Biodiesel fuel from Hemp Seed Oil
Hemp seed oil can be used as is in bio-diesel engines. Methyl esters, or bio-diesel, can be made from any oil or fat including hemp seed oil. The reaction requires the oil, an alcohol (usually methanol), and a catalyst, which produces bio-diesel and small amount of glycerol or glycerin. When co-fired with 15% methanol, bio-diesel fuel produces energy less than 1/3 as pollution as petroleum diesel.
Energy and Fuel from Hemp Stalks through Pyrolysis
Pyrolysis is the technique of applying high heat to biomass, or organic plants and tree matter, with little or no air. Reduced emissions from coal-fired power plants and automobiles can be accomplished by converting biomass to fuel utilizing pyrolysis technology. The process can produce, from lingo-cellulosic material (like the stalks of hemp), charcoal, gasoline, ethanol, non-condensable gasses, acetic acid, acetone, methane, and methanol. Process adjustments can be done to favor charcoal, pyrolytic oil, gas, or methanol, with 95.5% fuel-to-feed ratios. Around 68% of the energy of the raw biomass will be contained in the charcoal and fuel oils -- renewable energy generated here at home, instead of overpaying for foreign petroleum.
Pyrolysis facilities can run 3 shifts a day, and since pyrolysis facilities need to be within 50 miles of the energy crop to be cost effective, many new local and rural jobs will be created, not to mention the employment opportunities in trucking and transportation.
Hemp vs. Fossil Fuels
Pyrolysis facilities can use the same technology used now to process fossil fuel oil and coal. Petroleum coal and oil conversion is more efficient in terms of fuel-to-feed ratio, but there are many advantages to conversion by pyrolysis.
1) Biomass has a heating value of 5000-8000 BTU/lb, with virtually no ash or sulfur emissions.
2) Ethanol, methanol, methane gas, and gasoline can be derived from biomass at a fraction of the cost of the current cost of oil, coal, or nuclear energy, especially when environmental costs are factored in. Each acre of hemp could yield about 1000 gallons of methanol.
3) When an energy crop is growing, it takes carbon dioxide (CO2) from the air, and releases an equal amount when it is burned, creating a balanced system, unlike petroleum fuels, which only release CO2. When an energy crop like hemp is grown on a massive scale, it will initially lower the CO2 in the air, and then stabilize it at a level lower than before the planting of the energy crop.
4) Use of biomass would end acid rain, end sulfer-based smog, and reverse the greenhouse effect.
The most important aspect of industrial hemp farming, the most compelling thing hemp offers us, is fuel. Right now we are depleting our reserves of petroleum and buying it up from other countries. It would be nice if we could have a fuel source which was reusable and which we could grow right here, making us completely energy independent.
Petroleum fuel increases carbon monoxide in the atmosphere and contributes heavily to global warming and the greenhouse effect, which could lead to global catastrophe in the next 50 years if these trends continue. Do you want to find out if they are right, or do you want to grow the most cost effective and environmentally safe fuel source on the planet?
Using hemp as an energy and rotation crop would be a great step in the right direction.