Using Kenaf For Bioplastic  

Posted by Big Gav in , ,

Farm Online reports that the Queensland Kenaf industry has been "boosted by new investment", with the hope that the crop will be used as a bioplastic feedstock.

State Trade Minister John Mickel said the NTA Group, owned by Nature Trust of Japan, recently completed construction of a factory at Childers and has Japanese and Australian patents pending for a machine to separate the bark and core of the kenaf plant. In alliance with Isis Central Sugar Mill, NTA is already growing more than 150 hectares of kenaf at Childers.

"The factory, which will employ 10 people on a full-time basis, is expected to produce fibre and core from the kenaf when it reaches full production capacity," Mr Mickel said. "Kenaf fibre can be used as an environmentally friendly bioplastic product, and, with high growth and CO2 absorption rates, its products complement the Queensland Government's policies supporting environmentally friendly and sustainable agriculture." ...

NTA has identified kenaf for use as garden mulch and has already started producing high water-holding capacity kenaf mulch at its factory.

I'd never heard of Kenaf, but it turns out this is a polite word for "hemp", which has a long history of firm support (and even more firm suppression) as a crop for both industrial and recreational uses. Apparently Kenaf is also the optimal material for making paper, though its use in this area (in Australia) has been hamstrung by the catch-22 situation of no growers wanting to produce a crop for which no pulp mill exists, and no paper manufacturer wanting to build a plant in the north for which no feedstock is currently being grown.

The Queensland Government has a guide to kenaf production in north Queensland, noting it would "fit well in the sugar farming system as an income-producing fallow crop".

1 comments

mysterious.delicious   says 7:06 PM

Actually, kenaf is not hemp in the sense you are referring to at all. it has never been supressed as a crop and is unrelated to cannabis. It is actually related to the hibiscus and thus includes other crops such as rosellas, and okra. I am becoming increasingly more and more interested in this plant.

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