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Fibre Applications

Currently, flax straw, fibre, and shive are underutilized, with the exception of a few niche markets. The transformation of flax straw into advanced bio-based materials used in industrial applications presents a significant opportunity for FC2015 and for Canada.

Flax straw and shive can move beyond their lowly status as a waste product. In North America, flax straw is processed primarily for application in the pulp and paper industry. With the rise of the bio-economy, other uses of flax straw are being researched. Promising end uses include animal bedding, horticultural mulch, particleboard, insulation board, loose-fill insulation, plastic composite filler, and heating fuel.

FC2015 is working with researchers and industry partners to:
  • Improve flax straw management
  • Develop a grading system for flax fibre
  • Assist in establishing a processing industry producing fibres suitable for broader applications
  • Develop flax fibre-based products for manufacture in Canada
  • Establish new market opportunities for processed flax straw
2009 - A Big Boost for Bioproduct Research and Development

Flax Canada 2015 will manage, as Lead Recipient reporting to Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada approximately $9.6 million of research funds over the next two and a half years.

A Federal Government Program under Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada that was announced in December of 2006 is now about to bear fruit. The Agricultural Bioproducts Innovation Program (ABIP) was designed to provide cross-sector support for research networks conducting scientific research and development related to the advancement of a Canadian bio-based economy.

A combination of commercial companies, independent researchers, university researchers, Agriculture Canada researchers and National Research Council of Canada researchers are working together in a coordinated network called NAFGEN, our acronym for “Natural Fibres for a Green Economy.”

Eighteen different research participants from outside the Federal Government and located in seven different provinces will work in a network that also encompasses a number of Federal research facilities across Canada in this coordinated, integrated network. Numerous research projects involving flax and also hemp will be carried out with the aim being to provide results and data that will lead to commercialization potential for fibre and the products extracted or derived from the fibre in flax and hemp straw. This is the most significant financial shot in the arm that this sector of research has ever received.

Flax Canada 2015 has both the mandate and a strategy to improve Canadian health, wellness and environmental sustainability to position flax as one of the main drivers of the Canadian bio-economy.

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