Beyond the medicinal properties and profitability of hemp, it may be key in reducing our dependency on fossil fuels. When processed correctly, hemp can be converted into fuel which is already being utilized across Europe and is set to grow within the United States.
The first type of fuel, hemp biodiesel, is created by pressing hemp seeds and extracting the oils and fats. Once processed, hemp biodiesel is compatible with most any existing conventional diesel engine. This makes it extremely convenient in that existing fuel supply chain methods can be utilized to ship and distribute hemp biodiesel without the need for an increase in major infrastructure.
Hemp Biodiesel also has a proven track record “with over 30 million successful US road miles, and over 20 years of use in Europe.” (1) It can extend the life of a diesel engine, has a more pleasant smell than standard diesel, and is less harmful to the environment. As a fuel alternative, Hemp Biodiesel shows promise towards helping cut fossil fuel dependency.
Hemp Ethanol + Methanol
One advantage to using hemp to create methanol is that the whole plant may be utilized as opposed to just the seeds. Through a process called celluloysis (1), hemp can be converted and used as fuel. By not using food crops such as corn or wheat for these purposes, it allows for more efficient food production and hemp is able to grow in lesser quality conditions.
The auto-industry already uses hemp plastic for car parts and the alternative uses for hemp continue to expand. With support from the government and the passing of the 2018 Farm Bill, hemp as a fuel source will continue to expand and can offer an environmentally conscious fuel alternative.