No matter where you look in the world, oil is in use in a myriad of ways. Oil provides the fuel that drives every facet of our economy, from power generation and manufacturing to fuel for the millions of vehicles on the roads. For decades, we have been led to believe that without petroleum oil we couldn’t survive. Yet industrial hemp may be the ancient revolution we have been waiting for.
Everything Comes with a Price
It’s a simple fact that anything of extreme value such as petroleum comes with a price. The price is often one that is too high to continue paying. In the case of traditional oil and fuels, that cost is continued stripping of irreplaceable resources, pollution, and global warming. Despite this, the world continues to consume billions of barrels per day with few signs of change in many parts of the world.
However, there is an alternative, one that has been in use since the dawn of man. What are we talking about? We’re talking about industrial hemp. This crop is one that many scientists and historians believe to have been the second crop domesticated and farmed by humans. We can use this incredibly versatile plant to create hemp biofuels such as hemp diesel, hemp gasoline, and hemp ethanol. Industrial hemp has a vast array of uses. However, the one most likely to have the largest impact on the petroleum industry is hemp bio-fuel in its many forms.
Hemp Diesel Made from Industrial Hemp
By cold pressing the seeds of the industrial hemp plant, it is possible to obtain significant amounts of hemp oil. Many alternative fuels involve expensive processes to produce and major modifications to engines before they can run on them. However, hemp fuels, such as hemp diesel are easier to manufacture. They can be transported in the same manner as traditional diesel. Most importantly of all, you can run this hemp fuel in a diesel engine without modifications.
Hemp Ethanol Made from Industrial Hemp
Scientists produce ethanol from barley and corn, both of which are grains that require the use of toxic chemicals to produce. Farmers must use a range of pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides to ensure a successful crop. On the other hand, farmers typically need none of these to produce a healthy crop and use far less water. Using a variety of fermentation forms, industrial hemp becomes a form of environmentally friendly
Along with this, by using hemp oil to produce ethanol, we release more of the food crops back to their original purpose. Hemp ethanol is useful as an additive to petroleum-based gasoline and to create hemp biodiesel. In fuels such as E85 gasoline, hemp ethanol can make up 85 percent of the ingredients.
Are These Sustainable Fuel Options
If hemp fuels are such an obvious replacement for petroleum oil fuels, why aren’t we already jumping on the bandwagon? One of the biggest obstacles has been the ban on industrial hemp farming for the past 90 plus years. Some fear that in order to produce sufficient hemp oil, we would have to increase deforestation. The reason being that hemp can be grown on land that is at best marginal for any other type of crop.
Many believe industrial hemp farming would require farmers to replace their current food crops with hemp. What they fail to understand is that hemp helps to restore the quality of the soil as it grows. This is unlike most other crops that slowly bleed the soil dry of all nutrients requiring the introduction of chemical fertilizers. With proper crop management, farming industrial hemp can provide us with fuel, foods, natural cures, and treatments such as CBD oil, and more.
Hemp is not going to solve all the world’s problems. But hemp fuels may only be a stepping-stone towards true pollution-free transportation, they are a good start.
Automobile Manufacturers Are Already Using Industrial Hemp
But, hemp bio-fuels are not the only use for industrial hemp. In fact, the motor vehicle industry has been using hemp fibers for many years. These fibers are stronger than steel. They can be woven into cloth for seat covers. Manufacturers use hemp fibers to make interior and body panels. Hemp fiberglass is useful for many exterior panels, it is impervious to rust, damage, and is far lighter. More importantly, hemp oil-based products are biodegradable, and hemp reaches maturity in approximately four months. In comparison, it takes millions of years for oil to form in the ground and may never occur again.
Will industrial hemp replace oil? The many products, including fuels, we can produce from hemp, hemp seeds, and hemp oil, are not the only solution. However, they can certainly be part of the bigger picture as a renewable fuel source, among many other things.