Hemp Fibre  
     
     
  Hemp Tow Waste Production Map  
 

Hemp Fibre

 

Hemp fibre is obtained from the bast of the plant Cannabis sativa L. It grows easily - to a height of 4 m without agrochemicals and captures large quantities of carbon. Production of hemp is restricted in some countries, where the plant is confused with marijuana. Optimum yield of hemp fibre is more than 2 tonnes per ha, while average yields are around 650 kg. 

Long, strong and durable, hemp fibres are about 70% cellulose and contain low levels of lignin (around 8-10%). The fibre diameter ranges from 16 to 50 microns. Hemp fibre conducts heat, dyes well, resists mildew, blocks ultraviolet light and has natural anti-bacterial properties. Shorter, woody core fibres ("tow") contain higher levels of lignin. 

To achieve an optimum hemp yield, twice as much nutrient must be available to the crop as will finally be removed from the soil at harvest. A hemp field produces a very large bulk of vegetative material in a short vegetative period. The nitrogen uptake is most intensive the first 6 to 8 weeks, while potassium and in particular phosphorous are needed more during flowering and seed formation. Industrial hemp requires 105 to 130 lbs/acre (120 to 150 kg/ha) nitrogen, 45 to 70 lbs/acre (50 to 80 kg/ha) phosphate and 52 to 70 lbs/acre (60 to 80 kg/ha) potash. Hemp prefers a mild climate, humid atmosphere, and a rainfall of at least 25-30 inches per year. Good soil moisture is required for seed germination and until the young plants are well established.

Hemp has been used for centuries to make rope, canvas and paper. Long hemp fibres can be spun and woven to make crisp, linen-like fabric used in clothing, home furnishing textiles and floor coverings. In China, hemp is de-gummed for processing on flax or cotton machinery. Blending with cotton, linen, silk and wool gives hemp a softer feel, while adding resistance and durability to the product.

In Europe, hemp fibres are used mainly in the special paper industry.  Hemp fibres are also used to reinforce moulded thermoplastics in the automobile industry. The short core fibres go into insulation products, fibreboard and erosion control mats, while the fibrous core can be blended with lime to make strong, lightweight concrete.

The world hemp production map and available statistics on ramie is given below:

 

 

 

 

     
     
  Hemp Tow Waste Production Graph  
     
 

 
     
     
  Hemp Tow Waste (‘000 MT)  
     
 

Country

2004

2005

2006

2007

2008

2009

2010

2011

World (Total)

72.8

78.7

113.3

77.1

71.3

79.7

81.0

82.0

Ukraine

1.0

1.0

1.0

1.0

1.0

1.0

1.0

1.0

Romania

1.9

4.7

2.4

3.0

3.0

3.0

3.0

3.0

Russian Federation

1.5

1.5

1.5

1.5

1.5

1.5

1.5

1.5

Italy

1.3

1.2

1.2

1.2

1.3

1.3

1.3

1.3

Hungary

0.6

0.5

0.5

0.5

0.5

0.5

0.5

0.5

France

6.8

7.1

2.5

1.0

1.0

1.0

1.0

1.0

emocratic People's Republic of Korea

13.0

13.0

13.0

13.0

13.7

14.0

14.0

14.0

hile

4.4

4.4

4.4

4.4

4.4

4.4

4.4

4.4

China

36.0

41.3

82.9

47.9

41.0

44.0

45.0

46.0

Austria

2.5

1.9

3.7

2.5

1.9

2.5

3.3

3.1

Turkey

0.6

0.1

0.1

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

Spain

3.0

1.8

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

 
 
     
     
     

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