Das received his B.S. in electrical engineering in 1970 from the Case Institute of Technology in Cleveland, Ohio. Eventually Das decided to audit a master’s degree in humanistic psychology from Sonoma State College in Cotati, CA.
In Robinsdale, Minn., in 1990, Das ran across some hemp seeds at a store. With Herer ’s words about hemp food nutrition still on his mind, Das bought them all up. As he drove up to a press near Minneapolis, to have the seeds pressed, the police, responding to a crime stopper tip that someone was bringing in marijuana seeds, greeted him. Das explained to them that his seeds were hemp and not pot, that “hemp seeds are legal.” The police checked into it on the dispatch and then let Das continue on. Das was possibly the first person to press hemp seed for oil in America in modern times.
Das got his seeds from the birdseed industry, the only hemp industry to survive the Marijuana Tax act of 1937, to use on his press, until seeds became legal in Canada. Then he got them from the Gitzekula Indian Tribe in B.C. Canada, a contact he made when he was in Vancouver making a presentation on hemp bio-diesel.
Agua was the first person to make hemp bio-diesel fuel in the modern hemp era in 1993; made from virgin hemp oil he pressed himself. Das agreed that hemp oil for bio-diesel is too expensive, but to prove a concept was very effective, such as driving a senator around the capitol on hemp bio-diesel to gain support for a hemp bill, such as the one Das helped work on in Colorado.
Das focuses his effort on developing the means and technology for domestic hemp farming. To do this he founded H.E.R.B. (Hemp Education and Research Board), which exist to develop machinery and processes that will enable the hemp industry to “hit the ground running” .
Today Das spends much of his time making and selling America’s only hemp-based ice cream sandwiches, called Hemp I-Scream, from Original Sources. On New Years Eve of1994 Das found the right consistency for his vanilla hemp ice cream. And true to form, he sold out in a snowstorm.
Agua Das is also very involved with alternative energy. He co-wrote, with Thomas B. Reed, the Handbook of Biomass Downdraft Gasifier Engine Systems (Biomass Energy Foundation Press 1998.) Das has patented new technology that improves the reliability of gasification, a process that burns up more of the tar.