Hemp Content

Part
01
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Part
01

Industrial Hemp Fiber Processing Equipment, Part 2)

The BOSS CO2 Extraction System, Cannabis SFE, Apeks Supercritical CO2 System and Super C Extractor are vastly different pieces of processing equipment, with price tags, capabilities and features that vary significantly.

BOSS CO2 Extraction System

  • The BOSS CO2 Extraction System is a highly automated material processing unit that costs approximately $250,000.
  • Advantages of the system include its relatively small footprint, modest energy costs, automated material loading and effectiveness without the use of "harmful solvents."
  • Disadvantages of the equipment include its inappropriateness for small-scale processing, the need to store CO2 carefully and the fact that it operates at high pressures.

Cannabis SFE

  • The Cannabis SFE is a relatively flexible and capable material processing system that costs approximately $49,500.
  • Pros of the system include its relatively small footprint, scalable capacity for small and average-size production and effectiveness without the use of "harmful solvents."
  • Cons of the equipment include its ineffectiveness for large scale production, lack of automation for loading between runs, the need to store CO2 carefully and the fact that it operates at high pressures.

Apeks Supercritical CO2 System

  • The Apeks Supercritical CO2 System is an industrial-grade processing unit, with a price that begins at $445,000.
  • Benefits of the system include the fact that it is fully automated, its effectiveness for large scale processing jobs and its integrated CO2 storage tank.
  • Drawbacks of the equipment include its high energy consumption, the need for "extensive scientific expertise" to operate the system and its less than ideal scale for smaller operations.

Super C Extractor

  • The Super C Extractor is an "all-in-one" piece of processing equipment that can be easily expanded and costs approximately $4,000.
  • Advantages of the system include its ability to effectively process small batches of material as well as the fact that the unit is one of the least expensive of its kind.
  • Disadvantages of the equipment include its inability to process large volumes of material as well as the likelihood that an operator will need to purchase additional expansion packs to achieve their goals.

Research Strategy

Please note that for the purpose of this analysis, an article published in March of 2019 by cannabis trade Analytical Cannabis was used to inform the discussion of the BOSS CO2 Extraction System, Cannabis SFE, Apeks Supercritical CO2 System and Super C Extractor. Although this article makes specific reference to cannabis, as opposed to its component parts, hemp and marijuana, the findings pulled from this resource were relevant to botanical material generally, including the specific material of hemp.
Part
02
of three
Part
02

Industrial Hemp Fiber Processing, Part 2

The typical time for hemp fiber process is 90 hours for acid/base processing, and 48 hours for the enzyme retting process. Non-mobile decortication is estimated to last 24 hours plus the additional 24 hours allotted to the conditioning period.

Industrial hemp fiber processing

  • The typical time for processing acid/base in industrial hemp is estimated to be 90 hours if the processing liquor is kept at 30°C.
  • When it comes to the special enzyme retting process, the time estimated for the process is likely to be conditioned at between 17 and 23°C and relative humidity of between 55 and 65 degrees for 48 hrs.
  • The cost for both phases of industrial hemp fiber processing is estimated to be $305,18 per acre of processed hemp. The cost is solely based on machine cost, fuel, operator labor, and repair and maintenance cost.

Non-mobile decortication

  • The typical non-mobile decortication is recommended to be done in two steps. First, the industrial hemp stems are "cured for 24 hours at room temperature followed by 14 hours at 50°C." Moreover, a conditioning period of 24 hours at between 22 and 24°C is recommended to get the samples to optimal stiffness.
  • A non-mobile machine industrial hemp decortication machine located in a decortication facility costs between $2 million and $2.5 million, and is able to process 10 tons of hemp an hour.
  • According to research, the decortication machine is the only necessary tool for the decortication process, and the only added cost to the non-mobile decortication is the labor cost which depends on the size of the industrial hemp processing facility. Therefore, the cost of decortication is equated to be the same as the cost of the decortication machine in scientific journals.
  • The facility available for non-mobile decortication is owned by Appalachian Biomass Processing, an Industrial hemp fiber producer located in Wytheville, Virginia.
Part
03
of three
Part
03

Mobile Hemp Decorticators


The plant Cannabis Sativa L. gives rise to a variety of well-known profitable products. However, due to the prohibitive costs associated with transporting the entire plant to decortication facilities where the fibrous component of the plant is separated out, US farmers have not been able to monetize this component of the plant that gives rise to industrial-grade hemp. Mobile decorticators eliminates transportation costs and thus substantially increase the plants' profitability.

TRANSPORTATION Issue

  • Industrial-grade hemp is a robust plant with multiple uses in the textile industry. The global market for industrial-grade hemp is set to reach a value of $26.6 billion by 2025, growing at a CAGR of 34%. As of 2019, Asia and the Pacific is the largest producer.
  • It has been unprofitable for American farmers to produce industrial-grade hemp due to the fact that the robust nature of the plant makes it heavy and expensive to transport. In farmers eyes, these costs make it illogical to transport the plants to decortication facilities even with in a range of 100 miles.

THE SIGNIFICANCE OF MOBILE DECORTICATORS

  • The outermost part of the Cannabis plant is what is used to form industrial-grade hemp. An industrial decorticator must be used to strip the outer, soft and fibrous part away from the inner tough and heavy core so that it can be utilized.
  • The heavy inner core is what accounts for the majority of the transportation costs to industrial-grade decortication facilities, and up until recently, mobile decorticators were hand-fed rendering them inefficient.
  • New, mobile decorticators that cost up to $2.5 million can dramatically increase capacity, processing 10 tons per hour. These truck bound decorticators provide additional economic benefits to the farmers as well.
  • Upon arriving at farms with bales of hemp to sell, the decortication service providers will evaluate different grades of product and quote the farmer prices for the different quality levels, allocating fibers to the textile or construction market.

6IX HEMP INC. —EXAMPLE OF THE FARM TO MARKET MOBILE DECORTICATION SERVICE

  • 6ix hemp Inc. provides comprehensive mobile decortication services, from onsite decortication up until sales, focusing on regional production and distribution. These services are provided at 3 different price points and levels depending on farmer contribution that varies from 50% — 70%.

Research Strategy

Upon researching the topic of decortication, and how mobile decortication could potentially benefit framers in helping them properly source and plant seed varieties, we learned that this statement is misleading. While mobile decortication services may help farmers properly distinguish between different varieties of bale quality, and perhaps maximize their revenue by packaging lower grade produce for the construction industry that would otherwise have been discarded, it is unlikely that it will bear any benefit regarding appropriate seed planting. Removing the core of the hemp plant through decortication does not affect the selection of seeds in any manner. Seed selection is done prior to the growing of the hemp plant, while decortication is performed after the plant is harvested and removed from its growing position.


Additionally, it proved hard to find information regarding 6ix Hemp Inc., as no public records, other than those self-reported on their own web page exist. The first strategy we employed was to search for financial statements that would detail unit cost and investment but as they are not a public company we were unable to locate any such documents. Moreover, the website for 6ix Hemp Inc does not state the company manufactures or produces a piece of equipment. Rather, it states that it provides seeds and on-site/mobile decortication services. There is no evidence that a specific machine is used, nor is there any evidence of machine specifications that include processing volumes. The information does not exist. At the present time, the only information provided regarding machinery is that there are some lower capability Asian and Australian options and some multi-million dollar European options. A broader search across social media platforms was also unfruitful. As a point of comparison, Power Zone, another Colorado-based decortication company, estimates its own machine cost between $2 — $2.5 million. These machines are capable of processing 10 tons an hour.








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