Composites Innovation Centre Releases Report on Biofibres

15 April 2007

The Composites Innovation Centre (CIC) has produced a report outlining Canada’s current capabilities in the manufacture of biofibre products.

The report focuses on fibre produced from agricultural crops for use in composites for the ground transportation industry. Interviews were conducted with Canadian companies producing biofibres or products containing biofibres, as well as those involved in related consulting and research and development activities.

“Canada’s New Government is a strong supporter of public-private partnerships in agricultural science and innovation,” said the Honourable Chuck Strahl, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and the Minister for the Canadian Wheat Board. “This report will further help us to understand the challenges and opportunities in the biofibres sector.”

Hemp and flax were reported as the most commonly used fibres, followed by wheat. The use of biofibres in Canada’s ground transportation industry was found to be in the early stages of growth, with almost all production being sold to export markets. However, the technology has great potential, as Canadian companies are already handling a wide variety of fibre forms from short (<1 cm) to long (>10 cm) including loose fibre and nonwoven mat. Currently, the largest demand for biofibres within Canada is in the construction sector. The industry’s product line is varied, ranging from insulation to roofing shingles and furniture.

Looking forward, the report describes emerging technologies in development at Canadian research institutions that are targeting ground transportation and construction applications. Technologies employed in the automotive industry outside Canada are also presented as an indication of possible future trends. Most of this data comes from Europe, where the use of biofibres in automobiles is already much more prevalent and continues to increase.

‘We feel that this report provides a very good overview of Canada’s natural fibre and processing capabilities. This will form a good foundation for assisting our nation wide partners in further developing a robust natural fibre industry in this country,’ says, Sean McKay, the CIC’s Executive Director, ‘We are very appreciative of the funding that was made available from Industry Canada and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada for this important work’.

The full report is available through the Composites Innovation Centre’s website at the address below:

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