Sunday, October 10, 2010

Kenaf Industrial Processing

Video below shows how Kenaf plant  is processed into a fiber

Would like to know more on Kenaf Industrial Processing? -->> Kenaf Properties, Processing & Products

Kenaf in Automotive and Biocomposites

Across the globe, many major companies have started to realise the huge potential Kenaf can offer in terms of materials in replacement of sythethic fibers. Toyota for instance have been extensively researching the use of Kenaf for its use in automotive applications for almost 10 years. As of 2008, Kenaf was used as material doe five components in a total of 27 car models. Some of the examples are listed and the year it was applied can be seen as below:-
2000: Celsior door trim. Kenaf and polypropylene composite
2001: Brevis door trim. Kenaf and polypropylene composite
2003: Harrier door trim and seat back board. Kenaf and polypropylene composite
2003: Raum spare tyre cover. Kenaf and polylactic acid
Another major company that start to apply Kenaf as one of its main material in producing their product is NEC. NEC have started to use Kenaf for their mobile casings that is composed of a bioplastic and added with natural fiber as reinforcement. Kafus Bio-Composites in the USA have also actively pursued opportunities in the automotive sectors and other related sectors in providing Kenaf natural fiber as an alternative to fibreglass and reinforced plastics.
NEC Eco-Mobile:

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Kenaf Harvester

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Kenaf can be planted all year round. However, Kenaf is best to be harvested during the dry season. In getting the optimum fiber quality, the appropriate harvesting time will be after 120 days of growth. Harvesting processes involved cutting the stem via manually or mechanically and then dried in the field. Once dried, the stem be chopped and baled. The harvesting equipment used for Kenaf depends much on the location, the size of the farm and also the final product. Normally, farm of the size of 3 to 5 Hectares usually used manual harvesting. In mechanical harvesting, several methods are normally used; amongs them are the forage harvester of chopper and the modified sugarcane harvester.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Kenaf in USA

In the United States, Kenaf are mostly grown in areas such as North Carolina, South Carolina, Arizona, Georgia, Mississippi, Texas, Florida, New Mexico, Alabama, Tennessee, Louisiana and Arkansas. However, the commercial kenaf activity in the U.S. are mainly focus in these four areas; Georgia, Texas, Mississippi and New Mexico. In Georgia for instance, there are a development of a large-scale kenaf based industrial project lead by a company called ANKAL. scientists and researchers who actively work with kenaf. The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) have began doing research on Kenad since 1940s. Even with limited funds given by the Government, USDA have work with several private companies to study the potential of Kenaf. One of the research are to investigate the potential for processing kenaf black liquor into binders and fertilizers. Another organization that is actively promoting Kenaf in the USA is the American Kenaf Society. The American Kenaf Society is a registered nonprofit membership organization that was chartered in 1997. Its members include nearly all the Mississippi and New Mexico.  There are also business members, and a growing number of international members. Below are video on Kenaf farming in Georgia.

Kenaf Post Harvest - Retting Process

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In post harvest, kenaf stem will undergo a retting process with the objective of separating the bask from the strands. Traditionally, the retting is done by immersing the stems in open water via lakes, rivers, ditches, canals or even ponds. This will lead to the decomposition via aquatic microbes that will separate the non-fibrous materials linking the fibers to the bark. After retting, the fibers are then extracted manually and sun-dried before it is sent for further processing. However, if the fiber is set to be used for a higher grade products, manual water retting is not sufficient. Therefore, a bio-based retting technology is needed such as microbe retting. By using microbe retting, the removal of pectin in microbe retting of kenaf is 91.31% under the optimal retting conditions. There are also inexpensive methods of conserving during kenaf retting as details of it can be seen here Inexpensive methods of water conservation for kenaf retting (Cooperative research project)

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Kenaf as an Economic Cash Crop?

An establishment of Kenaf industries in any country can be consider as an opportunity in boosting up the economy as Kenaf not only provides jobs in the upstream value chain but also throughout the midstream and downstream chain. The industry can be considered as a dynamic tool to create a high profit industrial based that is supported by strong cash crop agriculture.The downstreaming products that can be derived from the plant are shown as below:

Toyota Using Kenaf fiber as Automobile Interior Parts


Toyota Boshoku Corporation (Head Office: Kariya, Aichi; President: Shuhei Toyoda) has recently started a full-scale development in Indonesia of seeds of the kenaf (an annual plant), which is used for automobile interior parts. From the latter half of the 1990's, Toyota Boshoku has been conducting research on utilization of the environmentally-friendly plant "kenaf" for automobile interior parts, and for that purpose, PT. Abadi Barindo Autotech (ABA), Boshoku's subsidiary in Indonesia, has been conducting an integrated process from cultivation through productization. A door trim base material using kenaf was first adopted for TOYOTA Celsior which was launched on the domestic market in 2000. With that as a starter, currently, kenaf is being used for five components in a total of 27 car models centering on high-end cars.

However, with the target set at making all interior parts from plant materials, in using the agricultural product kenaf for industrial automobile interior parts, it has become more vital than ever to stabilize its quality, production volume and cost. With that in mind, we have entered into a kenaf seed development agreement with IToFCRI* in Indonesia to embark on a full-scale seed development program.

The seed development agreement was signed on March 27, 2008 in Jakarta, Indonesia, in the presence of Prof. Dr. Achmad Suryana, Director General of IToFCRI, Mr. Mitsuyuki Noguchi, Executive Vice President of Toyota Boshoku Corporation, and all the parties concerned. In the coming years, jointly with IToFCRI, we will pursue the development of new varieties which secure stable crop yields including seeds which can grow in dry regions, seeds of an early maturing variety, etc., and the research on new plants that can be applied for automobile parts.

* IToFCRI: Indonesian Tobacco and Fiber Crops Research Institute
World's leading research institute with a 50-year experience in the field of kenaf seed improvement as well as the storage of its data and improved varieties.

Kenaf seed development Signing Ceremony (March 27, 2008 in Jakarta, Indonesia) Mr. Mitsuyuki Noguchi, Executive Vice President of Toyota Boshoku Corporation (The right side), Prof. Dr. Achmad Suryana, Director General of IAARD※
※Indonesian Agency for Agricultural Research and Development