Hemp, the Biomass Power Plant

The wonders of hemp as an alternative crop for farmers continue to amaze the world. It’s a crop that’s easy to grow, is gentle on the soil and provides a way for farmers to grow another cash crop. Research indicates that hemp can become a bio-fuel of the future.

Recent Hemp Developments

Recent developments around world relating to the production of hemp show that hemp can be used as an additive to create cake mixes, milk, pasta and even bread. Hemp by-products are also an answer to providing alternative fuels in the energy sector. Scientists and researchers have used hemp to make biofuel and industrial oil.

According to Klara Marosszeky, an Australian hemp advocate, growing hemp is a sustainable alternative for small farmers. It’s also great for the environment. “The biomass it produces is the equivalent to a similar area of forest [per year], but it’s produced in a four month period of growth,” Marosszeky said. “It’s really an opportunity for farmers to earn a good income because they have the opportunity to value-add on farm.” The complete interview with Marosszeky can be read here.

Creating Fuel from Hemp

hemp-fiberThe process of creating useful products from hemp have been demonstrated by researchers at the University of Alberta in Canada. The research shows hemp as a potent power plant. They have taken the waste from the hemp cannabis plant andtransformed it into a carbon nanomaterial that can be used as a substitute for more expensive graphene. Graphene is a nanomaterial used in batteries and high-power super capacitors. Uses for super capacitors include fast-charging batteries used in laptops and smartphones and braking systems in vehicles, including buses and trucks.

Hemp as Fuel

pyrolytic-reactor-biomassHemp falls under a fuel classification known as biomass. Biomass simply describes matter that is produced biologically, such as through farming. This hemp biomass is then processed into fuel via chemical decomposition or biological digestion. A complete treatment of hemp for fuel and human consumption can be found here.

Pros and Cons of Hemp

Hemp is a plant that grows in nearly any type of soil. It needs little or no fertilizers or pesticides. It’s easy on the planet, creating no greenhouse gas. It’s acceptance, though, as a useful crop is still hindered by governments who see hemp as a drug.

Common Myths & Misconceptions

  1. Smoking hemp will get a person high.
    The THC levels in industrial hemp are minimalised (less than 0.3%) and can give you a headache at best.
  2. Farmers grow industrial hemp all over the world.
    Farmers DID grow hemp extensively in the 1930s. The war on drugs put a stop to that.
  3. Anyone can grow hemp within the United Kingdom.
    You must hold a licence (under strict guidelines) from the Home Office. The growth of seeds which germinate into marijuana plants is restricted.
  4. Hemp is not economically viable, so it should be outlawed.
    Why should government be allowed to determine what crops are profitable?

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