Research


November 26, 2009 – Alberta Canada is going green, but not in the way some might think. Just outside the town of Vegreville, the Alberta Research Council is working to add hemp farming to Alberta’s list of lucrative industries.

The Vegreville nursery is home to the largest research and production facility of hemp in North America. Industrial hemp grown in Alberta can be used in a number of products ranging anywhere from textiles to fibreglass. Products made from hemp have less environmental impact than those made from glass or plastics, and in many cases are more energy efficient.

Jan Slaski, breeder and plant physiologist at the Vegreville facility, explained why this is the case.

“Bio composites produced from hemp are more environmentally friendly. Replacing glass fibre with bio-fibre produces a much lighter product. A lighter product means that your car, boat, or airplane is lighter and uses less fuel. High-end European car manufacturers, particularly German manufacturers, use bio-composites in their panels,” he said.

Historically, hemp has been grown in Canada for hundreds of years, but was banned in 1938 due to the associations hemp has with marijuana. This ban was later lifted in 1998. Industrial hemp, unlike marijuana, does not contain high levels of THC, the compound in marijuana that causes intoxication.

According to Slaski, Canada has very strict guidelines for hemp farmers.

“Cultivating hemp in Canada is regulated by Health Canada,” he stated. “The hemp that can be grown in Canada is strictly industrial hemp, and can only contain less than 0.3 per cent THC.”

This amount of THC is not enough to associate industrial hemp with narcotics. Such a low amount of chemical in industrial hemp should take the negative drug associations out of the industry.

The varieties of hemp currently grown in Alberta have mostly European origins. Researchers at the ARC have adapted European varieties to thrive in Alberta’s climate. Researchers have tested about 80 different cultivars (or plant varieties) from different regions to distinguish which varieties grow best in Alberta soil. The ARC has identified a Polish cultivar, also known as the Silesia variety, which has a 20–40 per cent higher crop yield than the cultivars presently allowed for cultivation in Canada. The group owns the sole rights to this variety of hemp in North America, and covers all aspects of hemp from development to processing to production, which is a benefit to the Alberta economy.

“ARC is offering solutions from seeds to the final product. This means we work with hemp to develop new cultivars and new agricultural practices. The new cultivars have a high yield and are adapted to our Alberta climate conditions,” Slaski said “We then take the hemp stock to our facilities in Millwoods, and soon we will have a processing facility in Vegreville, and process it.

The ARC oversees the hemp from seed to the final product. This means that all research, farming, and processing of the fibres is done locally keeping jobs and revenue within Alberta.

Slaski argued that this is a huge benefit to Alberta farmers and the overall economy. It’s also a benefit to individual farmers because hemp is a very lucrative crop.

“Farmers here in the province look for cash crops. They want something they can finally start making money on and hemp provides that opportunity,” Slaski said. Because industrial hemp is relatively new to Alberta, bio-composites are a bit more expensive, but the ARC is setting industry standards.

“At this point, it is a niche market,” Slaski said. “Working with mainstream industry, working with auto industries, buildings, textiles, it means we can get a much larger volume of materials produced and we can re-establish hemp as a valuable crop to Alberta.” By Krista Allan. Source.

The move could see pollution drop down considerably by using Hemp biomass to create plastic.

November 24, 2009 – Up until now, scientists have always considered that the only possible way of producing plastic, one of the main materials in our civilization, is through modifying and altering fossil fuels, primarily oil. But now, a team of South Korean scientists has managed to produce the compound for the first time without using any of these polluting fuels. Rather than extracting it from chemicals, they have managed to bioengineer it, proving once and for all that changes can be made to our way of life through innovation.

The achievement does make one wonder how it is that it was not made in one of the countries where the oil companies ruled, such as the United States or Canada. In short, there is no interest in such products in these nations, where the extent of the influence that oil corporations have on governments is difficult to quantify.

The South Korean accomplishment also points at the fact that the oil industry is indeed dispensable. Previous studies, done elsewhere, also demonstrated that plastic-like compounds, even more efficient than the actual plastics, could be made of hemp as well.

“The polyesters and other polymers we use everyday are mostly derived from fossil oils made through the refinery or chemical process. The idea of producing polymers from renewable biomass has attracted much attention due to the increasing concerns of environmental problems and the limited nature of fossil resources. PLA is considered a good alternative to petroleum based plastics as it is both biodegradable and has a low toxicity to humans,” Professor Sang Yup Lee, the leader of the new study, explains. The research was done by the KAIST University and the Korean chemical company LG Chem.

Until now, the PLA compound has only been produced via an intricate fermentation and polymerization process, but, currently, the team believes that it may have discovered a cheaper, just-as-effective method of synthesizing it. Now, via the use of metabolically engineered strains of E.coli bacteria, the product can be obtained from a simple, direct fermentation process. “By developing a strategy which combines metabolic engineering and enzyme engineering, we’ve developed an efficient bio-based one-step production process for PLA and its copolymers. This means that a developed E. coli strain is now capable of efficiently producing unnatural polymers, through a one-step fermentation process,” Lee adds.

“Global warming and other environmental problems are urging us to develop sustainable processes based on renewable resources. This new strategy should be generally useful for developing other engineered organisms capable of producing various unnatural polymers by direct fermentation from renewable resources,” the expert concludes. Source.

November 18, 2009 – A visit to the Innovation Park at BRE in Watford has been arranged as part of the Natural Fibres 09 conference, which takes place at the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining in London from December 14-16.

The park showcases modern methods of construction and features over 200 different emerging technologies in a number of demonstration properties, including the Renewable Hemp House.

Speaking at the 60th annual congress of CELC – the European Confederation of Flax and Hemp – which took place in Strasbourg, France, from November 4-7, Claude Eichwald of French organisation Construire de Chanvre, said that the use of hemp in concrete was growing, with between 2-4,000 houses now constructed completely from hemp concrete, and many more employing it with mixtures of other building materials. The CELC conference also heard from Rémi Perrin of Strasbourg-based Soprema, which is now manufacturing flax roofing membranes, and Vincent de Sutter of Sutter Freres which has been making natural-fibre based door panels for almost 50 years.

In the latest copy of its journal, CELC outlines the components of a house entirely constructed from natural fibres, as show in the illustration above.

The unique energy efficient house made from hemp at the UK BRE Innovation Park meanwhile, showcases the future of low carbon and sustainable buildings.

The three bedroom Renewable House, which costs £75,000 to build (not including ground works or utilities), uses renewable materials to deliver a well designed, yet low cost, affordable home.

The external walls are constructed from Hemcrete, provided by manufacturer Lime Technology, made from hemp plants grown and harvested in the UK and lime based binder.

It is estimated the carbon footprint of this house will be around 20 tonnes lower than a traditional brick and block house. The hemp absorbs around five tonnes of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere during its rapid growth period, which then becomes locked into the fabric of the building, making the thermal Hemp-Line walling solution ‘carbon negative’.

November 16, 2009 – Alberta, Canada – As combines mowed farmers’ fields across Canadian prairies this fall, there was a scene near Edmonton right out of a time arc-logo1warp: a crew of workers using their hands to harvest plants. They were taking down three-metre-tall hemp plants at a breeding nursery outside of Vegreville. The plants, which dwarfed the workers, were bundled, numbered, bagged and transported to researchers, who see a high-tech future for the ancient plant.

The Alberta Research Council (ARC) is working to help hemp find its way into everything from homes to cars to clothes. It’s part of a campaign to see our agriculture and forestry industries compete in the global push for sustainable products.

“ARC is evaluating hemp as a fibre crop for mature, large-scale industries looking for green products. Alberta’s soil and climate are perfectly suited for growing hemp crops,” says ARC crop and plant physiologist, Jan Slaski. “We analyze the seed and plant for biomass and fibre yield, as part of the breeding program for creating the perfect industrial hemp,” says Slaski. ARC uses advanced breeding techniques to develop traits such as water and nitrogen use efficiency, with no useable trace of the psychoactive compound THC, which is found in marijuana. The breeding program will ultimately lead to a stronger plant with a bigger yield.

In ARC’s Edmonton facility, advanced materials program leader John Wolodko picks up a boat part made from material pressed from hemp and plastic. “This is traditionally made from fiberglass,” he says. “Products made from biocomposites work as well as those made from conventional materials, with the advantages of being lighter and less expensive. The ability of environmentally friendly products to compete with non-renewable products like fiberglass makes for a competitive and promising future for the biocomposites industry.”

Slaski and Wolodko are part of ARC’s biofibre development team, the largest of its kind in Canada, offering solutions from “seed to final product.” Hemp is only one aspect of the biofibre program, but its unrivalled fibre and biomass yield make the fast-growing and versatile crop a potential biocomposite superstar. While wheat straw yields about 3 tonnes of fibre per hectare, hemp weighs in at 10 to 15 tonnes.

Slaski peels a hemp stalk, holds the outer fibre in both hands and yanks with force. The fibre is unrelenting. The peeled outer and inner layers each have different industry potential. Applications for the resilient, long outer (bast) fibre include car parts, textiles, reinforced cement and panel boards for construction. Hemp’s inner core (hurd) fibre is only a half-millimeter long and has only recently seen a high demand. “It is appealing as an absorbent for the oil and gas industry or bedding for livestock operations, since it has no dust,” says Slaski.

Alberta’s new ally for the agriculture and forestry industries is the Alberta Biomaterials Development Centre (ABDC), a $15 million facility set up by the province to bring advanced products and sustainable solutions to market. “The hemp processing challenge is an example of where ABDC will fill technical gaps in processing biomaterials and business gaps to get products to market faster,” says ARC business development manager Richard Gibson.

ABDC offers access to expertise, test facilities, scale-up equipment, validation prototyping and customer-demonstration support. “Bio-industrial entrepreneurs will be able to test their business cases at ABDC,” says Alberta Agriculture program leader and ABDC spokesperson Trevor Kloeck. “Industry will have access to staff and specialized equipment, such as technology used to separate the different hemp fibres. Then the market applications are endless.”

ABDC’s resources work in tandem with those at ARC to form a bridge between the field and the final product. “We have a patent-pending decortication process. This technology produces 10 to 50 mm-length fibres, for biocomposite products and pulp and paper applications,” says ARC research engineer Laura McIlveen. “ABDC has slightly different technology: a long-line decorticator, which processes one-third-metre-length fibre at one tonne an hour.” Both technologies are available through ABDC for pilot scale market assessments.

Hemp is currently grown in Alberta for the high quality oil niche market. But the case for using a new and improved strain of hemp for a broad range of products is becoming stronger by the day. “It also makes sense to include hemp in rotation with wheat and canola,” says Slaski, “since it can reduce the spread of disease and increase the life of the fertility of the soil.”

That could mean that scene out of the time warp will vanish, as hemp becomes a lucrative industrial crop, harvested with high-tech machinery to provide solutions for green products. Source.

November 1, 2009 – Edmonton, Canada— As combines mowed farmers’ fields across Canadian prairies this fall, there was a scene near Edmonton right out of a time warp: – a crew of workers actually using their hands to harvest plants.IB_MPCP_Hemp_Slaski_590_0

The workers were taking down three-metre-tall hemp plants at a breeding nursery outside of Vegreville, AB. The plants, which dwarfed the workers, were being bundled, numbered, bagged and transported to researchers, who see a high-tech future for the ancient plant.

The Alberta Research Council (ARC) is working to help hemp find its way into everything from homes to cars to clothes. It’s part of a campaign to see our agriculture and forestry industries compete in the global push for sustainable products.

“ARC is evaluating hemp as a fibre crop for mature, large-scale industries looking for green products,” ARC crop and plant physiologist, Jan Slaski said. “Alberta’s soil and climate are perfectly suited for growing hemp crops.

“We analyze the seed and plant for biomass and fibre yield, as part of the breeding program for creating the perfect industrial hemp,” he added. ARC uses advanced breeding techniques to develop traits such as water- and nitrogen-use efficiency, with no useable trace of the psychoactive compound THC, which is found in marijuana. It is hoped the breeding program will ultimately lead to a stronger plant with a bigger yield.

In ARC’s Edmonton facility, advanced materials program leader John Wolodko picked up a boat part made from material pressed from hemp and plastic. “This is traditionally made from fiberglass,” he said. “Products made from biocomposites work as well as those made from conventional materials, with the advantages of being lighter and less expensive. The ability of environmentally friendly products to compete with non-renewable products like fiberglass makes for a competitive and promising future for the biocomposites industry.”

Slaski and Wolodko are part of ARC’s biofibre development team, the largest of its kind in Canada, offering solutions from “seed to final product.” Hemp is only one aspect of the biofibre program, but its unrivalled fibre and biomass yield make the fast-growing and versatile crop a potential biocomposite superstar. While wheat straw yields about three tonnes of fibre per hectare, hemp weighs in at 10 to 15 tonnes.

Slaski peeled a hemp stalk, held the outer fibre in both hands and yanked with force. The fibre is unrelenting. The peeled outer and inner layers each have different industry potential. Applications for the resilient, long outer (bast) fibre include car parts, textiles, reinforced cement and panel boards for construction. Hemp’s inner core (hurd) fibre, only a half-millimeter long, has recently seen an increase in demand. “It is appealing as an absorbent for the oil and gas industry or bedding for livestock operations, since it has no dust,” Slaski said.

Alberta’s new ally for the agriculture and forestry industries is the Alberta Biomaterials Development Centre (ABDC), a $15-million facility set up by the province to bring advanced products and sustainable solutions to market. “The hemp processing challenge is an example of where ABDC will fill technical gaps in processing biomaterials and business gaps to get products to market faster,” ARC business development manager Richard Gibson said.

ABDC offers access to expertise, test facilities, scale-up equipment, validation prototyping and customer-demonstration support. “Bio-industrial entrepreneurs will be able to test their business cases at ABDC,” Alberta Agriculture program leader and ABDC spokesperson Trevor Kloeck said. “Industry will have access to staff and specialized equipment, such as technology used to separate the different hemp fibres. Then the market applications are endless.”

ABDC’s resources work in tandem with those at ARC to form a bridge between the field and the final product. “We have a patent-pending decortication process. This technology produces 10 to 50 mm-length fibres, for biocomposite products and pulp and paper applications,” says ARC research engineer Laura McIlveen. “ABDC has slightly different technology: a long-line decorticator, which processes one-third-metre-length fibre at one tonne an hour.” Both technologies are available through ABDC for pilot scale market assessments.

Hemp is currently grown in Alberta for the high-quality oil niche market. But the case for using a new and improved strain of hemp for a broad range of products is becoming stronger by the day. “It also makes sense to include hemp in rotation with wheat and canola,” Slaski said, “since it can reduce the spread of disease and increase the life of the fertility of the soil.”

That could mean that scene out of the time warp will vanish, as hemp becomes a lucrative industrial crop, harvested with high-tech machinery to provide solutions for green products. Source.

September 28, 2009 – A realistic, globally scalable plan to transfer CO2 from the atmosphere into soil and raw materials is already available – it’s called industrial hemp…PD*28303500

Our basic premise is that hemp is far more productive than typical agro-forestry projects, producing annual, versatile biomass alongside more rapid CO2 uptake. It can produce a vast range of sustainable raw materials with an overall low environmental impact, as well as improving soil structure, using low fertilizer and no other chemical inputs (i.e. reduced agrochemical residues).

Hemp can be grown on existing agricultural land (unlike most forestry projects), and can be included as part of a farm’s crop rotation with positive effects on overall yields of follow on crops. This, along with super versatility in diverse soil conditions and climates, makes hemp cultivation a viable and genuine potential large scale contributor to GHG mitigation.

Replacing Unsustainable Raw Materials

The vast quantities of hemp derived products and raw materials created by large scale cultivation could replace many oil-based unsustainable products and materials, particularly in construction, locking in captured CO2 and creating secondary benefits to the global environment. In particular, hemp could be used to replace significant quantities of tree-derived products, allowing reduced use of existing tree populations, thus maintaining their CO2 uptake.

Hemp also produces much higher quantities of stronger and more versatile fibre than cotton, and many other fibre crops, which often have very high chemical residue and water footprints. Extra processing required by hemp is also at least partially offset by its recycling potential.
Carbon Absorption of Hemp – HGS Preliminary Conclusions

Our carbon uptake estimates are calculated by the examining the carbon content of the molecules that make up the fibres of the hemp stem. Industrial hemp stem consists primarily of Cellulose, Hemicellulose and Lignin, whose chemical structure, carbon content, (and therefore absorbed CO2) are shown in the following section:

* Cellulose, 70% of stem dry weight:

Fig 1: Chemical structure of Cellulose (Hon, 1996).

Cellulose is a homogeneous linear polymer constructed of repeating glucose units. The carbon content of cellulose accounts for 45% of its molecular mass.

* Hemicellulose, 22% of stem dry weight:

Fig 2 : Chemical structure of Hemicellulose (Puls and Schuseil, 1993).

Hemicellulose provides a linkage between cellulose & lignin. It has a branched structure consisting of various pentose sugars. Based on an example of hemicellulose structure like the acetylated xylan chain with ? – 1, 2 bond to 4 – O – methyl glucuronic acid & an ? – 1, 3 bond to L – arabinofuranose pictured above the carbon content of hemicellulose accounts for 48% of its molecular mass.

* Lignin, 6% of stem dry weight:

Fig 3. Chemical structure of Lignin (Hon, 1996).

Lignin is a strengthening material usually located between the cellulose microfibrils. The lignin molecule has a complex structure that is probably always is variable (3). Using the example above, the carbon content is calculated to be 40% of the molecular mass.

To summarise the above, one tonne of harvested stem contains:

0.7 tonnes of cellulose (45% Carbon)
0.22 tonnes of hemicellulose (48% Carbon)
0.06 tonnes of lignin (40% Carbon)

It follows that every tonne of industrial hemp stems contains 0.445 tonnes Carbon absorbed from the atmosphere (44.46% of stem dry weight).

Converting Carbon to CO2 (12T of C equals 44T of CO2(IPCC)), that represents 1.63 tonnes of CO2 absorption per tonne of UK Hemp stem harvested. On a land use basis, using Hemcore’s yield averages (5.5 to 8 T/ha), this represents 8.9 to 13.4 tonnes of CO2 absorption per hectare of UK Hemp Cultivation.

For the purposes estimation, we use an average figure of 10T/ha of CO2 absorption, a figure we hold to be a reasonably conservative estimate. This is used to predict carbon yields, but CO2 offsets will be based on dry weight yields as measured at the weighbridge.

The roots and leaf mulch (not including the hard to measure fibrous root material) left in situ represented approximately 20% of the mass of the harvested material in HGS’ initial field trials. The resulting Carbon content absorbed but remaining in the soil, will therefore be approximately 0.084 tonnes per tonne of harvested material. (42% w/w) (5).

Using Hemcore’s UK yield estimates (5.5 – 8 T/ha) this represents 0.46 to 0.67 tonnes of Carbon per hectare (UK) absorbed but left in situ after Hemp cultivation.

That represents 1.67 to 2.46 T/ha of CO2 absorbed but left in situ per hectare of UK Hemp Cultivation.

Final figures after allowing 16% moisture (Atmospheric ‘dry’ weight) are as follows:

CO2 Absorbed per tonne of hemp stem 1.37t
CO2 Absorbed per hectare (stem) (UK) 7.47 to 11.25t
CO2 Absorbed per hectare (root and leaf) UK) 1.40 to 2.06t

Hemp ‘Self Offsetting.’

According to Defra, UK Farming emits a total CO2 equivalent of 57 millions tonnes in GHG’s. UK agricultural land use is 18.5 million hectares. This amounts to an average of around 3.1 tonnes of CO2 per hectare total embodied emissions. As a low fertiliser and zero pesticide/herbicide crop, with little management input, the carbon emissions of hemp cultivation is well below the average. Therefore we can assume the matter remaining in soils roughly offsets the cultivation and management emissions.

References

1. Hon, D.N.S. (1996) A new dimensional creativity in lignocellulosic chemistry. Chemical modification of lignocellulosic materials. Marcel Dekker. Inc. New York.(5)

2. Puls,J., J. Schuseil (1993). Chemistry of hemicelluloses: Relationship between hemicellulose structure and enzymes required for hydrolysis. In: Coughlan M.P., Hazlewood G.P. editors. Hemicellulose and Hemicellulases. Portland Press Research Monograph, 1993. (5)

3. Bjerre, A.B., A.S. Schmidt (1997). Development of chemical and biological processes for production of bioethanol: Optimization of the wet oxidation process and characterization of products, Riso-R-967(EN), Riso National Laboratory, Roskilde, Denmark. (5)

4. Anne Belinda Thomsen, Soren Rasmussen, Vibeke Bohn, Kristina Vad Nielsen and Anders Thygese (2005) Hemp raw materials: The effect of cultivar, growth conditions and pretreatment on the chemical composition of the fibres. Riso National Laboratory Roskilde
Denmark
March 2005. ISBN 87-550-3419-5.

5. Roger M Gifford (2000) Carbon Content of Woody Roots, Technical Report N.7, Australian Greenhouse Office.

These figures do not include the additional carbon dioxide that is saved by substituting unsustainable raw materials, to end products derived from harvested hemp that effectively locks in CO2. Such products include, building materials, plastics, cosmetics, composite boards and insulation materials. According to Limetechnology Ltd, Hemcrete locks up around 110kg of CO2 per m3 of wall, compared to the 200kg of CO2 emitted by standard concrete. It also excludes the carbon savings of replacing tree-derived products and leaving trees to continue to absorb CO2

Accurate Validation

Biomass is produced by the photosynthetic conversion of atmospheric carbon. The carbon uptake of hemp can be accurately validated annually by calculations derived from dry weight yield. This yield is checked at the weighbridge for commercial reasons prior to processing.

Highly accurate figures for total biomass yield and carbon uptake can then be made, giving a level of certainty not available through any other natural carbon absorption process.

Sources: http://mrgreenbiz.wordpress.com/2009/09/28/hemp-co2-the-science/
http://www.hempglobalsolutions.com/science2.php

August 20, 2009 – In a white cloud of pollen, 43 acres of hemp was harvested from Hartacre Farms last Tuesday. Herb Hart grew the crop in DisplayPhoto.ashxpartnership with Performance Plants Inc. of Kingston, as part of a biofuels project for Lafarge Bath Cement plant, which is working on methods of reducing their reliance on fossil fuels.

According to Kevin Gellatly, director of biofuels business development and media relations for Performance Plants, this particular test plot faced some challenges.

“There were some tough conditions on the lower ground, it got rained out.” There were delays in planting, and then rain and more rain which soaked out some of the seeds.

Gellatly said they were hoping for four to five tonnes per acre, but final yield won’t be determined for a while.

Because it’s a test plot, the seed was provided to Hart, but he said the input costs for the entire season were much lower compared to corn, but similar to other crops. Based on soil tests at the beginning of the season, he added 100 pounds of potash, 25 pounds of 11-52-0 and 20 gallons of UAN. The test plot Hart used is a randomly-tiled field and he said “you can see the patterns of the tiles in the height of the plants.”

“I added no chemicals after planting and that’s one of the biggest savings right there,” he added.

One other positive impact of hemp is that it breaks the disease cycle of other crops, as it is added into a crop rotation, according to Gellatly.

Industrial hemp has been used for centuries for fine fibres, sail cloth, and rope. Some of the hemp Hart was harvesting was up to eight feet tall. Because of the length and strength of the fibres harvesting hemp is a special challenge, and Larry Palmateer of Tweed was brought in by Hart.

This hemp is destined for a furnace, so the strands were not preserved. Instead a special double ‘conditioning’ system on a disc-bine, notches the stalks at one inch intervals to aid in the drying.

“It’s the best machine we’ve found for hay and it helps condition it,” said Palmateer.

The mower is specialized to hemp because a normal mower would get gummed up by the long tough fibres. This is another of the cost factors that Palmateer, growers, and end users have to deal with. The same equipment used for corn and other grains can’t be used with the hemp.

In all, 20 hemp fields are being tested as well as a sterile corn variety. After its baled into square bales, it will be ground up to be fired at the same time as coal in the kiln furnace at Lafarge. There is a special grinder/chopper being installed on site at the plant.

According to Gellatly, there will be a test burn at Lafarge in October with all kinds of things being measured in the emissions, in the temperature of the burn, even the quality of the cement product using the alternative fuel source.

“Just making sure it’s a viable alternative to coal.”

Gellatly says all indications are that using biofuels will improve air quality.

“There’ll be no negatives, it will be very seamless,” he said.

To improve the hemp variety, which is called Anka, PPI uses an accelerated breeding program.

“We’re looking for any ways we can to increase the tonnes per acre,” said Gellatly.

“If you can increase the tonnage that’s going to decrease the price for Lafarge and still provide the farmers a good return.”

As well as all the tests at Lafarge, PPI will be conducting a three-year, detailed assessment of the impact of hemp cultivation on soil quality – a seed-to-flame life cycle assessment.

While Ontario is experiencing a wet summer, hemp crops grown in Western Canada will be good candidates for drought tolerance testing.

“When you’re trying to produce biomass, you just want it to keep growing and growing,” Gellatly said, noting that if suddenly Lafarge decides hemp is the way to go, tens of thousands of acres will be needed to supply the demand.

Gellatly said, “there is lot of pressure to reduce carbon emissions so they’re experimenting with replacing a percentage of coal with biomass.”

PPI is trying to improve the genetics of the hemp with increased yield, increased stress tolerance, and decreased cost per tonne.

“The whole objective for the biomass industry is to get to the price of coal,” he said. Currently biomass is about the double the price. It also has other challenges such as storage. Coal can be heaped, can get wet, and can be stored in varied conditions. The hemp is sensitive to light and moisture. By Aimee Pianosi. Source.

Visit http://www.performanceplants.com.

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