Under the Waste to wealth initiative, Technology Development Board has signed an agreement with Sahi Fab, for development and commercialisation of ‘Agricultural waste of stem materials like industrial hemp, flax and nettle etc. into Fibre’. The board has pledged a support of Rs1.38 Crores out of the total project cost of Rs2.08 crores.
Industrial Hemp (iHemp) is made up of varieties of Cannabis Sativa that contain less than 0.3% Tetra hydro cannabinol (THC). The small brown seeds (iHemp) contain a rich nutritional food containing protein, fibre and healthy fatty acids, including omega-3s and omega-6s that help in reducing symptoms of several diseases, improving the health of the heart, skin, and joints.
In addition, the stem holds various properties such as antibacterial properties, prevention of UV rays owing to its composition consisting of cellulose, hemicellulose, pectin, lignin etc. Whereas, it consumes less amount of water in cultivation as compared to cotton, emits less carbon dioxide, uses less energy and better carbon sequestration than cotton and polyester fibre. However, due to lack of technology it remained unexploited, despite being a good source of sustainable, environment friendly fibre and also one of the strongest and most durable natural textile fibres.
Thus, with an aim to creating wealth out of the unexploited waste, the company has come up with an innovative solution by manufacturing fibre and fibrous products out of this waste in three steps.
First, the hemp stem is processed through the indigenously developed Decorticator machine, then the extracted fiber is treated with alkali / enzymes using high temperature high pressure (HTHP) machines and finally, the treated fiber is individualized through carding and can be processed through different routes, one of them being needle punching (non- woven).
The extracted fiber from the stem will not only contribute to circular economy and but also upsurge the income of the farmers by 7 times approx., an official statement said.
Speaking on the occasion Rajesh Kumar Pathak, Secretary, TDB said, “TDB has been a forerunner in helping innovative indigenous technologies, aimed at improving the ease of living for common man. Many of the Start-ups are venturing into fresh domains, and therefore seeks financial assistance to accomplish their endeavours. M/s Sahi Fab is one such start-up which is developing Fibre from agricultural waste that remained unexploited due to lack of technology.”