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Hemp is "more efficient than trees" at absorbing carbon, says Cambridge researcher

Hemp is a "versatile crop"

Cambridge University researcher Darshil Shah says hemp can capture atmospheric carbon twice as efficiently as forests, while providing carbon-neutral biomaterials for architects and designers.

“Many studies believe that hemp is one of the best converters of CO2 to biomass,” said Shah, who is a senior researcher at the Cambridge Center for Natural Material Innovation.

“It is even more efficient than trees. Industrial hemp absorbs between 8 and 15 tonnes of CO2 per hectare of crop. In comparison, forests typically capture 2 to 6 tonnes of CO2 per hectare per year, depending on the number of years of growth, climatic region, type of trees, etc. "

Bioplastics and low carbon building materials made from this plant can be used to “replace fiberglass composites, aluminum and other materials in a variety of applications”, a- he added.

The Center for Natural Material Innovation, part of the Architecture Department at Cambridge University, conducts recherches on biomaterials to “transform the way we build to achieve zero carbon emissions”.

Shah's work focuses on engineered wood, bamboo, and natural fiber composites, as well as hemp, which he describes as "a versatile crop that offers materials and resources in multiple forms." "

Hemp, or industrial hemp, is a variety of the Cannabis sativa plant but contains very low levels of the psychoactive compound tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) compared to marijuana, which is another variety.

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Bioplastics and carbon neutral building materials made from the plant can be used to "replace fiberglass composites, aluminum and other materials in a variety of applications," he said. he adds.

The Center for Natural Material Innovation, part of the Department of Architecture at Cambridge University, conducts research on biomaterials to “transform the way we build to achieve zero carbon emissions”.

Shah's work focuses on engineered wood, bamboo, and natural fiber composites, as well as hemp, which he describes as "a versatile crop that offers materials and resources in multiple forms." "

Today, hemp is increasingly used to make bioplastics, building materials and biofuels, as well as products containing cannabidiol (CBD), an active ingredient touted for its purported health benefits. The strong, stiff fibers that form the outside of the rod can be used to produce bioplastic products, including auto parts and even wind turbine blades and siding panels, Shah said.

With bioplastic hemp siding panels, we find that they are a suitable alternative to aluminum, bitumen plastic and galvanized steel panels, requiring only 15-60% of the energy required for their production.

Shives, which are the woody inner part of the stem, can be used to making "hemp concrete", a material for filling and insulating non-load-bearing walls.

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Shah pointed out that unlike conventional agriculture, which emits large amounts of carbon, hemp farms do the opposite.

Farmland in the UK, on ​​average, emits around 3 tonnes of CO2 per hectare per year, ”he said. “Hemp offers an incredible field of action to grow a better future”. In addition, hemp produces more usable fiber per hectare than forestry.

We can produce bioplastics which can replace fiberglass composites

Shah recently worked with filmmaker Steve Barron, who converted the 21 hectare Margent farm in Cambridgeshire to hemp production and used the harvest for build your own house.

The farm cultivates industrial hemp organically, further reducing emissions compared to conventional agriculture, where between 30 and 40% of emissions come from fertilizers and pesticides.

Mr. Shah is working with the farm to develop new low-carbon materials that could be used in manufacturing and construction.

"With Margent Farm's hemp fibers, and using 100% bio-based resins, we can produce bioplastics that can replace fiberglass composites, aluminum and other materials in a variety of applications." , does he have declared.

We can use the wealth of textile science knowledge that humans have accumulated over thousands of years to produce a range of textile fiber composites with properties suitable for non-structural products.

Tags : biotechnologyEnvironment
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