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SA processing facility could see more houses made from homegrown hemp fibre

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SA processing facility could see more houses made from homegrown hemp fibre

An industrial hemp processing facility is set to begin working later this yr, which might result in extra South Australians dwelling in houses created from carbon impartial fibre.

Australian plant processing firm Vircura is growing the ability as a part of a brand new innovation precinct in Monarto, on the web site of a former retail warehouse.

Vircura basic supervisor Adam Djekic mentioned industrial hemp was a flexible materials.

“It may be put into a spread of merchandise from constructing merchandise, like hempcrete, to textiles,” he mentioned.

Whereas hempcrete is a mix of the woody element of the plant’s stem and a lime-binding agent, Vircura plans to make use of hemp fibre to develop new merchandise like precast panels for inner partitions.

College of Adelaide’s Professor Rachel Burton says constructing with hemp has many advantages.

Four men, seen from a high vantage point, inspect plants in a huge field of hemp.
Adam Djekic and Martyn England examine the economic hemp crop with growers.(Provided: Vircura)

“It is carbon impartial and it is received fairly uncommon properties, as a result of it is fairly breathable, so it [creates] a good ambiance in the home,” she mentioned.

“It is also a fireplace retardant and it is received actually good insulation properties.”

A close up of a hemp stalk held by two white hands that are pulling the hemp fibre apart against a blue sky.
Fibre sorts of hemp develop as much as 4 metres tall, have a thicker stem and produce little or no seed. (Provided: Vircura)

Mr Djekic mentioned employee recruitment for the ability had begun and the primary hemp processing machines have been anticipated to reach subsequent month. 

“We’ll be taking a look at roughly six to eight tonnes of processing capability, to begin out,” he mentioned.

“The plan is to scale that up sizeably over the following yr or two.

“It has an enormous potential not just for farmers, but additionally for the individuals surrounding Monarto — it can create lots of of jobs alongside that total worth chain.”

One crop, two incomes

Till now Bordertown-based Mick Anderson has been targeted on rising and processing hemp for meals merchandise.

Nevertheless, the Good Nation Hemp proprietor says the brand new facility will permit him to diversify his efforts.

“It’s not all that totally different, rising hemp for fibre might be a bit extra forgiving than rising hemp for seed,” he mentioned.

A man stands in a field with crops around him
Hemp grower and processor Mick Anderson in his hemp crop in Bordertown in SA’s South East.(Provided: Mick Anderson)

Mr Anderson hopes that having one other endpoint for hemp will encourage extra farmers within the state’s South East to contemplate rising the crop.

“On the final rely there have been six hemp fibre processing vegetation in both planning or building part [across the country],” he mentioned.

“We want some extra acres to develop the hemp to feed these processing vegetation.”

Whereas this season’s crop will simply be for industrial hemp, Mr Anderson hopes that subsequent yr he will be capable to harvest each seed and industrial hemp from the identical crop.

“The true problem is the equipment that is wanted to try this,” he mentioned.

“These machines do not come low cost and there is solely two that I do know of in Australia in the mean time.”

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