Hemp could be the crop of the future

Jan 10, 2012 by
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One day, hemp will be big. Really big. Its fibre makes an excellent replacement for fibreglass in car manufacture, building insulation and bonded reinforced plastics. It can even be used for brake pads.

 

Its woody core, or shiv, is well established as horse bedding, but it is finding a more lucrative use as the key ingredient in a novel, thermally-efficient building system.

 

On top of this, the crop needs few inputs, adding to its green credentials. Indeed, it has been hailed by some commentators as the crop that holds the key to a greener future.

 

However, the world is not ready yet for hemp on a large scale, says Mike Duckett, director of Hemp Technology, the UK’s largest hemp processor based in Halesworth, Suffolk.

 

“Hemp has a great future, but the real breakthrough will come when the price of oil rises to a level that makes the fibre widely attractive as a replacement to man-made alternatives. That could be in a couple of years or 10 years – no-one knows.

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