Future of Industrial Hemp
Ruotsalainen, Pekka (2021)
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Environmental issues are growing all around the world and the manufacturing industry is one of the largest contributors to the emissions and waste created. New eco-friendly manufacturing practices, processes and the use of environmentally friendly raw materials need to be created and used for the preservance of earth. The thesis seeks to find out how industrial hemp can be an eco-friendly raw material for several manufacturing industries and what beneficial applications can be processed and manufactured from hemp. The goal is to find out which hemp applications and products have the best potential for market value growth and building new businesses around. The global hemp markets of North-America, Europe and China were researched on the goal of finding how hemp products and applications are currently utilized and what is their potential for growth in the near future. Smaller European markets of Finland and Estonia were also looked into to compare how the smaller and newer hemp markets differ from the more established larger ones. New hemp applications from Cannabidiol or CBD oil was researched in those markets to conclude if the market growth of CBD products were beneficial to the whole hemp industry. Some of the currently companies in those markets was also researched for information on how they have built a business around hemp and its applications and what different business models they have found to secure profits from cultivating, harvesting and processing hemp or manufacturing products and application for hemp. The aspects considered when concluding the future of the industrial hemp market are the current status of industrial hemp markets, potential of hemp applications and products in those markets, current businesses and the potential for new businesses, environmental aspects, processing and manufacturing needs, possible need for investments into the industry and the current volumes of hemp cultivation. The results of the research concluded that industrial hemp has many environmentally beneficial applications and products but not all of them can be fully implemented to their respective industries because of the lack of hemp cultivation and the need of investment into better manufacturing infrastructure. The applications and products with the most potential for market growth found were the products processed from the hempseed for the food market. Fiber industrial applications had the second most potential for hemp in the form of animal bedding, bio-composites for the automotive industry and hemp concrete for the construction industry. For future growth estimations the applications from CBD oil were the highest and show the best potential for new businesses. However, the CBD oil market is not regulated well enough yet in most markets to build a sustainable business around CBD products. Most other hemp applications mainly from the fiber have benefits in their industries but don’t have the potential for growth outside of the current smaller application used. One of the more interesting future possibilities from hemp found was the biomass conversion into energy. However, the bioenergy application from industrial hemp would need more investing, better infrastructure and more hemp cultivated to be a potential mass energy producer.