industrial hemp not marijuana

How Hemp (Cannabis) Could Be Used As A Biofuel

Biodiesel can be produced from a great variety of feedstocks but the choice for the best one depends largely on economics, geography and climate . According to The Guardian , hemp can be used to create biodiesel and bioethanol. Contrary to Popular Belief, Hemp Oil Products Are Not Marijuana.

For Biocarburanti.org , while cannabis and hemp both come from the same species, hemp contains negligible amounts of THC (the chemical that makes the marihuana plant a potent drug). Therefore, handling it, eating it or inhaling the gasses or smoke from it will not intoxicate you in any way. Although, if you eat it, you may feel full.

hemp chart biodiesel
Credit: Sites.psu.edu

The product is environmentally friendlier to produce compared to corn, palm oil or sugar beet. Hemp biodiesel is biodegradable therefore it will not contribute to environmental destruction.A major advantage of hemp is that it can grow in a wide range of climatic conditions, while leaving the soils around it in a better condition than when it was first planted.

Researchers at University of Connecticut have found that industrial hemp has properties that make it viable and even attractive as a raw material, or feedstock, for producing biodiesel. Hemp biodiesel has shown a high efficiency of conversion (97 percent) and has passed laboratory’s tests, even showing properties that suggest it could be used at lower temperatures than any biodiesel currently on the market.

In contrast to palm oil, sugar cane, maize, etc., Cannabis is a highly adaptable, fast-growing, annual plant that can be cultivated at most latitudes. In addition, Cannabis is one of the few plants that produces high yields of both oil and biomass, which means it can be used to produce both biodiesel and bioethanol.

It’s been calculated that hemp can produce more than 800 litres of biodiesel per hectare per year – a greater yield than crops such as soybean, sunflower, peanut or rapeseed. Added to that is the potential to also produce methanol, ethanol, biogas and solid fuels from the rest of the plant.

Cannabis sativa is known to grow in infertile soils also reduces the need to grow it on primary croplands, which can then be reserved for growing food according to Richard Parnas, a professor of chemical, materials, and biomolecular engineering at UConn.

Additionally, one of the greatest benefits of hemp as a biofuel is the usefulness of every part of the plant. When oil is pressed from the seeds, hulls and seed material can be compressed to create nutritious animal feed cakes. Leaves from hemp plants and trimming from the harvest, along with the roots, replenish the soil preparing it for the next crop. Other products of industrial hemp include building materials, paper and fiber.

Henry Ford was the first person to envision hemp as an alternative to fossil fuels. The car maker built a sedan that ran on 100 percent hemp ethanol. Ford realized the potential of creating fuel from agricultural byproducts considered as waste. According to Ford, there is enough alcohol from a single year’s acre of potatoes to drive machinery for a hundred years.

Unlike in biodiesel applications, the whole hemp plant can be used in ethanol or methanol production. As with biodiesel, ethanol and methanol can be used as a fuel for vehicles. When derived from industrial hemp, these alcohols are sometimes referred to as hempanol.

  • Ethanol is made from the sugars and starches of plants. To create ethanol from hemp, it requires a process called cellulolysis that consists of a number of stages.
  • Methane is the primary component of the natural gas you might use at home and is chemically closely related to methanol. Methane is produced through the action of anaerobic bacteria on organic materials. The equipment used to create the right anaerobic conditions (occurring in the absence of oxygen) and capture the gas is called a biodigester, which acts as a mechanical stomach.

Utilizing Hemp fuel will create more employment opportunities since the plants need to be cultivated, harvested and processed. The Production of Cannabis or hemp renewable energy costs much less than collecting petroleum. As for other industries that utilize Cannabis plants, there is a clear distinction between industrial hemp, which contains less than one percent psychoactive chemicals in its flowers, and some of its cousins, which contain up to 22 percent. “This stuff won’t get you high.”

Today, after decades of prohibition, Cannabis is getting back to the legal market claiming its share in many sectors. Laws are changing and people has started to look at different alternatives.

Even North Korean authorities are now instructing farmers to grow cannabis, and sources say the state plans to use that cannabis oil to fuel unmanned aerial vehicles, Radio Free Asia (RFA) reports via UPI.

The state has instructed people to cultivate hemp, rather than traditional soybeans, in order to meet cooking oil production quotas. But according to RFA, a U.S.-government-funded news outlet, North Korea’s military actually plans to use the hemp oil as drone fuel.

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