Hemp has often been referred to as the plant that could save the planet if we’d only let it. Hemp is a soil remediator, meaning that it cleanses the earth it is grown in, even removing toxic metals and chemicals. Hemp can be grown to use as textiles and uses less than a third of the water to grow that cotton crops do, while producing three times as much fiber from the same space as a cotton crop.
Hemp is being developed into biodegradable plastics and building materials that are as sturdy as cement but weigh only a fraction, making new designs and techniques possible. What about hemp as a fuel? Is it even possible?
You may be surprised what is possible and what products are finding their way to the market all around you. Hemp biodiesel is being made and tested. Not only that, hemp ethanol is being made too. One plant, two fuels. Impossible? Not with hemp.
Biodiesel has been fueling big trucks across America for several years. It has been made from many different types of crops, just as ethanol has been made from corn. Corn, as an industry, has struggled in the past fifty years.
Europe has been using biodiesel for many years and in America, trucks have completed over 30 million miles with positive results and much success. Hemp biodiesel is made from hemp oils, just like the first biodiesel was made from vegetable oil in 1895.
Diesel was invented and developed by Dr. Rudolph Diesel. He built the first diesel engine and displayed it at the World Exhibition in Paris in the year 1900.
Many people don’t realize that even the first cars built by Henry Ford were designed to run on biodiesel. Something happened that caused us to turn away from these fuels in those early days. Perhaps it was engine performance, but perhaps it was more likely the oil industry that pushed and lobbied to stay rich and in power?
Biodiesel is the only bio fuel source that will run in any unmodified diesel engine. Just pour it in and start it up. This fuel will run the engine no differently than typical diesel from the filling station that is a petroleum product.
When biodiesel is burned in an engine, the ghastly diesel odor is replaced by the smell of popcorn, or French fries. If hemp biodiesel is being used, you’ll clearly smell the aroma of hemp.
Biodiesel has been tested thoroughly. As of now, in the US, it is the only biofuel to complete EPA Tier I Effects Testing. This testing is conducted under the Clean Air Act. We know it is safe and better for the environment, thanks to this strict testing.
Normal diesel from petroleum has a flash point of only 125 degrees Fahrenheit. Biodiesel is safe up to 300 degrees F and it can be stored anywhere that petroleum diesel can be stored. This means that it is safer to store and far safer to transport. In fact, biodiesel is biodegradable, less toxic than regular table salt, and it can be a completely renewable source of fuel. Hemp is an especially fast growing crop that takes less water than many other crops, including corn. Hemp grows to maturity in a few short weeks.
More Fuel Options from Hemp
Hemp can also be made into ethanol. Yes, hemp is capable of being used in all vehicles. Ethanol is made from sugars and grains, waste paper and such. Methanol is made from woody/pulp fiber. Hemp can be used to make both. The hemp oil, can be used to make biodiesel. Hemp is quite literally the perfect plant.
Since natural oils from plants are used to make the diesel and is a wood substitute, it is also capable of being used for the fuel that runs cars today as well. This means that a renewable crop, grown right here in American can be used to solve most of our energy problems and reduce our dependence on petroleum right now.
While we should still further explore other options of fueling our lives, such as solar and wind energy, electric cars that can be recharged using solar as well, cutting our dependence on petroleum fuels would move us far into the future more immediately, reduce waste, and begin creating a cleaner planet.
With greenhouse gases at an all-time high thanks to emissions from cars and factories. Climate change upon us. Scientists are saying we will literally be at risk of survival as a species in as little as fifty years. That means that our children are at risk. The child you are possibly looking at right now, may not live beyond the age of fifty because the planet has become so unstable that life will no longer be supported.
We must move to make changes right now and hemp is a great option. In fact, hemp crops could potentially give local farmers the boost they need to save family farms and become thriving agriculture giants again. So many people could be employed in agricultural positions and factory positions, where these new fuels are processed, and the trucking jobs would again be plentiful and drivers would be busily transporting and using the very products that could help save the environment.
Other Ways to Use Hemp
Hemp isn’t just a fuel source either. Plastics that are also traditionally made from petroleum products, which are not biodegradable and becoming extremely problematic as pollution, especially in the ocean, can be replaced with biodegradable hemp plastics.
Plastic packaging material that is now waste products that do not break down for hundreds of years could be replaced with hemp plastics that become compost in a few short weeks. This is simply another way in which hemp could save the planet.
Hempcrete is a product that is being designed to replace concrete in buildings. It is lighter in comparison, weighing fractions of what cement products weigh. This enables new building methods to be used that require less manpower without sacrificing quality or safety. The potentials for hemp are vast and it is time that we take them seriously, so we can begin rebuilding our planet and taking care of earth for the long term.