Michael Carus

CEO, Division Head Renewable Raw Materials / Market Research, nova-Institut GmbH

woodandpaneleurope Give us an insight how the hemp is expanding its presence in the world of construction and panel manufacturing?
  Michael Carus: Hemp fibers are mainly used in the automotive interior (bio-composites) and as insulation material. Hemp shives (the woody core), with a limited production is used for lightweight panel boards. Only China seems to be indulging on the bigger production capacities.
woodandpaneleurope Can hemp be an alternative for popular boards in furniture manufacturing?
  Michael Carus: Form the mechanical properties YES! The problem lies in the price of the shives.
woodandpaneleurope Do you think it will be widely accepted in terms of industrial application?
  Michael Carus: In terms of lightweight bio-composites hemp is a very attractive fiber which can be used in press moulding, extrusion, resin transfer moulding and injection moulding.
woodandpaneleurope A very general question, how environment friendly hemp is?
  Michael Carus: The carbon footprint is very low, for example, hemp is grown without any plant protection chemicals. The carbon foot print is only 10 per cent compared with glass fibers. The final bio-composite has about 30-40 per cent less greenhouse gas emissions compared to a conventional composite material. The European Industrial Hemp Association (EIHA) will publish soon a study on LCA of hemp applications.
woodandpaneleurope In most of the countries, hemp plantation is banned; don’t you think it’s a hindrance in its popularity?
  Michael Carus: A number of countries including Europe, Canada, China and Thailand produce industrial hemp. It is different from marijuana. The drug content level is extremely low and the flowers and leaves cannot be misused as drug. Twenty years ago it was different, only a few countries allowed the hemp cultivation. But since the nineties more and more countries changed the regulations to discover its potential. Hemp is one of the oldest and strongest natural fibers in the world.

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