Research – Hemp Products
The re-emergence of the hemp industry in Australia depends on innovation: finding new uses for this versatile hemp products. It also relies on replacing toxic materials and processes with new, clean sustainable industrial inputs and procedures.
Ecofibre for Research on Hemp Products
To that end, Ecofibre Industries regularly collaborates with people, companies and institutions that share our vision of a better tomorrow. We are constantly seeking new collaborations and great ideas.
We have previously worked with the Queensland DPI, University of New South Wales and Southern Cross University as well as a number of private companies and individuals in product development. For example, we have been working with a French company who has developed traditional oil-based plastic compounds combined with up to 40% hemp fibre. The addition of hemp fibre increases the strength of the plastic while reducing overall weight AND cost of the final product.
We undertake this research in the spirit of sharing and cooperation. Ecofibre grows and processes hemp. But it is up to YOU to create the technologies and build the businesses that will bring hemp and all of its benefits to market. We are actively seeking Australia based cement and concrete manufacturers, plastic compounders and plastics product manufacturers to utilise these technologies and create industrial demand for hemp. Any Australian based manufacturing concern interested in creating sustainable products for the future are encouraged to contact us with questions about how fibre hemp can and should be integrated into your products.
Hemp Products – Growing Buildings?
In-house research, local partnerships and collaboration with a large European hemp company are all directed towards producing hemp concrete and building blocks. Hemp concrete is simply lime-based cement mixed with 40-60% hemp hurd. The resulting concrete is acoustically and thermally more insulating than standard concrete and a typical building block is 1/5 of the weight of standard building blocks.
Not only will the Australian debut of hemp building products produce superior buildings and reduce transportation costs (and associated pollution), but the manufacturing process will produce 40-60% less carbon emmissions and the hemp incorporated into the product will absorb and sequester additional carbon from our atmosphere.
Hemp: Soft as Cotton…Hard as Steel…Solid as a Rock?
Ecofibre is working in collaboration with materials engineers at a prominent university in New Zealand on several projects destined to replace materials that damage the environment. One project is seeking to use enzymes to break down raw rough hewn hemp fibre into a textile quality product as fine as cotton, and in some cases silk. This is important because some estimates say that cotton cultivation is responsible for 50% of the (petroleum based) pesticides used for agriculture in the world. Hemp requires little or no pesticides.
Another project involves pultrusion. Pultrusion techniques involve subjecting bundles of hemp fibre to extreme physical pressure creating a material that is stronger than steel, yet biodegradable when product lifecycle is completed. Could skyscraper beams be made of hemp one day? We’re trying to find out.
A project in New Zealand revolves around catalysing the petrification process for hemp hurd to be used in hemp concrete as described above. Hemp hurd must be pre-petrified to become pest and fire resistant before being incorporated into building materials. These processes will allow us to build hemp buildings that can last 2000 years. (All of this technology is based on the discovery of an ancient Roman Aqueduct in France that was made from lime and hemp hurd and is still standing today!)
Free Thinkers, Tinkerers, Inventors and Creators
Brilliant people from Australia and around the globe regularly contact us and ask us for a bit of hemp here and there. We’re generally glad to help out. People are currently developing products as diverse as hemp skateboards, hemp rock-climbing holds, hemp plastic bottles, cattle feed, more sanitary bedding for animals and poultry and there is even a hemp surfboard out there. Have a great idea and the means to make a prototype? Give us a call.