"If you build it, they will come." -Ray Kinsella
The story behind BIOPHIL Natural Fibers is not much different than the story behind the baseball field that Ray Kinsella (Kevin Costner’s character in Field of Dreams) built against all rational judgement.
Marcel Dabdoub, a real estate investor of Palestinian and Mexican descent who was born in Arizona and grew up in Mexico, had done some research on the characteristics of hemp hurd and hemp fiber and their potential as a more effective and more sustainable alternative to non-renewable, non-biodegradable and often toxic raw materials being used today in a wide variety of commercial and industrial applications that include woven and non-woven textiles, animal bedding, spill absorbent, concrete block, particle board, insulation, petroleum plastics, biofuels and even cosmetics. Marcel wanted to be part of this paradigm shift and set out to build a hemp stalk processing facility. After an extensive period of being unable to secure contracts for the sale of hemp hurd and fiber to finance the construction of a facility just outside Philadelphia, Marcel was ready to throw the towel. Every prospective buyer wanted to see samples first, which meant having to build the production line first, which meant no sales contracts to secure financing to build the facility. With his team (David Camby, Joe Guelden, Jerry Irving and Humberto Avila) Marcel found a way to build the facility anyway with 100% equity. With the help of a local equipment supplier, his team configured a one-of-a-kind multi-step production line that decorticates hemp stalk and then further clean the hemp hurd and refine the hemp stalk and collect hurd powder every step of the way. Decortication refers to the initial separation of the hurd (the inner woody core of the stalk) from the bast fiber (the outer fibrous membrane that surrounds the hurd core). Once cleaned, the hemp fiber then gets organically degummed and opened further. The result is waste-free processing line where every bit of the stalk is used to produce all-natural clean hemp hurd, fiber and hurd powder that is 100% chemical-free and dust free.