September 7, 2009 – Henry Ford believed in using Hemp products to make cars. He was green 50 years before GREEN was cool.Picture 6

Henry Ford predicted back in 1925 that the future fuels used to power automobiles, trucks, planes, and power boat engines would come from sustainable and more eco-friendly resources than fossil fuels. He even aggressively supported the use of hemp products to create bio-degradable auto parts.

With so many changes happening in the auto industry, companies like Fisker and Tesla working on electric models, motorsports competitors participating in Formula 3 Racing looking closely at bio-fuels, big name exotics company leaders like Ferrari — who participate in Formula 1 and are planning to release hybrid exotics on the market soon as alternative power source vehicles, sportscar companies like BMW releasing Hydrogen cars, and luxury car companies like Lexus promoting hybrid model daily drivers are finally beginning to provide consumers that are making life more green while keeping owners on the go.

Fuel of the Future
When Henry Ford told a New York Times reporter that ethyl alcohol was “the fuel of the future” in 1925, he was expressing an opinion that was widely shared in the automotive industry. “The fuel of the future is going to come from fruit like that sumach out by the road, or from apples, weeds, sawdust — almost anything,” he 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.”

Ford recognized the utility of the hemp plant. He constructed a car of resin stiffened hemp fiber, and even ran the car on ethanol made from hemp. Ford knew that hemp could produce vast economic resources if widely cultivated.

Ford’s optimistic appraisal of cellulose and crop based ethyl alcohol fuel can be read in several ways.

First, it can be seen as an oblique jab at a competitor. General Motors had come to considerable grief that summer of 1925 over another octane boosting fuel called tetra-ethyl lead, and government officials had been quietly in touch with Ford engineers about alternatives to leaded gasoline additives.

Secondly, by 1925 the American farms that Ford loved were facing an economic crisis that would later intensify with the depression. Although the causes of the crisis were complex, one possible solution was seen in creating new markets for farm products. With Ford’s financial and political backing, the idea of opening up industrial markets for farmers would be translated into a broad movement for scientific research in agriculture that would be labelled “Farm Chemurgy.”

Why Henry’s plans were delayed for more than a half century
Ethanol has been known as a fuel for many decades. Indeed, when Henry Ford designed the Model T, it was his expectation that ethanol, made from renewable biological materials, would be a major automobile fuel. However, gasoline emerged as the dominant transportation fuel in the early twentieth century because of the ease of operation of gasoline engines with the materials then available for engine construction, a growing supply of cheaper petroleum from oil field discoveries, and intense lobbying by petroleum companies for the federal government to maintain steep alcohol taxes.

Many bills proposing a National energy program that made use of Americas vast agricultural resources (for fuel production) were killed by smear campaigns launched by vested petroleum interests. One noteworthy claim put forth by petrol companies was that the U.S. government’s plans “robbed taxpayers to make farmers rich”.

Gasoline had many disadvantages as an automotive resource. The “new” fuel had a lower octane rating than ethanol, was much more toxic (particularly when blended with tetra-ethyl lead and other compounds to enhance octane), generally more dangerous, and contained threatening air pollutants.

Petroleum was more likely to explode and burn accidentally, gum would form on storage surfaces and carbon deposits would form in combustion chambers of engines. Pipelines were needed for distribution from “area found” to “area needed”. Petroleum was much more physically and chemically diverse than ethanol, necessitating complex refining procedures to ensure the manufacture of a consistent “gasoline” product.

However, despite these environmental flaws, fuels made from petroleum have dominated automobile transportation for the past three-quarters of a century. There are two key reasons: First, cost per kilometer of travel has been virtually the sole selection criteria. Second, the large investments made by the oil and auto industries in physical capital, human skills and technology make the entry of a new cost-competitive industry difficult.

Until very recently, environmental concerns have been largely ignored. All of that is finally changing as consumers demand fuels such as ethanol, which are much better for the environment and human health. By Kae Davis. Source.

More Information on Hemp:

Why Can’t We Grow Hemp in America?
Hemp Facts
The Case for Hemp in America
The Versatility of the Incredible Hemp Plant and How It Can Help Create a More Sustainable Future

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September 6, 2009 – I was just watching Jodie and Marc walking through the hemp field and I thought it would be a good time to share my hemp ethanol research with y’all!hemp-bio-fuel

In this day of oil wars, peak oil (and the accompanying soaring prices), climate change and oil spills such as the Exxon-Valdez, it’s more important than ever to promote sustainable alternatives such as hemp ethanol.

Hemp turns out to be the most cost-efficient and valuable of all the fuel crops!

And as it turns out, the whole reason for hemp prohibition – and alcohol prohibition – may have been a fuel monopoly!

(i)Insert from Part One: The Economics of Hemp Fuels—

THE EXPERTS:
I decided to investigate these arguments against biofuels and hemp fuels by bouncing them off people doing research in this area. I spoke with Adrian Francis Clarke of Fibre (Europe) Laboratory LTD, Don Wirtshafter of the Ohio Hempery, Tim Castleman of fuelandfiber.com, and Shaun Crew of Hemp Oil Canada.

It is important to understand that hemp provides two types of fuel; hemp biodiesel – made from the oil of the hemp seed, and hemp ethanol/methanol – made from the fermented stalk. To clarify further, ethanol is made from such things as grains, sugars, starches, waste paper & forest products, and methanol is made from woody matter. Through processes such as gasification, acid hydrolysis and enzymes, hemp can be used to make both ethanol and methanol.

I asked questions about the current prices of hemp biodeisel and hemp ethanol/methanol, and what these prices would be post cannabis relegalization. To be economically viable, these fuels would have to be cheaper than gasoline, currently priced at up to 120 cents per liter (Can.) (7) or up to 3 dollars per gallon (US) (8) Of course, petroleum prices could get much more expensive in the near future, a topic which will be covered in the third part of this article under “peak oil”…

Hemp methanol, on the other hand, does make the fuel lineup. According to Tim, hemp ethanol could be produced for 1.37 per gallon plus the cost of the feedstock, with technological improvements and tax credits reducing the price another dollar or so per gallon! (14) And the cost of the feedstock would become much more available as more hemp was grown for more products, providing more and more free (or nearly-free) feedstock as a “waste product”. Could you imagine paying under 50 cents per gallon (US) or 15 cents per liter (CAN) for your hemp ethanol?!!”

Source.

May 22nd, 2009 – Hemp seed oil can be used as is in bio-diesel engines. Methyl esters, or bio-diesel, can be made from any oil or fat including hemp seed oil. The reaction requires the oil, an alcohol (usually methanol), and a catalyst, which produces bio-diesel and small amount of glycerol or glycerin. When co-fired with 15% methanol, bio-diesel fuel produces energy less than 1/3 as pollution as petroleum diesel.

Energy and Fuel from Hemp Stalks through Pyrolysis

Pyrolysis is the technique of applying high heat to biomass, or organic plants and tree matter, with little or no air. Reduced emissions from coal-fired power plants and automobiles can be accomplished by converting biomass to fuel utilizing pyrolysis technology. The process can produce, from lingo-cellulosic material (like the stalks of hemp), charcoal, gasoline, ethanol, non-condensable gasses, acetic acid, acetone, methane, and methanol. Process adjustments can be done to favor charcoal, pyrolytic oil, gas, or methanol, with 95.5% fuel-to-feed ratios. Around 68% of the energy of the raw biomass will be contained in the charcoal and fuel oils — renewable energy generated here at home, instead of overpaying for foreign petroleum.

Pyrolysis facilities can run 3 shifts a day, and since pyrolysis facilities need to be within 50 miles of the energy crop to be cost effective, many new local and rural jobs will be created, not to mention the employment opportunities in trucking and transportation.

Hemp vs. Fossil Fuels

Pyrolysis facilities can use the same technology used now to process fossil fuel oil and coal. Petroleum coal and oil conversion is more efficient in terms of fuel-to-feed ratio, but there are many advantages to conversion by pyrolysis.

1) Biomass has a heating value of 5000-8000 BTU/lb, with virtually no ash or sulfur emissions.

2) Ethanol, methanol, methane gas, and gasoline can be derived from biomass at a fraction of the cost of the current cost of oil, coal, or nuclear energy, especially when environmental costs are factored in. Each acre of hemp could yield about 1000 gallons of methanol.

3) When an energy crop is growing, it takes carbon dioxide (CO2) from the air, and releases an equal amount when it is burned, creating a balanced system, unlike petroleum fuels, which only release CO2. When an energy crop like hemp is grown on a massive scale, it will initially lower the CO2 in the air, and then stabilize it at a level lower than before the planting of the energy crop.

4) Use of biomass would end acid rain, end sulfer-based smog, and reverse the greenhouse effect.

Coal

Unlike petroleum reserves, America has enough coal to last 100-300 years, but burning it for electricity puts sulfur (toxic to every membrane in which it comes in contact, especially the simplest life forms – into the air, which leads to acid rain, which lills 50,000 Americans, and 5,000 – 10,000 Canadians, annually, and destroys the forests, river, and animals.

Charcoal can be created from biomass through pyrolysis (charcoaling), which has nearly the same heating value in BTU as coal, virtually without sulfur. Biomass can also be co-fired with coal to reduce emissions.

Ethanol and Methanol

Ethanol is a water-free, high-octane alcohol which can be used as fuel to drive cars. Under current conditions, use of ethanol-blended fuels such as E85 (85% ethanol and 15% gasoline) can reduce net emissions of greenhouse gases by as much as 37.1%. Ethanol-powered vehicles do suffer in performance (barely), but ethanol is effective as a fuel additive because it helps engines burn cleaner.

Once pyrolysis facilities are up and running, converting biomass into charcoal for electrical power plants, it will be more feasible to build the complex gasifying systems to produce ethanol and/or methanol from the cubed biomass, or to make high-octane lead-free gasoline from the methanol using a catalytic process developed by Georgia Tech University in conjunction with Mobil Oil Corporation.

Ethanol is currently being used as a fuel additive, replacing toxic methyl tertiary ether (MTBE). Ethanol producers are currently providing only 1% of America’s liquid fuel. Soon though, as new development processes are researched, and with the use of hemp, the plant worlds number one producer of biomass, the cost of this alternative fuel will give petroleum vigorous competition.

Hydrolysis: A process whereby cellulose is converted to fermentable glucose, which holds the greatest promise for production and feedstock, because it could produce 100 gallons/ton. Tim Castleman and the Fuel and Fiber Company are researching this technology. Their method extracts the high-value bast fiber as first step. Then the remaining core material (mostly hurd) is converted to alcohol (methanol, ethanol), and then to glucose. Hydrolysis could produce 300,000 to 600,000 tons of biomass per year per facility, if each facility could process input from 60,000 to 170,000 acres.

Gasification: A form of pyrolysis which converts biomass into synthetic gas, such as ethanol, and low grade fuel oil with an energy content of about 40% that of petroleum diesel. This process is good for community power-corporation and people seeking self-sufficient energy needs. A small modular bio-powered system is in place in the village of Alaminos in the Philippines, using gasification techniques for energy.

Anaerobic Digestion: A process of capturing methane from green waste material (biomass). This process is toxic, but well suited for distributed power generation when co-located with electrical generation equipment.

Boiler: Biomass can also be burned in a boiler, but this energy has a value of $30-50 ton, which makes it impractical due to the higher value of hemp fiber, unless used on a local small scale, and in remote rural applications.

Hemp Produces the Most Biomass of Any Plant on Earth.

Hemp is at least four times richer in biomass/cellulose potential than its nearest rivals: cornstalks, sugarcane, kenaf, trees, etc.

Hemp produces the most biomass of any crop, which is why it is the natural choice for an energy crop. Hemp converts the sun’s energy into cellulose faster than any other plant, through photosynthesis. Hemp can produce 10 tons of biomass per acre every four months. Enough energy could be produced on 6% of the land in the U.S. to provide enough energy for our entire country (cars, heat homes, electricity, industry) — and we use 25% of the world’s energy.

To put which in perspective, right now we pay farmers not to grow on 6% (around 90 million acres) of the farming land, while another 500 million acres of marginal farmland lies fallow. This land could be used to grow hemp as an energy crop.

Conclusion

The most important aspect of industrial hemp farming, the most compelling thing hemp offers us, is fuel. Right now we are depleting our reserves of petroleum and buying it up from our Arab enemies. It would be nice if we could have a fuel source which was reusable and which we could grow right here, making us completely energy independent.

Petroleum fuel increases carbon monoxide in the atmosphere and contributes heavily to global warming and the greenhouse effect, which, the EPA has warned, will lead to global catastrophe in the next 50 years if these trends continue. Do you want to find out if they are right, or do you want to grow the most cost effective and environmentally safe fuel source on the planet?

Using hemp as an energy and rotation crop would be a great step in the right direction.

Hemp Seed Oil

Hemp seed oil has historically been used as lamp oil. It is said to shine the brightest of all lamp oils. Hemp seed oil lit the lamps of Abraham Lincoln, Abraham the prophet, and was used in the legendary lamps of Aladdin.

Anything which can be made from fossil fuels can be made from an organic substance like hemp. Toxic petrochemicals can be replaced with hemp oil.

Hemp oil can be made into anything with an oil base, including paint, varnish, detergent, solvent, and lubricating oil. The advantage of these product is that they are earth friendly and biodegradable, and do not destroy ecosystems around them like petrochemicals do.

Until the 1930s most paint and varnishes were made with non-toxic hemp oil. Hemp paint provides superior coating because hemp oil soaks into and preserves wood, due to its high resistance to water.

Hemp oil is a good base for non-toxic printing inks. Soy is currently made into inks, but soy ink requires more processing and takes longer to dry than hemp oil based inks. Source.