Hemp – bioproducts
Collectively humanity is as far removed from our connection with mother nature as modern history would have us believe… yet not all is lost not by a long stretch… Ma has been patiently waiting for us with open leaves and branches. And it’s this fast growing biomass that provides the environmentally sustainable solutions.
Nanotechnology has revolutionized the electronics and telecommunications industries in every manner from cell phones to computers to multi-tasking wrist watches and so much more. There are products on the market today from hockey sticks and watercraft to nail polish and sunscreens that incorporate nanotechnology, though we aren’t generally aware of it as we purchase and use them.
But what does nanotechnology have to do with industrial hemp? As Hiruyoki Yano of Kyoto University accurately declared, “The cellulose sub-elementary fibril in plants is the most abundant nanomaterial on Earth!”
Thermoset compression moulding
Thermoset compression molding is currently producing car panels and other parts for several global auto manufacturers. A Mercedes car panel is made using this technology. The process involves taking a sheet of the hemp fiber matting, injecting it with thermoset resin, placing into a mold, heating it to high temps for a set amount of time, then popping the panel out of the mold for cleanup and final drilling/cutting. Currently, Mercedes, BMW, and Audi are few of the auto companies that are using this in their vehicles.
The reason why hemp lends itself so well to plastic production comes down to something called cellulose. All plastics, no matter where it’s derived from, require cellulose to structure the uniquely mouldable, yet durable, characteristics.
Petroleum has long been the go-to ingredient to source this cellulose, but now companies are branching out in the quest for more sustainable materials. Hemp is a perfect replacement for petroleum, considering hemp hurds are roughly 80 percent cellulose in nature. Unlike petroleum, hemp can be organically grown and is non-toxic.
Hemp plastic is used to make cars (more durable than steel), furniture, musical instruments, skateboards, sunglasses, pens, 3D printer filaments, biodegradable reusable and single use containers and so much more!
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, 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. Hemp biodiesel comes from the pressing of the hemp seeds to extract the oil.
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.