The basics: Hemp can provide two types of fuel.
1. Hemp biodiesel – made from the oil of the (pressed) hemp seed.
2. Hemp ethanol/methanol – made from the fermented stalk.
In this day of oil wars, peak oil (and the accompanying soaring prices), climate change and oil spills such as the one in the gulf by BP, it’s more important than ever to promote sustainable alternatives such as hemp ethanol and biodiesel. Hemp turns out to be the most cost-efficient and valuable of all the fuel crops we could grow on a scale that could fuel the world.
To clarify further, ethanol is made from such things as grains, sugars, starches, waste paper and forest products, and methanol is made from woody/pulp matter. Using processes such as gasification, acid hydrolysis and enzymes, hemp can be used to make both ethanol and methanol. Bio-diesel is made from oils and fatty acids in plants and animals.
What is Hemp Biodiesel?
Hemp biodiesel is the name for a variety of ester based oxygenated fuels made from hemp oil. The concept of using vegetable oil as an engine fuel dates back to 1895 when Dr. Rudolf Diesel developed the first diesel engine to run on vegetable oil. Diesel demonstrated his engine at the World Exhibition in Paris in 1900 using peanut oil as fuel. Even Henry Ford built his first cars to run on Bio-diesel. Hemp biodiesel comes from the pressing of the hemp seeds to extract the oil. Through a process explained here, hemp biodiesel can be made.
Hemp biodiesel can be made from domestically produced, renewable oilseed crops such as hemp. With over 30 million successful U.S. road miles hemp biodiesel could be the answer to our cry for renewable fuel sources. Learning more about renewable fuels does not mean we should not cut back on consumption but does help address the environmental affects of our choices. There is more to hemp as a renewable fuel source than you know
Why Hemp Biodiesel?
- Biodiesel is the only alternative fuel that runs in any conventional, unmodified diesel engine.
- It can be stored anywhere that petroleum diesel fuel is stored. Biodiesel is safe to handle and transport because it is as biodegradable as sugar, 10 times less toxic than table salt, and has a high flashpoint of about 300 F compared to petroleum diesel fuel, which has a flash point of 125 F.
- Biodiesel can be made from domestically produced, renewable oilseed crops such as hemp.
- Biodiesel is a proven fuel with over 30 million successful US road miles, and over 20 years of use in Europe.
- When burned in a diesel engine, biodiesel replaces the exhaust odor of petroleum diesel with the pleasant smell of hemp, popcorn or french fries.
- Biodiesel is the only alternative fuel in the US to complete EPA Tier I Health Effects Testing under section 211(b) of the Clean Air Act, which provide the thorough inventory of environmental and human health effects attributes that current technology will allow.
- Biodiesel is 11% oxygen by weight and contains no sulfur.
- The use of biodiesel can extend the life of diesel engines because it is more lubricating than petroleum diesel fuel, while fuel consumption, auto ignition, power output, and engine torque are relatively unaffected by biodiesel.
- The Congressional Budget Office, Department of Defense, US Department of Agriculture, and others have determined that biodiesel is the low cost alternative fuel option for fleets to meet requirements of the Energy Policy Act.