Fibre Processing Pilot Plant - InnoTech Alberta
The fibre processing pilot plant located at the Vegreville facility concentrates on decorticating hemp and flax fibres. This 13,000 sq. ft. facility, designed and built by Belgium-based Cretes Engineering, can separate either hemp or flax straw into bast (outer fibre) and hurd (inner fibre) at a rate of 1 tonne of input per hour. This one of a kind, state of the art facility was built in 2011 with funding provided by the Alberta Government.
The facility works with industry partners to provide raw materials for a variety of biomaterial products. We work with industry partners to fine tune the decortication process to provide the specifications of fibre products they need. These specifications include but are not limited to hurd size, fibre cleanliness, and fibre length. The resultant fibre can then be used to create products such as hempcrete, animal bedding, textiles, growth medium, paper or non-woven mats. Various forms of hempcrete can be used for residential or commercial buildings. The non-woven mats can be molded into products such as car parts or briefcases, or they can be used for geotextiles or even for growth mats for micro-greens. Hurd can be used for growth medium for mushroom growers.
Straw processed at the Vegreville pilot plant is either grown on site or purchased from hemp or flax growers. This raw material is the most important part of determining the suitability of the produced fibre for end products. Therefore, we work with our clients to determine varieties of hemp and flax that are best suited to their needs and to determine best practices that can provide the highest quality fibres. These practices include how to ret, how long to ret, and how to harvest the straw.
Another capability of the fibre processing pilot plant is the pelleting of biomaterials. Our pellet mill can be used to pelletize anything from wheat straw to wood bark. The capacity of the system is about 75 kg/hour, depending on the material being used. The pellets produced can not only be used as a fuel for heating; but for feed, animal bedding or feedstock for biochar.