Panda Biotech recently announced the development of its first industrial hemp processing facility. It is expected to be the largest hemp decortication center in the US, and one of the largest in the world.
The Panda High Plains Hemp Gin™ will be located in Lubbock County, Texas, and will produce high-quality, textile-grade fiber, and premium cellulose. Panda Biotech plans to deploy the most technologically advanced, highest capacity, and first-of-its-kind industrial hemp decorticating equipment ever used to separate the fiber and cellulose from the stalk.
The company has also secured the right to purchase a 255,000 square foot processing facility in Shallowater, Texas, which is located in the heart of the cotton country. More than 130,000 tons of Texas-grown industrial hemp is expected to be processed annually.
Leading up to the announcement, Panda Biotech had engaged critical stakeholders in the Texas High Plains region, including the local farming community, academic institutions, and elected officials. Panda Biotech is also establishing business relationships with large potential off-takers.
Also, the company is assembling an advisory board composed of top industrial hemp, textile, and cellulose experts and agronomists experienced in the seeding, cultivation, and harvesting of industrial hemp.
“After more than a year of due diligence — which has included an analysis of the hemp fiber and cellulose industries in the People’s Republic of China, various European countries, and Canada — we have concluded that the processing of hemp stalk for industrial uses will be the next multi-billion-dollar business in the United States,” said Scott Evans, executive vice president of Panda Biotech. “Hemp fiber and cellulose will help manufacturers meet the needs of today’s eco-conscious consumers who increasingly require environmentally friendly products and services. As a result, hemp will be a game-changer for both agriculture and industry for generations to come.”
The US hemp industry was made possible due to the passage of the Federal Hemp Farming Act of 2018. Panda Biotech was subsequently formed after the provisions of the Act were incorporated into law later that year.
Both chambers of the Texas State Legislature unanimously passed House Bill 1325, which was signed into law on June 10, 2019. The act authorizes the production and manufacture of industrial hemp crops in the State of Texas, pending final approval by the USDA. The law ensures Texas farmers can participate in a rapidly growing industry with a new viable crop option that should also be a boon to rural economies.
Industrial hemp is valued for its natural durability, rapid growth, and environmental sustainability. The processed fiber and cellulose can be used in the production of a multitude of products, including textiles, building materials, paper products, automobile composites, nano-materials, bio-plastics, and finishing products like caulking, sealants, varnishes, and paints.
Also, research indicates that hemp-based supercapacitors offer a less expensive alternative to materials currently used in rechargeable batteries for applications such as smartphones and electric cars.
The global industrial hemp market is poised to transform numerous multi-billion-dollar industries and is projected to grow from $4.6 billion in 2019 to $32 billion by 2022.
Based in Dallas, Texas, Panda Biotech, LLC.’s executive leadership has extensive experience developing, financing, constructing, and operating large-scale industrial facilities, including natural gas, solar, hydroelectric, and biomass energy projects. They have developed 22 projects since 1982, representing approximately $14 billion in invested capital.