HEMPFLAX, Europe’s largest independent hemp grower and processor, is delighted to announce plans to invest €3.0m at its headquarters in Oude Pekela, Holland.
Of this money, €1.8m will be spent on machinery improvements that will double the hemp fibre processing capacity of the factory from 3 tonnes per hour (t/h) to 6 t/h and modernise the bagging lines, which package HempFlax’s increasingly popular animal bedding products. The improvements will also enable the factory to decrease its operating time from 24 to 16 hours a day, massively reducing the factory’s energy demands whilst increasing the level of output.
The remaining €1.2m will be spent on solar panels for the Dutch factory, enabling the company to generate its own energy. HempFlax also intends to introduce hydrogen-powered vehicles to its fleet of trucks, further reducing the CO2 emissions of the company.
Mark Reinders, CEO, and Martin Koppelaar, CFO, have been leading by example, recently embarking on 1,300km round trip to the company’s insulation factory in Nördlingen, Germany in a hydrogen-powered Toyota Mirai.
As is well known, hemp is a large sequester of CO2. Nevertheless, in assessing the environmental impact of hemp-derived products, a life-cycle assessment factoring in all stages of the production process is required to ensure full emissions transparency. By installing solar panels and transitioning to a hydrogen-powered fleet of vehicles, HempFlax will further reduce the emissions arising from the processing and transport of the crop, ensuring the overall environmental impact of HempFlax products are carbon negative.
Later this year, HempFlax will use the renewal of its ISCC-plus certification to measure exactly how much CO2 the company sequesters. The resulting certification will provide third-party verified accreditation and enable HempFlax to establish an additional revenue stream by selling carbon credits.
Demand for the company’s hemp-derived products remains strong, which has led the Board of Directors to recommend now as the right time to make this significant investment in the company’s Dutch facility. It is expected that the strong demand will continue to grow, making these investments in capacity all the more important. From a margin perspective, the changes will also lower the cost of production at the facility.
This €3.0m investment – dubbed ‘HempFlax 3.0’ – marks the third stage in HempFlax’s development. ‘HempFlax 1.0’ began life in 1994 when the company started processing hemp in Oude Pekela, Holland. Little hemp processing technology was available at the time and only through much trial and error did the company manage to optimise the various sowing, harvesting and processing techniques required to fully commercialise this versatile plant.
HempFlax’s operations in Romania, established in 2015 after a €5.0m investment in a greenfield site, marked ‘HempFlax 2.0’. The Romanian site was based on the original Dutch facility, albeit with improvements made to enhance capacity and efficiency. As part of ‘HempFlax 3.0’, operating efficiencies from the Romanian site have been implemented in Oude Pekela, as well as a string of further improvements which now make the Oude Pekela facility one of the most technologically advanced hemp processing sites in the world.
Further updates will be provided as the project progresses.
Mark Reinders, CEO of HempFlax, commented:
“In keeping with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, as well as our stated aim of harnessing nature’s most versatile crop, this investment will enable HempFlax to do more with less. As demand for our suite of innovative hemp-derived products continues to grow, increasing capacity is essential. However, as a responsible custodian of the planet, we are also determined to leave the environment in a better condition than we found it.
“With hemp, the world’s most sustainable, organic and regenerative agricultural crop, this conundrum is easier to resolve than in other industries. Nevertheless, we are conscious that our farming, processing, and logistics requirements are energy intensive. Solar and hydrogen power will go some way to mitigating this, and we intend to introduce additional green initiatives in the months and years to come.
“As we seek to certify our carbon reduction efforts later this year, we look forward to becoming the first hemp company to derive revenues directly from doing good for the planet via carbon emission allowances. We are a leader in hemp-derived products and aspire to become a leader in sustainable business operations, too.”
HempFlax is Europe’s largest independent grower and processor of industrial hemp. The company has operations across Europe, with over 2,100 hectares of hemp expected to be harvested in 2021. Processing the whole hemp plant enables HempFlax to maximise revenues across its six business lines:
- Nutraceuticals (CBD)
- Hemp based plastic replacement
- Animal Care
- Genetics and Cultivation
By leveraging a 25-year history from seed to shelf, HempFlax intends to be the market leader in the fast-growing hemp industry. For further information, please visit https://www.hempflax.com/