Scion is a Crown Research Institute that specialises in research, science and technology development for the forestry, wood product, wood-derived materials, and other biomaterial sectors.
There is no shortage of commercial applications for hemp. From food to bioplastics and even biocomposite construction materials like ‘hempcrete’ (hemp fibres and lime), it is clear the fibrous plant has a lot of potential.
Scion is poised to help hemp growers, product designers and innovative brands to cultivate and use this plant in new sustainable products, matching the requirements of a circular bioeconomy.
Handy hemp fibres
There is a growing opportunity to use hemp fibres, an untapped waste stream of the New Zealand hemp growing industry, in various biocomposite or textile applications.
Hemp has long fibres that are suitable for a range of applications including the automotive industry. Mainly for reinforcement of door panels or as insulation material.
Hemp has a high concentration of cellulose, which is great for producing nanocellulose (a thick gel-like material used in nanotechnology and the development of novel and advanced fibres).
Hemp is resource-efficient to grow (no fertiliser or irrigation needed), and has high tensile strength, durability, and absorbency. Hemp is also reported to have anti-mildew and antimicrobial properties and due to its fast growth, stores a lot of atmospheric carbon dioxide.
NMR technology (Metabolic Network Reactor) can help hemp growers. It is used for the fast screening of extracts from hemp particularly the cannabinoids. There have been over 100 identified non-cannabinoid secondary metabolites that have unrealised economic potential. Scion is looking at how to utilise these compounds to make hemp an even more attractive crop.
In a circular bioeconomy none of the carbon goes to waste. So, for the small percentage that will go to medicinal purposes – it doesn’t represent the mass of the bulk of hemp that will be growing as the industry develops.
Scion is looking for other uses for these ‘other’ materials. They will be a suite of things – from new chemicals, to resources for making new biocomposites.
If you would you’d like to chat with someone about how you can benefit from partnering with Scion call: Dr Florian Graichen on 07 343 5899.