It’s no secret that the world wants alternatives to gasoline to power their cars. It’s an uphill battle with the big oil companies. Yet, those concerned about the environment are making progress with hemp fuel.
As of December 2020, there were over 5.6 million electric vehicles on the road around the world. This number will only continue to rise. It’s estimated that, by 2040, 58 percent of global passenger vehicle sales will be electric vehicles.
Electricity isn’t the only alternative to gasoline though. It just made it to the market first. Not surprising, hemp is one of many materials considered worthy to replace traditional fuel. It’s versatility across so many industries makes it worth looking into as one biofuel option.
Any fuel made from plants fit into the classification of biofuel. The fruit, grain, or fibers of a plant can all contribute to making biofuel, but for hemp, it’s mostly the fiber. This is known as cellulosic ethanol or bioethanol.
Today, most biofuel comes from corn or sugarcane. While these are great sources of ethanol, using them for fuel creates competition with food production. If a farmer uses his whole corn crop for fuel, the grocery stores are out a favorite fall food. It’s beneficial to seek out plant-based fuel that isn’t also grown as a staple food item.
How to transform hemp into fuel
Converting hemp plants into biofuel is a multi-stepped process that begins after harvesting. Instead of drying and preparing the plant for cannabinoid extraction, plant material gets shredded. It’s then heated, along with specific chemicals, to release the cellulose. Enzymes then break down the cellulose into sugars. From there, with the help of microbes, the sugars get fermented into ethanol. This is then purified and distilled into usable biofuel.
It’s also possible to make biofuel by pressing hemp seeds to extract their oils and fats. This specifically makes hemp biodiesel. It can go straight into diesel-powered cars and trucks.
Why it’s a good alternative
Hemp fuel is naturally more sustainable than regular fuel because it comes from plants. The supply won’t run out. Growing it won’t put any unnatural strain on the environment. It’s also a plant that flourishes in most climates. Almost every country could produce hemp for their own fuel source.
Hemp also grows fast. Harvest occurs within about four months, meaning supply for biofuel is easy to maintain.
What’s still holding hemp fuel back
One of the main setbacks, even though hemp grows quickly, is the time it takes to process it into biofuel. It involves more steps to completion and that work creates waste.
Hemp also isn’t the solution to the environmental crisis created from our dependence on fossil fuels. It may help reduce the harmful pollutants our cars put into the atmosphere, but it’s not going to eliminate the problem. Seen as one part of a bigger solution though, hemp fuel can make a sizable contribution toward reducing our dependence on gasoline.
Process your hemp with Arbor Vita8
No matter what your end-product is, working with Arbor Vita8 ensures a high-quality product. From extracted hemp oil to processed biomass for hempcrete, paint, paper, and more, our qualified professionals know how to get the job done right. We’ve created a superior processing facility. We use only high-end, safe, and clean equipment. Our care and attention-to-detail blow the competition out of the water and leave you with a superior product. Contact us today to learn more.