Riverton-based Erosion Control Blanket (ECB) is sending 15 tonnes of Manitoba flax fibre and a delegation of Manitoba growers to France to explore the prospects for more processing in Manitoba.
The flax fibre will be put through a decortication process, which separates the fibre from the woody core, and then processed into a mat that can be used in composite manufacturing by ECB’s European partner EcoTechnilin and La Chanvrière de l’Aube (LCDA) in France.
ECB chief executive officer Mark Myrowich said the trial, slated for July 14 to 18 in France, is the first step towards setting up a decortication facility in Manitoba to supply the natural fibre composite industry in North America.
The Composite Innovation Center (CIC) is working with ECB and EcoTechnilin to test the final product and determine quality parameters.
“This trial is a key component of our strategy to keep Manitoba at the leading edge of developing biocomposites — which incorporate natural fibres from locally grown crops such as flax and hemp — to create a potentially alternative structural materials resource for industrial sectors such as agricultural machinery and automotive,” said Simon Potter VP of CIC.
“It directly supports the development of a complete supply chain for these renewable, advanced materials ensuring economic gains in the rural economy, especially back to the producer,” he said.
Myrowich is looking for interested Canadian flax growers who want to join him on this trial trip to France in July to witness the results and determine if this is a viable industry for Manitoba. Interested farmers can contact him at 204-797-3797 or [email protected].