Made in Louisville | Sunstrand makes environment friendly materials, helps Kentucky farms

A Louisville company is finding more environment friendly ways to build houses, cars and objects you use every day using crops from a dozen Kentucky Farms.

Sunstrand is tucked away off Payne Street near Lexington Road, and there's a good chance you might not know it's there. But the company’s CEO Trey Riddle said eventually, there's a good chance you could use what's made there.

Sunstrand materials are used in “everything from the automotive industry and transportation in general, to building products, sporting goods, consumer goods,” Riddle said.  “You don't really think about what your cell phone case is made out of, but this cell phone case is made out of a polymer, and your tooth brush is made out of a polymer, and we can replace 30 percent of that material with a more-sustainable, lower-cost, high-performing material.”

The company gives Kentucky farmers a boost. It processes flax, hemp and kenaf, mostly from a dozen local farms. It makes environment friendly replacements for synthetic materials, glass fibers, polyester fibers, plastic and wood. That material is sold in bulk to other manufacturing companies all over North America, Europe and China.

“Travel coffee mugs can be manufactured with our hemp,” Riddle said.

The materials can be used to make paper towels or insulation in walls, build buildings and make car and airplane parts. Tesla is testing the material in its cars.

If you can name it, Sunstrand material processed right here in Louisville can probably help make it.

Sunstrand started three years ago and as the demand for green, sustainable material grows, it’s only getting bigger.

“This is an emerging industry, so we are just getting started,” Riddle said.

Sunstrand hopes to increase production capacity 20 fold in the next four years.

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