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Dutch News

18 October 2014
Dutch produce hemp fibre again

Besides cannabis the Dutch production of hemp fibres is reintroduced in the Netherlands. For thousands of years hemp fibres were used for clothing, rope and sails, but when cheaper synthetic fibres were introduced, around 100 years ago, hemp got out of favour. Now the strong and anti-fungal hemp thread can find its way to the car-, furniture- and even  glass wool industry.


Since the turn of the century it became clear that there are many disadvantages in the production of cotton and at the same time there was more interest in the circular economy and durable production. For the producing cotton much more water is needed, while at the same time the hemp fibre is much stronger.

 

Two Dutch agricultural engineers started experiments to find new techniques for the hemp fibre production. They found out that steam explosion breaks down the hemp into fibres, without the use of water or chemicals. The research was supported by 15 parties in The Netherlands and Germany and with subsidies from the EU.

 

It did not work because manufacturers are conservative and the hemp fibre is twice as expensive as cotton, but because of the popularity of durable products the production starts becoming profitable. The old European textile industry can make a new durable start.




 

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