Can Hemp Compete against Rayon? My Guess is No.

I am looking for a job and came across this company called, Cosmo Specialty Fibers. They don’t go into great detail about what they do exactly on their website, but they have a Youtube video that is a little more revealing. They create rayon through several steps in processing of wood fibers, all from hemlock. There is some environmental pollution created from the processing.

Ideally, what they are removing from the hemlock are lignins. The lignins are further turned into viscose and acetate. These materials are used in creating rayon. The rayon is used in clothing and other cloth-related materials, such as for car tires.

There are several factors to take into account which makes more sense to pursue. Yes, hemp can be used for everything that hemlock is used for. However, you have to consider where you want to locate your factory and what grows best around it. For example, in northern Washington, there are large numbers of hemlock that can be used. So, it makes sense to produce rayon fibers because the raw materials have a shorter delivery distance to the factory.

There is a difference in the lignin %, with hemp containing only 4-10% lignin against the 18-30% found in wood. So, it takes a lot of hemp to equal the lignins found in hemlock trees. But, you may want to consider the grow cycles. What if there is a huge forest fire or disease that kills off the hemlock. Remember the elm disease that decimated the elm trees a few decades back? The threat is there.

It may be wise to maintain a small operation for creating hemp fibers. Hemp is easy and faster to grow than trees. You can get products put on shelves in a shorter production cycle. With hemp, you don’t have to worry so much about resource management. However, with hemlock trees, they need a longer grow cycle of many years to develop. You can get more product available at once, but the bottle neck is found in their long growth cycle.

So, being successful in producing products made of hemp require having all the right resources in place that can make it profitable. Most people may want to grow hemp year after year and use a processing factory nearby. Transportation costs can get the way of the business being successful enough for creating fibers.


Twitter: @acumagnet



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