These last weeks I have been writing on plastic made from hemp and also from fuel made from hemp. I thought it could be a good idea to show that back in 1941 Ford build a car which has been made mostly from hemp. Moreover, its engine was running on hemp ethanol.
As a matter of fact, Henry Ford said “There is fuel in every bit of vegetable matter that can be fermented. There’s enough alcohol in one year’s yield of an acre of potatoes to drive the machinery necessary to cultivate the fields for a hundred years.”.
It does show that even in the first half of the twentieth century; car manufacturers already knew that petroleum-based fuel was an exhaustible ressource.
But mainly it shows the influence of the USA over the world through history. In 1937, growing hemp has been forbidden in the USA and the rest of the world followed. I will describe this specifically in a few post.
Hemp plastic is made from the hemp stalk, not from the seeds or the oil that can be extacted from hemp plants. It is a material which has many advantages over petroleum-made plastic.
First of all, it compete with engineering compounds in properties such as stiffness and high heat tolerance. That means hemp plastic is as reliable as other plastics.
Moreover, it is a totally renewable material since it is made from a plant. It is also recyclable which is an important point because not all plastics are recyclable.
Finally, it is eco-friendly and it starts with the growing cycle while hemp absorbs four times the amount the trees does in the same time. Then, the hemp plastic production requires less energy than fossil fuel based plastics as you can see below.
During the process, there is a 70% carbon emission saving compare to classic plastic production.
While being advantageous economically, the hemp plastic has a lot of ecological advantages. Right now the only problem is in several countries it is forbidden to grow hemp and therefore some companies have to import it.
According to some researchers, mankind has now reach the point where the cost of producing energy from fossil fuels is higher than the cost of producing energy from biomass fuels.
Biomass is a term used to describe all biologically produced matter and therefore, hemp is considered as biomass. It can also be used to describes anything that has been produced biologically, through farming for instance. If you have read my former posts, you must know now all the advantages of the hemp ecologically speaking. The same benefits applies for the production of hemp fuel. It is a renewable source and it is burnt, it does not produce carbon dioxide or carbon monoxide while coal or kerosene does.
In order to make hemp biodiesel, the hemp biomass must chemically decomposed or biologically digested. If you want to read a really complete explanation of how fuel is made from hemp, check this out: http://www.ratical.org/renewables/biomass.html
Finally, the hemp biofuel or biodiesel has many advantages: it is really easy to store compared to petrole, it is biodegradable, it is better for an engine life than classic fuel or diesel.
According to some researchers, hemp fuel may be the fuel of the future.
Through history, hemp has always been used in order to make paper. 2000 years ago the first paper sheets were made with hemp in China. Before 1883, 70% of the paper was made with hemp. Even the United States declaration of independence has been written on hemp paper.
As we have seen in the last post, the major advantage of hemp is that it can be cultivated really easily and in a environment-respectful way. Moreover, regarding paper manufacturing, hemp has another huge advantage, paper is made from cellulose which is a structural fiber in plants and trees. Hemp produces a fiber much more pure than fibers that may be gathered from wood trees. It is really interesting because with hemp fibers there is no need to remove any impurities whereas with wood it is necessary. And of course, these purification processes are pollutants.
Finally, hemp paper is thinner and way more durable than classic paper. Basically, a book containing hemp paper will last longer than a book containing wood paper.