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Hemp as Fuel

Posted by Austin Angeleri on

Over the last decade, the talk of green energy and sustainable fuel has been the target and platform for many political conversations, yet has seen very little progress or growth. However, with the newly revitalized interest with hemp in recent years, we might finally see a viable and more sustainable option for fuel. Hemp can be used to produce two types of fuel, “Bioethanol and biodiesel, [which] is environmentally friendlier to produce than sugar beet, palm oil, corn or any of the crops mentioned in the report and can grow in practically any temperate to hot climate leaving the ground in better condition than when it was planted.” (Sica, 2008) This information puts the prohibition of hemp into perspective, along with the prohibition of alcohol for that matter, as just another threat to the production of oil for fuel.

http://in5d.com/henry-fords-suppressed-hemp-car/

Hemp biodiesel is the name for a variety of ester based oxygenated fuels made from hemp oil.” (Hemp News) This type of source for fuel stems back to Rudolf Diesel in 1895 and vegetable oil as fuel for engines. Over the years many have experimented with different sources for fuel, but hemp as fuel provides a surprisingly effective use. In many cases of the other sources for fuel and energy it leaves the environment scarred. For example, all of the oil spills have destroyed many different ecosystems, and other crops used often leave the earth and soil scarred after harvest. 

In a general sense, hemp grows fairly easily compared to many other plants, it is “bred to improve quality, yield, stress tolerance and decreased cost per ton; while also requiring less energy and fertilizer, and doesn’t require chemicals after planting.” (Truong, 2012) Currently, fossil fuels such as oil, especially petroleum are not only damaging the Over the last decade, the talk of green energy and sustainable fuel has been the target and platform for many political conversations, yet has seen very little progress or growth. However, with the newly revitalized interest with hemp in recent years, we might finally see a viable and more sustainable option for fuel. Hemp can be used to produce two types of fuel, “Bioethanol and biodiesel, [which] is environmentally friendlier to produce than sugar beet, palm oil, corn or any of the crops mentioned in the report and can grow in practically any temperate to hot climate leaving the ground in better condition than when it was planted.” (Sica, 2008) This information puts the prohibition of hemp into perspective, along with the prohibition of alcohol for that matter, as just another threat to the production of oil for fuel. environment they are also damaging to our health and they are steadily declining, in other words not renewable. Becca Wolford, with Waking Times compares hemp as fuel to the current fossil fuels being used quite nicely:

“Petroleum extracting and processing is a chemical-intensive, expensive process, [whereas] Hemp oil for fuel is simply a matter of growing, harvesting, and processing; [furthermore] petroleum-based plastics are not biodegradable, [whereas] hemp-based plastics are recyclable and biodegradable, [and] fuel for transportation can be replaced with hemp-based biofuels. Hemp fuel is clean, efficient, and…if it spills it does not harm the environment, it is more like fertilizer.” (Wolford, 2012)

As for using hemp biodiesel to run cars, it takes little to no change in a diesel engine’s construction, making for a very easy and cost efficient change. Today’s world has already seen the first “hemp car.” The best part of using hemp as fuel and energy is that the byproduct is not harmful to the environment nor to our physical health. It could actually be the perfect thing to offset the current problem of carbon emission in the atmosphere, caused by the current use of fossil fuels.

Even Henry Ford recognized the benefits of running automobiles from cellulose and crop based ethyl alcohol and the benefits that could potentially come from it. He was a firm believer that fuel could essentially come from anything that could be fermented. Before the competition of the business set in, “He constructed a car of resin stiffened hemp fiber, and even ran the car on ethanol made from hemp. Ford knew that hemp could produce vast economic resources if widely cultivated.” (Hempcar.org) There are many ways that hemp can be cultivated for many different uses and hemp infused products offer many different benefits, but it might just be the answer for sustainable and reusable fuel and energy as well. 

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