What Is Hemp Fuel?
Hemp fuel is the name of many different biofuels derived from industrial hemp, including bioethanol and biodiesel. Biodiesel hemp is made from the oil extracted from hemp seeds. Hemp bioethanol can be made by extracting the cellulose present in the plant.
The cellulose underwent a chemical process to ferment the sugars and turn them into ethanol. A biomass power plant can also run on hemp biofuel. After it is harvested and processed, the stalks are broken into smaller pieces and then burned.
Benefits of Hemp as A Fuel Source
There’s an ongoing discussion regarding biofuels, mainly because some are not environmentally friendly. Many experts say that most biofuels are unsustainable and can increase food prices. However, that is not the case with all types of hemp fuel. The hemp plant absorbs high amounts of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere when growing, comparable to large trees. Here are the other benefits of adopting hemp as a fuel source:
Hemp Is A Versatile Plant
There are countless uses for the hemp plant. Even if farmers produce hemp only as fuel, they can still use the entire plant. The rest can become animal feed or bedding, fiber for ropes or clothing, or raw material for hempcrete.
An Alternative Biofuel Source That Won’t Impact Food Crops
Today’s most common plant-based fuel sources are corn, soy, and sugar cane. We’re using plants that could be food to become fuel, which can increase food prices. The part of the hemp plant used for fuel is not a nutrition source, unlike other food crops.
Hemp Grows Faster and Can Be Used in Rotation
As hemp plants can be completely mature in only four months, farmers can use it in rotation with other food crops. Hemp has properties that enhance soil quality and regenerate it. Thus, rotating hemp with food crops greatly benefits the latter’s yield.
Hemp Biofuels Have High Efficiency
Hemp’s yield is higher than other crops such as soybean, peanut, or sunflower. Hemp biodiesel can also efficiently run in any conventional diesel engine. Hemp biodiesel provides better thermal efficiency and also has reduced CO2 emissions. What about hemp fuel vs. gasoline? A chemical engineer found out that an acre of hemp can produce power equivalent to a thousand gallons of gas.
Final Thoughts: The Future of Hemp Fuel
Hemp biofuel is a carbon-neutral renewable resource, and its use won’t impact food prices. So why aren’t we using hemp fuel for cars and other vehicles globally? There are so many hemp products, but there aren’t enough people growing hemp for fuel in the United States yet. Hopefully, as this crop grows in interest, we can certainly expect to see positive changes in the foreseeable future.
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