Utilization of hemp waste

Brown, Melvin
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Chemical and Biological Engineering

Hemp has been grown in the United States since early colonial days. However, until 1943 the acreage of this crop was not very extensive. In 1942 the hemp acreage in the United States was about 13,500 acres (26). In 1943, due to the urgent need for large quantities by the armed services, the hemp acreage was increased to about 176,000 acres (26). Whether hemp will be grown on a large scele after the present emergency will depend upon whether it can be grown economically enough to compete with other fibers.[...] However, the prices prevailing in 1943 are abnormal due to wartime conditions. It is doubtful whether hemp could compete favorably with corn in the postwar years because of renewed competition with cheap imported fibers, such as jute, sissal, and abaca. It is clear, therefore, that if the hemp industry is to survive on a large scale in the United States some additional source of income will have to be found. The most promising source of additional income would be the utilization of the waste hurds in such a way that the hurds would become valuable enough to pay for part of the expense of producing the hemp crop. The hurds are attractive as an agricultural by-product because they are segregated at the hemp mill and, unlike cornstalks, straw, and similar materials, do not have to be gathered together in the fields by a special operation in order to be delivered to a factory. The purpose of this study is to develop a process for utilizing the waste hemp hurds in a profitable manner.