Dallas, Texas-based Panda Biotech has selected Wichita Falls, Texas, to be the home of the largest and most state-of-the-art industrial hemp processing center in the United States. The Panda Texas Plains Hemp GinTM will also be the first facility in the nation to cottonize hemp fiber on a commercial scale for the American textile industry and export customers. In addition, Panda Biotech’s Hemp GinTM is likely the only facility in the world dedicated to both the processing and cottonization of hemp fiber in industrial quantities outside of the People’s Republic of China.
Panda Biotech has contracted for a 500,000 square foot facility and surrounding 97-acre campus.
The company plans to install the largest industrial hemp decorticating, or processing, equipment ever used to separate the outer bast fiber from the inner woody core, or hurd. Panda Biotech’s top mechanical engineers worked with a leading international equipment manufacturer to “super-size” their existing line of decorticators. At full production, the two 10-ton/hour decorticators are expected to process close to 300 million pounds of Texas-grown industrial hemp per year. The fiber will be refined for textile applications, and the hurd will be processed for a variety of industrial purposes. Panda estimates the two decortication lines will generate approximately $30,000,000 per year for Texas farmers.
The first processing line is currently being manufactured and is on schedule for delivery in Dec. of 2020. Panda Biotech expects its Wichita Falls facility to commence partial operations in 1Q2021 and both lines to be fully operational by 1Q2022. Panda will fill contracts with Texas agricultural producers in the region for the 2021 growing season.
Industrial hemp used for manufacturing applications is highly valued for its natural durability and environmental sustainability. The processed fiber, hurd and cellulose from industrial hemp can be used in the production of a multitude of products including textiles, a wide array of building materials, paper products, automotive components, nanomaterials, composites and bioplastics. In addition, 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. As a result, industrial hemp is poised to transform numerous multi-billion-dollar industries.