Hemp As A Biofuel: Pros, Cons and Why We Need It?
First of let me start this post by saying the pros out weigh the cons by far! Hemp Biofuel is not an alternative to fossil fuels but a solution, a much needed solution. When we hear the term”biofuel” for the first time, we immediately think of an alternative to conventional methods of power, an alternative would suggest it is on par or even with what we use- but it is far superior in almost every way, yet we still rely on fossil fuels such as oil and coal.
Skeptics argue that using plants such as corn for biofuel will raise prices for food and/or use land that is required to grow food which will in turn raise the price of your weekly grocery bill. As well as what continuous farming does to the land! But this particular plant is quite unique when it is compared with other fuel crops… Here are some facts about hemp you should know.
Hemp Fuel: Pros, Cons and comparison to other energy sources
How do we compare hemp fuel with fossil fuel? These are the pros and cons.
- Hemp biofuel eliminates criteria pollutants and the emissions of carbon monoxide, which is 50% lower than the emissions from fossil fuel
- We breathe exhaust emissions that are hazardous to our health. The use of hemp biofuel decreases the exhaust of particulate matter by 30% and lowers health risk from use of fossil fuel. According to a research, hemp fuel emissions cut levels of PAH and nitrated PAH as well as a whole lot of other carcinogens. (substances that can cause cancer)
- Hemp seeds are a very nutritious source of food so growing the hemp plant in land designated for growing food will not only produce food but will also fuel and not to mention the other 25,000 uses for hemp.(biodiesel is made from hemp seed oil, bioethanol is made from other parts of the plant)
- Reduced demand for herbicides and pesticides. Hemp is a fast growing plant that ‘fans out’ meaning it will grow faster than most weeds and the leaves will block the sun essentially killing the weeds. Hemp is also a very ‘hardy plant’ it can grow in conditions that other plants will struggle to grow in and it has few pests.
- Hemp fuel is sustainable, you can grow a new crop of hemp every year, where as fossil fuels take millions of years to regenerate.
- Biofuels are cleaner burning thus reducing engine wear
- It is safer to store than fossil fuels.
- Hemp will help release the stranglehold that big oil companies have on the consumer
Hemp Biofuel is carbon neutral
What does that mean? Basically the amount of carbon that the actual plants ‘breathes in’ whilst it is growing is equivalent to what is produced when it is consumed as a biofuel. So it will not contribute to the accumulation of carbon that is spewed into the air every day!
- Hemp looks almost identical to Marijuana so a helicopter flying over a field of hemp will be unable to tell the difference. (the ethics on weather or not marijuana should be illegal is the subject of another post)
- Hemp oil (used for making biodiesel) has a short self life.
So why is it not widely used?
My personal opinion is Greed!
As you know Marijuana is officially classed as a drug and Hemp was placed in the same category.
Unlike marijuana, hemp won’t make you “high” because it has almost no THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana). Hemp’s THC level is only around 1%, while that of marijuana reaches between 5% to 15%. So it would not be possible to consume enough hemp to get you high.
As well as the fact you can make a substitute plastic from hemp, plastic and fuel is two things we get from oil- so that puts industrial hemp in direct competition with oil companies! Not to mention all of the other industries threatened by this useful plant.
While other nations are more realistic about hemp policy. The US doesn’t seem to be rational when it comes to the hemp issue, it is the only developed nation which doesn’t recognize the importance of hemp use for production. But did you know it use to be illegal for a farmer not to grow hemp in America, considering it is such a useful plant. And get this the US constitution was written on hemp paper.
It more environmentally friendly to grow than any other biofuel plant, It is much less harmful to the environment than burning fossil fuels. Remember the big oil spill near Mexico, yet another reason to shy away from oil. And an Ironic part of this is the fact that hemp fibre is one of the best ways of absorbing oil!