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HEMP-SYS
Design, development and up-scaling of a sustainable production system for hemp textiles: An integrated quality systems approach

There is a growing interest worldwide in the use of hemp fibre for textile applications. It is in the economic and social interest of the European Union to become self-supportive in this area but there is no large-scale production of hemp yarns and fabrics because of poor fibre quality and homogeneity. These aspects and the uncertainty of a constant supply of hemp fibre limit the interest of EU industries. This project aims to solve these problems by providing decision support to primary producers, an integrated quality control system for raw and processed products, and the dissemination of information to support the entire chain of the hemp industry. The expected project results are innovative hemp fibre production systems with support tools for farmers, optimal processing methods, a prototype for integrated quality control, disseminated knowledge and high-value hemp textile products.

Objectives
The objective is to promote the development of a competitive and innovative hemp fibre textile industry in Europe by:
1) developing an improved, environment-friendly production chain for high quality hemp fibre textiles including a prototype decision support tool for primary producers, new and innovative decorticating systems, integrating quality control through the whole production chain, and demonstrating high value, fashionable, hemp textile-based products
2) preparing a comprehensive economic assessment of the EU and international fibre markets, consumer requirements and EU-production costs and returns
3) disseminating the knowledge generated in the project using the latest information technologies to inform primary producers, processors and end users.

Progress to Date
The second year of the project has seen great progresses along the entire production chain of the hemp fibres. A lot of experimental work was successfully carried out to improve the homogeneity of a sample fibre produced in the large retting pool. A very important achievement was the development of a biological system to clean the fibre after retting. The first sample of hemp yarn was successfully spun at Linificio. GTDesign have designed a collection of products to be made with hemp yarns of different quality. The designs include bath towels and linen, blue jeans, and canvas for home furnishings. GTDesign have made weaving trials using a yarn produced by Linificio, other fabrics were hand woven using yarn produced by Hungarohemp. 24 weaving manuals have been produced by GTDesign that demonstrate the potential of using the hemp yarns of different qualities. An outcome of the weaving trials was the T-ki product. T-ki was chosen among the top 100 contemporary Italian designs and has already been exhibited at three international exhibitions.
Quality analysis encountered a problem when testing fibre samples at different locations. For standardised fibre samples different values of strength were obtained. These differences led the partners to perform a round trial that aimed to harmonise and standardise the testing methods. This trial has successfully calibrated the testing methods, so quality analysis is expected to proceed. Field protocols and quality analysis tests were followed by field experiments and large field trials, carried out successfully at most locations. Field data are now being processed and preliminary results seem to confirm findings of the field trials. Stem material collected on small scale and large scale field trials were collected and sent to relevant partners for further processing
Alsoproduced:
Documented database framework for markets, consumer demands and EU production costs and returns for the primary hemp sector for the economic assessment study and contingency plan in WP6. An environmentally sound degumming system (removal of non-fibre substances from the extracted hemp bast) was designed and made available for trials.

Classified in NON-FOOD PRODUCTS

Scientist responsible for the project

Professor GIANPIETRO VENTURI
Via Fanin 44
40127 Bologna
Italy - IT

Phone: +39 0512096652
Fax: +39 0512091511
E-mail: gventuri@agrsci.unibo.it

References

Project ID QLRT-2001-01363
Organisation UNIVERSIT└ DEGLI STUDI DI BOLOGNA
Area 5.2
Start date 11 January 2002
Duration (months) 36
Total cost 2 827 128 €
Total EC contribution   1 874 210 €
Status Ongoing
Web address of the project   http://www.hempsys.net

The partners

  • WAGENINGEN UNIVERSITY - Crop and Weed Ecology, Netherlands (The) - NL
    Paul.struik@wur.nl
  • TASSEDIK SAMUEL COLLEGE - Faculty of Agriculture, Water and Environmental Management, Hungary - HU
    gergely.ildiko@mvk.tsf.hu
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