Vehicles will use hemp fuel in the very near future because fossil fuels run out and it’s time to respect the planet Earth
We all know that fossil fuels are finite and we also know the negative impact they have on the environment and the quality of the air we breathe. The vehicles will use hemp fuel because with the seeds of this plant you can generate the cheapest and most efficient biofuel that exists.
Every day it is more urgent to find a sustainable substitute for oil. In 2010, researchers from the University of Connecticut demonstrated that hemp seed oil is a viable source for making biodiesel, a fuel derived from “biomass,” that is, residues of plant or animal material. Who would have imagined that this humble plant was so versatile? The best thing about hemp seed biodiesel is precisely that only the seeds are needed and there is still the rest of the plant for all the uses that this unique plant has.
Who would have imagined that this humble plant was so versatile? The best thing about hemp seed fuel is precisely that only the seeds are needed and there is still the rest of the plant for all the uses that this unique plant has. For thousands of years, industrial hemp has been cultivated throughout the world for the value of its stems and fibers, with which ropes, clothes.
For thousands of years, industrial hemp has been cultivated throughout the world for the value of its stems and fibers, with which ropes, clothes, paper, construction material, bioplastic, etc. can be manufactured. A farmer who grows hemp to make any of the products we have listed can also obtain the hemp fuel needed to supply the needs of his farm. Hemp was and will again be the cultivation of the future.
In 2010, researchers at the University of Connecticut discovered that industrial hemp seed oil is a viable source of biodiesel. These researchers tested hemp in the university’s specialized biofuel laboratory at the Center for Environmental Science and Engineering. To convert it into biodiesel, a process known as transesterification was used, that is a chemical reaction between vegetable or animal fats and alcohol.
Researchers at the University of Connecticut discovered that hemp has an extraordinarily high biodiesel conversion capacity since 97% of hemp oil was converted into biodiesel that can be used in any conventional diesel engine. It also burned at a lower temperature than any other biodiesel we currently find in the market such as soybean biodiesel, olives, peanut and rapeseed. Given such a perspective it is normal to think that soon the vehicles will use hemp fuel.
Debate on hemp food vs. hemp fuel
One of the most important issues about biofuels is the controversy over whether farmland should be used to “grow” fuel or if it should be used to grow food for people. Food or fuels? This is the question. But hemp is out of this debate because it has the ability to grow very well in poor and even absolutely infertile soils, allowing quality lands to be reserved for food crops.
Hemp needs a minimum of water and fertilizers and no pesticides to produce large crops. Very few diseases attack him and he grows very quickly. It is grown in hot or temperate climates, which means that it can be grown almost everywhere on the planet.
An important part of the poor air quality that is breathed in large cities is due to the CO2 emissions of cars. Hemp fuel is a viable and low-emission substitute compared to petroleum-based fuels. Typical diesel contains a lot of sulfur, which leads to sulfur oxide emissions, something that doesn’t happen with biodiesel.
It is also very versatile because if we only need the seeds to make biodiesel, we will have the rest of the plant to manufacture other products, which means that nothing is wasted in the production process. An important part of the poor air quality that is breathed in large cities is due to CO2 emissions from cars. Hemp fuel is a viable and low-emission substitute compared to petroleum-based fuels. Typical diesel contains a lot of sulfur, which generates sulfur oxide emissions, something that doesn’t happen with biodiesel.
The hemp plant is a carbon neutral resource that absorbs carbon dioxide faster than trees, while reabsorbing the emission of any CO2 caused by the combustion of biodiesel through the process of photosynthesis. On the other hand, hemp cultivation improves the quality of any soil.
What are we waiting for?
The study on hemp as biodiesel had been done almost a decade ago. What do we expect to grow hemp on a large scale and minimize the impact of fuels? It must be understood that the United States have been leaders in industrial research. But the regulated cultivation of industrial hemp was legalized in the country in 2018 with the approval of the Hemp Cultivation Law (Farm Bill) thanks to President Trump, whereby hemp was legally recognized as another agricultural product. For 70 years hemp has not been legally cultivated and this is the reason why it has not been possible to manufacture hemp biodiesel on a large scale.
We still do not have the infrastructure to produce hemp biofuels and more resources and time are needed for innovation and the development of hemp as a biofuel to mitigate some of the inconveniences that have arisen. Society needs approximately 50% more biofuel to create energy equivalent to fossil fuels, which requires a pre-treatment of hemp and a longer and more expensive process. But these problems are solved with investment and technological development. And thanks to the new legislation and an innovative attitude, hopefully in the coming years we will see an unprecedented development in biofuels and vehicles will use hemp fuel instead of fossil fuels.
On the other hand, it has been years since scientists found a lighter component in hemp that allows the construction of less heavy cars, which saves fuel during use. In addition, being a fiber of plant origin, it is renewable and has a lower energy cost, compared to other synthetic fibers. It is also cheaper and less harmful to the environment by being biodegradable.
Its exceptional resistance and its insulating properties make its use in high-end cars in Europe something common for some years. A well-known French company uses tons of hemp bioplastic in high-end car model designs. These incorporate hemp fiber in their boards and door panels. In our article “Hemp plastic versus petroleum plastic” we explain the advantages of using hemp plastic over petroleum plastic.
Hemp has a fiber that, when mixed with plastic resins such as polypropylene, becomes a very strong and lightweight material. The most prestigious car brands years ago that joined the use of hemp bioplastic in their high-end models. Some include doors composed of organic hemp fibers next to its body.