Edmonton-Based Cannabis Grower, University of Alberta to Research Uses for Plant Fiber

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The research will look at harvesting the whole plant and using everything but the roots, Atlas Growers says.

An Edmonton-based cannabis grower says it will team up with the University of Alberta to explore ways to convert the waste from cannabis production into sustainable products and bio-energy.

With cannabis production, only the buds of the plants are harvested for use, said Jim Hole, vice president of cultivation for Atlas Growers.

The research project will look instead at “harvesting of the whole plant and using pretty much everything except for the roots,” Hole said on Wednesday.

“If something that was formerly classified as waste can be channeled into something that’s a resource, I think it’s fabulous,” he said.

The company’s 38,000-square-foot facility west of Edmonton should be up and running by the end of September, with enough fibre waste available to begin the research work in early 2019, he said.

The partnership will include lab work to “take apart the plant” to determine what it consists of and could be used for, Hole said.

Considering all of the different uses for hemp, there is a lot of potential for this fibre waste, he said.

“It [hemp] has been used for centuries as a fibre for sails, clothing, so it’s a very useful and very strong fibre,” he said.

When it comes to the cannabis waste, Hole said, “it’ll boil down to the supply side, cost and what’s going to work in the end.”

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