First of all, what is Hemp?
Everyone has heard of “cannabis” – a plant that has taken the global health and wellness industry by storm and is poised to spark an eco-industrial revolution. Industrial hemp is defined as any part of the cannabis plant containing a THC concentration of no more than 0.3% on a dry weight basis. Anything over 0.3% on a dry weight basis is classified as “Marijuana”.
Industrial hemp or hemp is a species of the marijuana plant, typically Sativa. Sativa species have one of the highest CBD (Cannabidiol) concentrations that make them perfect for cultivating CBD.
Types of Hemp Biomass
Hemp Biomass is the remaining dry plant matter (stalks, leaves). In the industry, most other biomass definitions also include the flowers, but with hemp, the flower is only also considered biomass after extraction has taken place. Therefore, we can distinguish the three primary parts of the hemp plant when we talk about biomass: hemp flowers, leaves, and stalks. The highest CBD concentration can be found in the flower, but it can also be extracted from the stalk.
There are two different types of biomass stemming from industrial hemp. The first type, CBD Biomass, is used for the production of CBD from the harvested flowers of the hemp plant. Depending on how they are dried, they can come in different qualities and grades, ready to be processed.
The other type is called hemp fibre biomass and takes into account the other parts of the hemp plant that are left over as “waste” such as the leaves and stalks. That being said, although not as lucrative as CBD, the hemp fibre biomass can still be processed and made into fuel or energy which we will explore later on.
CBD Hemp Biomass
Hemp flowers are used for CBD extraction to be turned into products. The flower is sent to a processing facility where different techniques are used to extract the CBD.
With the passing of various farm bills over the last few years, the CBD market is rapidly expanding as restrictions are cut back based on proven scientific health benefits. Today, CBD has over 25,000 use cases ranging from – supplements, lotions, food & beverages, and much more. The demand for CBD Hemp Biomass has never been higher and is projected to continue its growth in the years to come rapidly increasing the demand. Thankfully companies like Trichome AG are able to lead the way and produce hemp flower biomass at an industrial scale to meet those demands.
Hemp Fibre Biomass
Hemp fibre biomass also referred to as industrial hemp biomass, consists of the stalks and leaves of the hemp plant. Hemp fibre biomass provides a great long term outlook for farmers and can be used in a variety of different ways, from producing textiles to fueling machinery. Industrial hemp has lower levels of CBD and requires different processes, depending on the kind of product it’s used to create. For example, when industrial hemp is used to create clothes, it must go through a retting process. The retting process consists of applying moisture to the materials in order to separate the fibres. Today, hemp fibre biomass has many cases ranging from – green building materials to renewable energy sources.
Bioenergy has rapidly gained market share as the world looks to cut down the dependency on fossil fuels. Most biofuel crops actually have a negative impact on the environment – requiring too much water, or creating harmful emissions. This is where industrial hemp comes in – it is a high energy crop, that is for the most part resilient – requiring minimal care and with no or little environmental impact.
From the CBD applications of hemp biomass for consumer products to the industrial use cases of hemp fibre – the outlook on hemp biomass is very bright.