Table of Contents
ISRN Agronomy
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 647867, 5 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.5402/2012/647867
Research Article

Design of Competitive Processing Plants for Hemp Fibre Production

Leibniz Institute for Agricultural Engineering Potsdam-Bornim (ATB), Max-Eyth-Allee 100, 14469 Potsdam, Germany

Received 27 April 2012; Accepted 10 June 2012

Academic Editors: C. B. Pandey and A. K. Patra

Copyright © 2012 Ralf Pecenka et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Despite an annually growing demand for natural fibres accompanied by worldwide increasing fibre prices as well as long tradition and experience in fibre processing, the production facilities for hemp and flax fibres are very limited in Europe. At present, the lack of modern harvesting and economic processing technologies seem to be the greatest obstacles for hemp fibre producers under the changing conditions of international raw material markets. Therefore, detailed investigations of all process stages of hemp fibre processing have been carried out at the Leibniz Institute for Agricultural Engineering (ATB). A novel hemp processing line has been developed, installed, and tested at industrial scale in the last 3 years. Investigations regarding optimum plant layout have shown that a straw throughput of approximately 4 t h−1 is required for economic fibre production for all new processing lines at currently high straw prices of more than 150 € t−1. Throughputs in the range from 4 to 6 t h−1 showed a favourable relation between profit and investment cost. At throughputs higher than 6 t h−1, the profit per ton processed straw can be further increased. But investment and straw logistic cost increase at these high-throughput levels often much faster.