Linseed oil from flax is used extensively in manufacturing. Linoleum flooring, paints, sealants, coatings, plastics, and resins may all contain linseed oil. Trends toward green consumerism and new environmental legislation are spurring the demand for bio-products, many of which can be produced using flax.
Linoleum’s biodegradable status is of particular interest to green consumers and policy makers. Its natural antimicrobial properties make it a good option for health care institutions, commercial buildings, educational institutions, and kitchens. Building design recommendations such as the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) program support the use of linoleum in green building applications.
Estimates show that by the year 2015, the linoleum industry in Europe will need to refurbish its existing production facilities. Tremendous opportunities exist for Canada to attract investment and develop activity in this industry. The establishment of a linoleum manufacturing plant on the Canadian Prairies would strengthen rural revitalization efforts by providing investment opportunities, jobs, and economic spin-offs.
In addition, a strategic development of flax oil feedstocks for novel, high-value applications such as fuel bio-additives and polymer resins will be targeted. New products will be characterized by greater functionality and improved environmental sustainability.
Almost 50% of the linseed oil that trades internationally is imported by developing countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America. As the economies of these countries grow, they will provide long-term potential for a Canadian crusher and specialty oleochemical manufacturer.
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