Kenaf A Renewable Super Plant

Kenaf is a renewable super plant with growing markets and applications 

Kenaf has been around and used for centuries, however, through better farming practices, improved processing methods and research and development, Kenaf has become one of the “super plants of the future“.

Kenaf PlantationKenaf (Hibiscus cannabinus L.— a member of the Hibiscus family and closely related to cotton), is traditionally an annually renewable crop reaching heights of 12 to 18 feet in approximately 4 months. We have adopted a rotational system which gives us a whole 12 month cycle. Crops are planted every month in key locations and mature plants can be harvested and processed continually.

Each crop yields about 8 to 10 tonnes of dry weight per acre, this is generally about 3-5 times greater than the yield for southern pine trees, which can take up to 7 years to reach optimal harvest size. Kenaf is certainly a “super” plant. It is able to sequester 8 times as much carbon as an acre of evergreen trees. One acre of Kenaf can absorb 10 to 20 tons of carbon during photosynthesis.

Kenaf’s short growing season and minimal water and fertilizer requirements make it among the most environmentally friendly and sustainable fibre crops on earth.

“Kenaf is a light-weight, cost-effective, sustainable, and ecological renewable super plant.”

Suitable for the manufacturing of furniture, building materials, flooring's, interior or exterior design.
Bales of kenaf
Kenaf Cut Fibre

Building Materials

Building products manufactured from rapidly renewable materials such as Kenaf, have tremendous potential to meet the industry’s demand for competitive greener products.

Reinforced Concrete

Kenaf fibre helps increase the flexural and tensile strength of the concrete. Some studies show that this can be as much as 3 to 5 times stronger and be used in a number of different structural applications.

“Ecotech Alliance partners with our customers to improve their products and processes by making them lighter, stronger, cleaner, safer, and more economic.”


  1. 1. Flower
  2. 2. Stalk-Outer Fiber = Bast (40%)
  3. 3.Stalk-Inner Fiber = Core (60%)

Processed Core Fibers

Processed Core Fibres

Processed Bast Fibres

Processed Bast Fibres

Cross Section of Kenaf Stalk

Cross Section of Kenaf Stalk

“Markets for existing natural fiber solutions from kenaf are expanding rapidly, as are the development of new technologies and applications that have never been associated with Kenaf natural fibers before.”

Basic Characteristics of Kenaf Fibre

Traditionally Kenaf bast fibres have been used for rope, twine and making sackcloth. However with modern processing equipment, combined with research into the mechanical properties of Kenaf fibres and how they can interact with other products, they are making an impact in today’s environmentally conscious world.

Superior Toughness

The Kenaf bast fibre as an example is known to have the potential as a reinforcing fibre in thermoplastics composites, concrete and building materials because of its superior toughness and high aspect ratio in comparison to other fibres. A single fibre of Kenaf can have a tensile strength and modulus as high as 11.0GPA and 60 GPa, respectively.

Advantages

The advantages of natural plant fibres like Kenaf over traditional glass and other wood fibres are numerous. Acceptable specific strength properties, economic viability, low density, low weight, reduced tool wear, energy savings, reduced dermal and respiratory irritations, good biodegradability and availability from renewable resources, all help to make Kenaf the perfect, cost effective and profitable super plant.

Uses of Kenaf and Kenaf Products

  • Padding material.
  • String, rope and cord.
  • Material for mattresses and furniture.
  • Bast fibre mattresses.
  • Bast fibre mattresses.

  • Kenaf plant used as fodder.
  • Kenaf products such as animal litter and horse bedding.
  • Kenaf crops for the production of various animal feed and fodder.

  • Kenaf fibres used as fillers and impact enhancers with PE, PP , PLA and PVC.
  • Kenaf fibres can be used instead of traditional fillers, such as talc and calcium carbonate.
  • Injection-molded composites from kenaf and recycled plastic.
  • kenaf fibres potentially outstanding reinforcing fillers in thermoplastics.
  • Bio-plastics are used in an increasing number of markets from packaging, catering products, consumer electronics, automotive, agriculture/horticulture, toys to textile and a number of other segments.

  • Kenaf particle boards for construction and furniture manufacturing.
  • Kenaf for Thermal and Sound Insulation
  • Kenaf flooring tiles and panels.

  • Standard newsprint containing between 90% and 100% chemical-thermo-kenaf pulp.
  • Standard newsprint from mixes of kenaf pulp and de-inked pulp from retted paper.
  • Newsprint from mixes of kenaf pulp.
  • Super-rendered writing and printing paper from mixtures containing Kenaf pulp.
  • Various types of writing and printing paper.
  • Fine coated paper.
  • Various types of tissue paper.
  • Sulphate pulp from the whole kenaf stem and from separated fibres.
Chemical pulp from the whole kenaf stem or from separated fibres.
  • Liner board, corrugated board made from kenaf pulp (from mechanical or chemical processes using both the whole kenaf stem or separated fibres).
  • Lining for roofs in felt paper.
  • Hardboard panels made from whole stems or separated fibres.
  • Cellulose for chemical uses.
Handmade art paper from whole kenaf stems or just from separated fibres.

  • Moldable fibre mattresses for industrial uses from Kenaf bast fibre.
  • Natural molded fibres for interior panels for cars and planes.
  • Rigid molded products: boxes, trays, drums, pallets etc. for the packing, stowage and shipment of industrial products.
  • Pressed board and other materials for use in the furniture and construction industries.
  • Compressed insulating panels.
  • Decorative wall panels.
Linings in compressed fibre for doors and other decorative applications (architectural).

  • Animal litter & Horse Bedding.
  • Horticulture and flower-growing products.
  • Cleaning up of liquid leakages from plants in industrial areas.
  • Cleaning of oil spills.
  • Additive for drilling muds in oil wells.
  • Filtering products.
  • Compost from sullage.

  • Inert, natural and biodegradable filler, used instead of polystyrene foam.
  • Wrapping for gifts and handicraft products.

  • Biomass and Bioenergy pellets for burning in various forms (powder, core fibre and waste in general).
  • Production of ethyl alcohol and other chemical products using ligno-cellulose conversion technologies.
  • Production of ethyl alcohol from animal litter using ligno-cellulose conversion technologies.

  • Natural core and bast filters.
  • Kenaf powders (in the specific field of application of wood powders).

  • Production of selected seeds for kenaf cultivators.
  • Production of oil and extraction panels.
  • Middlings for birdfeed (kenaf seeds with poor germination).