Imagine cruising down the highway on your way to work when suddenly you see brake lights, lots of brake lights. As you come to a halt while trying to figure out what the holdup is you smell French fries…..or popcorn? Your focus shifts from how late to work you are to “where is that smell coming from, it can’t be that big truck there can it?”
That one-ton truck idling in front of you is running on biodiesel, hemp biodiesel and that smell is in fact the sulfur free exhaust note of the big diesel work truck. With recent law changes across the United States regarding industrial hemp this could become much more frequent. There are already several large-scale auto makers that produce vehicles capable of running on up to a twenty percent biodiesel blend. Obviously, biodiesel can be made from other sources than hemp (corn, sugar cane, and soybean to name a few), but our focus here will be on industrial hemp.
o Dr. Rudolf Diesel invented the diesel engine in 1892 with the intention of using a variety of vegetable and seed oils. In 1900 Dr. Rudolf displayed his invention at the Paris world fair running on peanut oil.
There are claims that it is possible to run a diesel engine on straight bio fuel without any modifications, this is highly unadvised. Please refer to your manufacturer vehicle manual before any attempts to use any alternative fuels. Last month there was a blog about using industrial hemp to decontaminate lands. Using hemp to clean soils is a very viable option, however, there must be consideration of what can be done with the harvested biomass since it cannot be used for a food or anything similar. One acre of industrial hemp can produce up to one thousand gallons of methanol so in theory we can decontaminate land and then convert the “mop and bucket” we used to clean up to a fuel source for our vehicles. This fuel produces less emissions, has been produced domestically while pulling toxins from our soils, and even gives off the smell of French fries and/or popcorn.
So far with hemp we’ve: help detoxify our land and then found a use for the byproduct all while managing to cause far less pollution to our planet. By using fuels that produce far less emissions and produce less C02 we have managed to decrease surface level ozone. Ozone can decrease plant growth – the same plants that produce oxygen for all living things.
o If only six percent of the continental United States were farmed for biomass, that would provide enough energy to meet all our current consumption needs.
I’m not at all trying to make the argument that all of us need to go Johnny Appleseed with industrial hemp, but only to illustrate that there are other options for energy when the time comes for the United States to become less dependent on fossil fuels. industrial hemp is a resilient plant that can grow almost anywhere in a variety of soil conditions. Maybe it’s possible for more countries across the globe to grow and process hemp? This could give those countries the potential for an economic base for infrastructure and jobs all while decreasing pollution effectively helping us all.
~Nick Wicinsky, Volunteer NHA Contributor
• “The Emperor wears no clothes” by Jack Herer
• 1 EPA Lifecycle Analysis of Greenhouse Gas Emissions from
Renewable Fuels, Washington, D.C.: U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency. Accessed September 14, 2017:
• Advantages and Challenges of Hemp Biodiesel Production
• Hemp Ethanol & Hemp Biodiesel: “Future Fuels Here Now!”
(DIY Biodiesel) Hemp News from Around TheWorld