Hemp Biofuel: No Green New Deal Without It

DarbyHemp
DarbyHemp
Apr 19 · 10 min read

Industrial hemp is paramount to anyone supporting radical environmentally-tied economic measures like the Green New Deal in America to overhaul our energy sector. In fact, hemp can do most of the greenering work in terms of both addressing climate change realities and economic inequality. No, not female hemp which is being used for CBD flower extracts, but male hemp.

Note: originally published on www.DarbyHemp.com.

Introduction

Just let farmers farm hemp.

If anything, the government should be incentivizing and helping farmers plants millions of acres (like they did during the war in 1942, although at a much smaller scale for those days — 400'ish thousand acres). I know that’s what the 2018 Farm Bill was about, but should something similar to the Green New Deal be adopted, how much is going to hemp farmers, processors, and hemp biolfuel companies?

Let’s talk hemp biofuel.

While sifting through currently available info on hemp biofuel at the beginning of 2019, you continuously run into a collective ‘if only’ statement in pre-2018 Farm Bill articles:

Industrial hemp is perfectly capable of fueling the modern world without displacing food or adding to the greenhouse effect, if only it were embraced…

Pertaining to America, where tons of the world’s most ardent hempsters reside,

We could easily fuel America with completely green carbon-neutral plant energy if only we had a domestic supply of hemp and it were federally legal to farm…

The fact America could fuel herself through plants was demonstrated decades ago, hemp being the wisest of choices for a wide variety of economic, agronomic, and ecological reasons. After passage of the 2018 Farm Bill and the reclassification of industrial hemp as an agricultural crop, this if-only statement’s no longer relevant with respect to prohibition. Not only is the industrial hemp plant legal to farm on U.S. soil (now defined as a Cannabis Sativa L. plant with equal or less than 0.3% THC), but the plant’s natural compounds are also federally legal as well — which includes up to 0.3% THC with no restrictions on other naturally-occurring elements like CBD, CBN, CBG, terpenes, etc.

If you’re wondering why the recent law’s so wide open, well, the USDA said one of their goals with the Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018 in regards to hemp was to give states as much room as possible to come up with their own sets of regulations regarding the crop and its compounds.

So… now what?

Going back to Henry Ford’s original Model T partly made of and and run on hemp, not to mention the original diesel engine being designed for biofuel, a mind-blowing fact remains:

Dried biomass has a heating value of 5000–8000 Btu/lb. with virtually no ash or sulfur produced during combustion. About 6% [to now 10%] of contiguous United States land area put into cultivation for biomass could supply all current demands for oil and gas. And this production would not add any net carbon dioxide to the atmosphere.” [1]

Do you know how tempted I am to go off on how hemp fiber could turn the fashion industry completely green? Ugh…and today I was shown an article freaking out about the fact the fashion industry (apparel & footwear) accounts for closing in on 10% of human-caused global climate impacts…

Here’s a quote from an April 2019 CBS News article, “Fashion industry’s carbon impact bigger than airline industry’s”,

“Total greenhouse gas emissions related to textiles production are equal to 1.2 billion tons annually — more than those of all international flights and maritime shipping trips combined, according to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation.”

But let’s get back to the biofuel angle which would inevitably mesh with the fashion industry in countless ways.

A biofuel-based infrastructure would create a completely decentralize power grid and no more ultra-mega power companies. Each county and state could provide its own energy using easily renewable plants. Let that seed sink into the garden of your mind…

Example: In Colorado a company called Vega Biofuels offer bio-coal — which is renewable, comparable in price to conventional coal and produced using terrefaction technology — and biochar which can sequester carbon in the soil for hundreds to thousands of years without the negative impacts. Imagine this happening on a wider scale across 5, 10, or 20 states.

Yep, biofuel’s a reality and hemp’s the ticket, backed by scientific research from multiple countries who’ve experimented with a variety of biofuels alongside hemp like Canada, Nigeria [2], across Northern Europe [3], Latvia [4], and so on.

According to some, industrial hemp biofuel performs second only to algae.

  • While it can vary depending on cultivar used and where it’s growing, male hemp-cannabis yields an average of nine dry tons per acre. [5]
  • This means if allowed to flourish, hemp would quickly reach a point where it’s producing greater biomass tonnage per acre annually in more regions of America than either pulpwood or kenaf.
  • Hemp is 80% cellulose: both a low-moisture herbaceous and woody plant.
  • Industrial hemp, in comparison to corn’s 34% energy gain because of its high cellulose content, has an estimated 540% energy gain! [6]
  • According to our very own USDA (who the 2018 Farm Bill designates as the overseer of the U.S. Hemp industry along with the U.S. Attorney General), one acre planted in hemp produces as much pulp as 4.1 acres of trees. But you can harvest hemp at least 3 times a year…

That last one comes from a 1916 report where they predicted by the 1940s all paper would come from hemp and no more trees would need be cut down. But here we go again, none of this is novel information (except to a good percentage of the younger generations supporting Green New Deal-style initiatives)…it’s included in every ‘Hemp 101’ handbook.

Colorado’s also been producing hemp paper for a couple years now. I bought a few pages just to see how it smelled and it smelled like environmental salvation…

Interested? Yeah, hemp paper posters, postcards, envelopes, flyers and much more all made from Colorado-grown male hemp stalk. Check out Tree Free Hemp. Expect to see similar options coming from many different states within a matter of years…hopefully!

The End of Hemp Farming Prohibition in America

Guess what, this means the reinforced double-sided industrial hemp door just opened after being nailed shut for nearly a century. Thankfully, today we have a MASSIVE resources ready to be transitioned into leveraging hemp as a multi-purpose crop where we can create ample (protein and fatty acid-rich) food AND biofuel. All we can hope is ‘the people’ getting behind efforts like the Green New Deal rally and really surf this 21st century agricultural revolution.

Again, the hemp farming industry by itself can accomplish most of what the Green New Deal is setting its sights on by itself if supported and allowed to flourish outside the confines of Big Ag — although we need them on board as well.

How America Will Produce Hemp Biofuel

North America has absolutely no problem extracting oil from seed we can then use to make biofuel. Furthermore, most of the ethanol added to gasoline we currently put into our cars comes from less efficient and environmentally-friendly food crops like wheat and corn. We can use hemp to efficiently make both — ethanol/methanol and biofuel/biodiesel. University of Connecticut’s research shows hemp seed oil provides a 97% conversion rate into biodiesel [7]. America and Canada both have the infrastructure to switch to industrial hemp-based supply chains within a decade — far less with enough public and corporate involvement.

And well, according to a relatively small survey conducted early April 2019 by Morning Consult (they talked to just shy of 2,000 voters across age, education and political spectrums),

Voters say 100% renewable electricity by 2030 is more important than other steps to fight climate change.

For more info-nuggets we can turn to statistics from Health Canada who regulates their industrial hemp industry, showing Canadian hemp farmers planted 138,000 acres in 2017. Most of this Canadian hemp seed is processed into seed oil (as well as hemp seed protein and hearts), which oddly enough was/is sold to Americans where we already have a robust food processing infrastructure.

I hope this is coming across.

What I’m saying here is America and Canada have everything we need already in place in terms of land and plant processing equipment to create a completely human/environmentally-friendly energy system. That’s the truth. Soon, both countries will have more hemp than we’ll know what to do with and all the astounding wonders hempsters have been preaching for decades can manifest. Watch YouTube videos of ordinary people making vegetable oil-based biofuel in their backyard to drive their vehicles right this moment if you want. It’s no secret.

What’ll shock the American populace will be the tremendous amount of industrial hemp seed flowing across the country by the mid-2020s. I love the stuff and try to eat a cup of raw whole hemp seed a day.

When cold-pressed, 8,000 pounds of hemp seed yields over 300 gallons of hemp seed oil and a byproduct of 6,000 pounds of high protein hemp flour.”[8]

A healthy, irrigated acre of seed-based hemp in Colorado in late 2018, as an example, produced 1,100–2000 pounds of seed. [9]

Let’s not even mention what Kentucky could produce on a larger scale…or Oregon…North Dakota and North Carolina…Montana, and so on. We could EASILY spread out hemp farms to collectively 6–10% of the U.S. and cover our energy needs — completely eradicating the need for fossil fuels. Idealistic sure, but what if by 2025, thanks to hemp America became 50% less dependent on conventional dirty fuels — across allsectors of our country?

When I sit back and begin to fathom the overall impacts of what that would mean worldwide…

Reclamation into Fuel Efforts

We most definitely shouldn’t just burn or toss it. Let’s transform it into energy!

I’m no chemist, but my bet’s that the plant can successfully be used as energy without causing more of a mess. Hemp’s astounding ability in this respect will finally be able to be heavily studied. Because myself and many others would like to know what happens within the plant to these toxins. Are they still there when the plant’s harvested? Or, does it somehow convert a good percentage to clean energy within itself? Can it be successfully transformed into hemp biofuel? If so, let’s use all that reclamation hemp while cleaning up our toxic soil.

A Note on Pyrolysis

Pyrolysis is the thermochemical process that converts organic materials into usable fuels. Pyrolysis produces energy fuels with high fuel-to-feed ratios, making it the most efficient process for biomass conversion…the technique of applying high heat to organic matter (lignocellulosic materials) in the absence of air or in reduced air. The process can produce charcoal, condensable organic liquids (pyrolytic fuel oil), non-condensable gasses, acetic acid, acetone, and methanol. The process can be adjusted to favor charcoal, pyrolytic oil, gas, or methanol production with a 95.5% fuel-to-feed efficiency” [10]

The people of this world need our Hemp Billionaires and Zillionaires to step up. We need people with capital and the government to get behind and support these types of industrial hemp farming initiatives. We need to fund research and do things by the book. We need farmers to start hemp growing for biofuel along with the ultra-lucrative hemp-derived CBD concentrates/extracts. And textiles!

We need energy companies to start converting from using other less efficient sources of biofuel to hemp. It’s going to be a wild ride…but I’m alive so I have a ticket.

Thanks for your time.

References

[1] Environmental Chemistry, Stanley E. Manahan. Willard Grant Press, 1984.

[2] “Biomass resources and biolfuels potential for the production of transportation fuels in Nigeria” Juliet Ben-Iwo, Vasilije Manovic, PhilipLonghurst, ScienceDirect.

[3] “Biomass and energy yield of industrial hemp grown for biogas and solid fuel” ThomasPrade, Sven-ErikSvensson, et al, ScienceDirect.

[4] “Industrial hemp for biomass production” Rudite Sausserde, Aleksandris Adamovics, ResearchGate, 09/2013.

[5]Lyster H. Dewey, Jason L. Merrill, Hemp Hurds As Papermaking Material, U.S.D.A. Bulletin №404, 1916.

[6]“The Legalization of Industrial Hemp and What It Could Mean for Indiana’s Biofuel Industry”, Nicole M. Keller, Indiana University — Purdue University Indianapolis, pg. 24.

[7] “Hemp Produces Viable Biodiesel, UConn Study Finds” Christine Buckley, UConn Today, 10/06/2010.

[8] “Hemp is the ultimate cash crop, producing more fiber, food and oil than any other plant on the planet” Wm. Conde, Fiber Alternatives PDF.

[9] “Myth-Busting: Hemp Needs More Water than Many Think”, Hemp Industry Daily, May 7, 2018.

[10] “Biomass Resources for Energy and Industry” Lynn and Judy Osburn, 1993.

[7] “Hemp Biodiesel: When the Smoke Clears”, Biodiesel Magazine, Holly Jessen, January 24, 2007.

DarbyHemp

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DarbyHemp

I’m attempting to write my way into a fabulous career within the American hemp industry, where my heart is.