, and it would be made to handle about three times the volume.  

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