Australian entrepreneur Andi Lucas has devised a use for leftover hemp stubble, which is usually left behind on Tasmanian fields or razed after the crop is harvested for its seed.
Lucas has curved an opportunity where many have overlooked for a long time. The entrepreneur, hailing from the State of Tasmania, responsible for 80 percent of Australia’s hemp production, is now looking for private investors to fund the procurement of a mobile hemp processing unit.
The machine costs about AUD$185,000 (US$132,710) and processes hemp into hurd to serve various industrial purposes.
Hurd, obtained from hemp straws, can be used to manufacture construction materials, paper, animal bedding, among other applications. Lucas is the owner of X-Hemp Pty Ltd, a company she intends to utilize to bring the technology to her home state. According to the entrepreneur, the machine’s arrival is set to boost Tasmania’s economy considerably by offering instant job opportunities.
The processing unit, a next-gen technology, is an improvement of an existing prototype by owners of Ashford Hemp Industries, Leon and Connie Minos.
According to Lucas, her venture has received positive responses with local stakeholders pledging their support. She also stated that local farmers are committed to supplying her with straw at a lower rate (compared to the current market rates) until 2021.
X-Hemp has also received support from three major hemp contractors in Tasmania regarding raw materials. The companies, ECS Botanics, Midlands, and Ananda Enterprises, are letting their growers provide the startup with straw.
Lucas stated that her machine is effective, and once procured, she expects it to perform at almost full capacity. The machine, which Lucas has named CCSS2020, is expected to serve as a proof-of-concept and may not meet anticipated demand.
The Tasmanian entrepreneur believes demand for hurd is high as she has already identified several clients, builders of hempcrete houses, who are interested in the local supply of hurd.