Since the legalization of hemp in 2018, hemp has gone mainstream as heck! This column explores all those ways with each piece focused on a hemp product. This one is dedicated to hemp fuel.
What is Hemp Fuel
Hemp fuel is fuel made from hemp oil. The National Hemp Association defines hemp fuel as: “Hemp biodiesel is the name for a variety of ester based oxygenated fuels made from hemp oil.” And biodiesel is a term used for fuel made from plants.
Plant oil for fuel isn’t a new concept. Dr. Rudolf Diesel, a German inventor and mechanical engineer, famous for the invention of the Diesel engine, developed the first diesel engine to run on vegetable oil.
The Process of Turning Hemp into Fuel
Canex, a cannabis news publication in the United Kingdom outlines the hemp fuel making process as:
- The harvested plant is shredded and heated with chemicals.
- The cellulose is released and the enzymes are used to break down the cellulose into sugar (sounds like the human body a bit).
- Microbes added to aid the fermenting process of the sugars, turning them into ethanol.
- The ethanol is purified and distilled, leaving the final biofuel.
Hemp Fuel for the Planet
When thinking about traditional fuel like coal, natural gas, and oil, do we consider how it’s harvested? Probably not. Traditional fuels are harvested from the earth and burn, according to Canex. In a piece written by Emily Ledger, about hemp fuel, it states:
“Petrol and diesel, are made using crude oil, which consists of hydrocarbons. When burnt, the fuel creates energy but it also causes the release of toxic chemicals.The hydrocarbons in the oil are converted to carbon dioxide, and other harmful by-products when burned.Traditional and/or fossil fuels have become the main focus of international environmental concern.”
The Benefits of Hemp Fuel
As with most hemp products, their benefits lay in the benefits of hemp. Evohemp lists some of the benefits as:
- Hemp is a renewable resource, meaning the plant grow consistently and quickly, unlike traditional fuel,
- Hemp releases more oxygen than most plants do, which mitigates the harmful effects of a release of carbon dioxide.
- Biofuel is more lubricating than petroleum and does not harm the torque or ignition of the car.
Fuel is a huge environmental issue. There are studies that show the benefits of hemp fuel, like the one in the 1970’s.
A study conducted at Stanford Research Institutes’ concluded that woody or low moisture herbaceous plants are the most efficient biomass resource for thermochemical conversion into liquid fuels.
I love a point made about hemp fuel, by Cannabis Tech, in a piece written by Kristina Etter: “UConn’s research showed hemp oil had a 97% conversion rate into biodiesel and passed all lab tests. Imagine a fleet of transport trucks powered by fuel made by a plant which left the soil in better condition than it found it.”
If plants can do all of this, imagine an engine that can run off of water!