The cannabis plant is one of the most versatile plants with multiple uses varying from medicinal, to recreational use, fashion, cooking, painting, animal feed, beverages and many more. All plants of the plants can be used for one purpose or the other. From its roots, stalks, leaves, and seeds, specifically the hemp. Its seeds can be used to make oil and used in its raw form. The seed when processed can be used for beer, flour, and animal feeds. As well as beverages, baked items, and protein powder.
The stalks can be processed into fiber for fabrics, diapers, handbags, twine, rope, paper and lots more. The roots are highly medicinal and also do well to replenish the soil nutrients with its organic composition. The seed can also be processed into oil used as cooking oil, dietary supplement, and personal care. It serves as a great source of nutrients for men and animals. It is also environment-friendly as a paper option, instead of using trees for paper which takes a good number of years to grow, cannabis could be grown in 6 months and used. However, interestingly the seed can also be used as fuel.
Hemp can produce two different types of fuel, hemp biodiesel gotten from the pressed seed and hemp ethanol/methanol gotten from the fermented stalk. Research has shown that among the fuel crops, hemp is the most valuable and cost-efficient that could be produced on a large scale as well as a huge plus if considering the impact on the environment. Using processes such as gasification, acid hydrolysis, and enzymes fuel can be made from hemp stalk into ethanol or methanol.
Hemp biodiesel is gotten from the seed of hemp which would be pressed to get the oil. It is a good source of renewable fuel. When used in a diesel engine hemp oil replaces the exhaust and choky smell of petroleum products with the refreshing smell of hemp. It is the only renewable fuel that passed the U.S. EPA Tier 1 Health Effects of the Clean Air Act. As it is 11% oxygen and contains no sulfur, hence biodegradable. And also improves the lifespan of diesel engines as it is more lubricating than petroleum diesel.
Hemp Powering Vehicles
Hemp can indeed power vehicles and has been demonstrated a couple of times but has not been invested in as an alternative. Dunken years ago, Henry Ford experimented with the idea. He built a Ford Sedan that ran completely on 100% hemp ethanol. However, World war II and lack of demand halted this dream. Car enthusiasts are showing interest in this project of creating hemp powered vehicles as it is eco-friendly and relatively cheaper to petroleum-powered cars. Ford, Dietzen, and other automobile giants have seen the possibilities it holds and are weighing their options.
It can be a real breath of fresh air as compared to using fossil fuel which is harmful to the environment affecting the ozone layer, causing pollution and doing much more harm to the environment. Hemp fuel can be used to power cars, motorbikes, boats and anything that uses a diesel engine. Coupled with the fact that it is cheaper it could be the way forward. With the recent legalization of hemp in the U.S. more and more work can be actively done on this. The previous ban on hemp made it difficult for a market to exist for hemp fuel, however, this change could be the start of something new.
In an era where electric cars are being pushed like never before you get a feeling that this could hamper the chances of advocacy that this renewable energy would get, this is however not the case. Statistics show that electric cars would still take about twenty-five years before it becomes a mainstay as only about 1% of cars in the world are electric. This could even be further elongated seeing that for the smooth running of electric cars there ought to be proper logistics in place.
Evidently, hemp fuel could be the immediate short term solution to powering vehicles with the environment in mind. Hemp fuel is also pretty sustainable as one acre of hemp farm can produce 10,000 liters of hemp fuel. If resources are put in this direction it can indeed make a world of difference. Seeing also that hemp as compared to other plantations has no need for pesticides.
The effects of climate change were seen all across the globe and frantic efforts are being made to cushion its effects. One such proposition is the planting of trees. The problem with this solution is that it is expensive and could cost almost $300 billion to plant enough trees that will combat the effect of carbon dioxide. Plus an awfully long time, we are talking 50 to 75 years. However, with hemp, the cultivation and germination time frame is less than 7 months making it the fastest carbon dioxide to biomass plants available.
The Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 or commonly known as the Farm bill has lifted the over a century ban on hemp, which if you check in the first place was only banned because it was in the same cannabis family as marijuana. The THC content in hemp is less than 0.5% which makes it a nonpsychoactive plant. This is the main difference between indica and sativa strains. Sativa strains are high in THC and marijuana plants fall in this category while indica strains are low in THC making them more medicinal. Strains are the plant variations of the cannabis plants.