By Robert Ziner | CIHC, Canada
Hemp has at all times been a greater pure useful resource than bushes. The fact is, as a result of hemp was not authorized all through a lot of the world for the final 80 years, it was by no means given an opportunity to compete on an equal footing with wooden, or some other pure fibers.
Coming from a 30-year background in lumber processing and optimization, I grew to become hooked on hemp after I discovered that the stalk’s bast fiber is 10 instances stronger than the fiber in Douglas Fir, essentially the most revered softwood fiber for structural framing within the North American development trade. Finding a proprietary automated answer enabling CIHC to grow to be a low price, high-value hemp fiber processor, instantly made loads of sense to me.
In phrases of high quality and efficiency, hemp fiber stands out as most likely the strongest and most sturdy fiber in nature. In addition to being 10 instances stronger than wooden fiber, hemp is 4 instances stronger than cotton.
Industrial hemp is lighter and cheaper to course of than wooden. One acre of hemp planted for 40 years has 400% extra usable fiber than one acre of bushes via their 40-year lifecycle. Hemp is essentially the most environment friendly biomass supply on the earth. In lower than 91 days, the plant can generate stalk to the stage the place its fibers have contained their full CO2 content material and are able to be correctly processed.
More and extra scientific publications underscore hemp’s different vital traits: excessive absorption properties, IR and UV radiation safety capability and pure low flammability. Further new, promising exams additionally point out pure anti-bacterial properties of hemp fibers, believed to outcome from the alkaloids, cannabinoids and different bioactive or phenolic compounds.
Hemp additionally represents an alluring funding alternative for these corporations searching for an efficient option to “decarbonize” their items – in different phrases, reducing their carbon emissions profile. Because of the robust carbon storage functionality primarily based on its excessive biomass content material, and the low ranges of water it wants, hemp might be essentially the most sustainable fiber of all.
Hemp crops have an exceptionally excessive capability to attract out and comprise CO2, which is far larger than bushes. According to a number of scientific articles, one acre of a standard hemp varietal can take in 8.88 tons of CO2 yearly, whereas an acre of forest sequesters roughly 2.5 tons – solely about 30% as a lot.
But wait, there’s extra. Our analysis has proven that, hemp varietals being grown for fiber typically yield as much as 5 instances the biomass of leftover “seed” stalk – as much as 42 tons – and that the CO2 displacement when hemp is substituted for conventional uncooked supplies, in finish merchandise corresponding to plastic, textiles, metal, development and different supplies, can cut back CO2 by as a lot as 200 tons!
Although flowers produces oxygen within the environment via photosynthesis, this pure course of decreases as crops age. It would appear logical that large bushes with appreciable leaf space would generate extra oxygen, particularly as a result of they’re alive for much longer than a hemp plant, nonetheless that is unfaithful. While there may be truly a decline within the capability of older and bigger bushes to supply oxygen, hemp, then again, is a fast-growing, giant plant which is harvested at solely 12 weeks. Well earlier than it may be “aged,” the plant is pumping oxygen full throttle. This is right for shared crop agronomy.
Considering that lower than 5% of the United States’ virgin forest stays, it solely is smart to plan for the longer term and shield what’s left of this as soon as naturally balanced useful resource by rising hemp. We may also help to regain that steadiness by planting, harvesting and processing hemp into the various cellulosic functions for which bushes have been predominantly used since wood-based paper changed paper constituted of hemp within the Thirties throughout North America.
Cellulose is the principle chemical that provides power to paper and different composite merchandise corresponding to chipboard and particleboard. With a focus of 72%, hemp bast has the next focus of cellulose than wooden, which supplies solely 42%. Essentially, the extra cellulose a plant incorporates, the less chemical compounds are wanted to make paper. Hemp bast has the best cellulose content material of all crops.
Not solely does hemp develop at a a lot sooner price than bushes, however its excessive cellulose content material permits for a sooner, decrease conversion price and doesn’t require the numerous portions of poisonous chemical compounds required for wooden processing.
Making paper from wooden requires polluting brokers corresponding to sulphuric acid, bleach and chlorine to take away its non-cellulose fiber mass throughout the pulping course of. Hemp fibers, then again, may be whitened utilizing hydrogen peroxide, which doesn’t chemically injury water. In addition, in comparison with its wooden pulp counterpart, paper constituted of hemp fibers resists decomposition and doesn’t yellow or brown with age.
Hemp fiber can play a pivotal position in commerce and financial growth. But a very powerful factor governments want to know is hemp’s potential for therapeutic the planet and advancing human well being. As hemp fiber features momentum it’s not a query of phasing out different fibers and utterly changing them with hemp. The attention-grabbing characteristic of the “hemp business model” is that the synergies with current industrial capacities are nearly limitless.
Unlimited. As common, with hemp!
Robert Ziner is Founder & CEO, Canadian Industrial Hemp Corp. (CIHC), Toronto, which is growing a sophisticated hemp stalk processing and optimization system. Ziner has greater than 30 years within the constructing supplies distribution and secondary wooden processing industries.