An enormous market opportunity for biomass – especially biofibres – has emerged from the convergence of four market drivers affecting Canadian agriculture and manufacturing:
• Increasing energy costs, which drives up the cost of production for fossil fuel-based products as well as energy inputs for agriculture, facility heating and manufacturing.
• Environmental concerns associated with traditional petroleum sources (e.g. greenhouse gas emissions), including prospects for resource depletion and environmental degradation. Public demand for green alternatives and a reduced “carbon footprint” has sky-rocketed in the last decade as climate change has been in the forefront of the public conscience.
• Product-related health and safety concerns that affect government policy agendas and create regulatory risk for public and private organizations. For example, fibreglass is seen by many in various industries as being “the next asbestos”.
• Intense competition in the global manufacturing marketplace as industries seek alternatives to non-renewable resources and synthetic feedstocks (examples: fibreglass, polypropylene, nylon, etc.).
Taken together, these forces are driving up the price of fossil-fuel based production processes, increasing the cost competitiveness of alternatives, as well as increasing competition for relatively fixed supplies of renewable feedstocks.
Fibre from two plants, industrial hemp (c.sativa) and flax (l.usitatissium) are excellent candidates for a wide range of applications. Industrial hemp has the potential to address many of these challenges and is especially well-suited to Eastern Ontario. It is this plant that is serving as the cornerstone of Stonehedge Bio-Resource Inc.’s business plan for the next several years and beyond.