Servicio de Información Comunitario sobre Investigación y Desarrollo - CORDIS

Kenaf: an agricultural crop for industrial uses

The project investigated the potential of kenaf as a fibre crop in the European Union, covering the whole chain from field to factory. The following areas were examined: the use of different strains of kenaf in order to establish the most appropriate locations, from the point of land and climate, for the production of seed in Spain, Greece, Italy and Portugal; establishment of numerous trial plots in the participating countries; optimization of cost effectiveness; separation of the different types of stem fibres; studies of different pulping and paper processes (including blends with wood pulps covering almost the entire spectrum of paper products); production of fibreboard or chipboard; new uses, particularly as components in construction materials based on plaster or cement.

As a substitute, kenaf pulp can be incorporated in paper at up to 25% without diminishing the physical or mechanical characteristics of the paper, while increasing the brightness and bulk index with no significant impact on the running of the paper machines. As a reinforcement fibre, the bark pulp can improve the tear index of paper. The incorporation of a middle filling layer of pulp from the whole stem improved the stiffness and printing properties of the carton for liquid packages, whilst at 25% substitution the same pulp increased the tear strength of packaging (brown) paper. Good newsprint paper was produced with a mix of 75 to 85% kenaf pulp with chemical wood pulp. Bleached pulp was ideal for hygienic uses, reflecting its high fluid retention and resistance to disintegration. However, it has some weakness as a component of writing paper, reflecting the high level of fines. It was found that the incorporation of kenaf fibre was an effective way to enhance the quality of pulp based on recycled fibres.

Reported by

GEIE EURO - KENAF
Rue Joseph II 36-38
1040 Brussels
Belgium
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