Fuel is not synonymous with petroleum and coal. Biomass energy systems can supply a sustainable source of fuel and will create millions of new clean jobs. Hemp biomass derived fuels and oils can replace every type of fossil fuel energy product.
During transpiration, the growig hemp plants "breathe in" CO2 (carbon dioxide) to build cell structure; the leftover oxygen is breathed out, replenishing Earth's air supply. Then when the carbon rich hemp biomass is burned for energy the CO2 is released back into the air. The CO2 cycle comes close to ecological balance when the new fuel crop is grown the next year. Growing trees keeps 10 times the carbon dioxide in the Earth by keeping the infrastructure of the microbes, insects, plants, fungi, etc. alive for each tree. The older and bigger the tree, the more carbon dioxide is kept out of the atmostphere.
(Not all of the biomass crop gets converted into fuels. Some leaves, stalk stubble and all of the roots remain in the field as crop residues. This carbon rich organic matter adds to the soil fertility, and with each passing season a little more carbon dioxide from the air enters to soil, so the biomass fuel crops slowly reduce the amount of carbon dioxide from our polluted atmosphere.)
Biomass conversion through pyrolysis (applying high heat to organic material in the absence of air or in reduced air) produces clean burning charcoal to replace coal. Sulfur emitted from coal fired boiler smokestacks is the primary cause of acid rain. Measuring acidity on the pH scale, the rainfall in New England often falls between household vinegar and lemon juice. This is bad for every cell membrane the rain comes in contact with, doing the most harm to the simplest life forms. Charcoal contains no sulfur, so when it is burned for industry no sulfur is emitted from the process.
The biomass "cracking" process also produces non-sulfur fuel oils capable of replacing fossil fuel oils such as diesel oil. And the net atmospheric CO2 doesn't rise when biomass derived fuel oils are burned.
Pyrolysis uses the same "cracking" technology employed by the petroleum industry in processing fossil fuels. The gasses that remain after the charcoal and fuel oils are extracted from hemp can be used for driving electric power co-generators, too!
This biomass conversion process can be adjusted to produce charcoal, methanol and fuel oils to process steam, as well as chemicals important to industry: acetone, ethyl acetate, tar, pitch and creosote.
The Ford Moto Co. successfully operated a biomass "cracking" plant in the 1930s at Iron Mountain, Michigan, using trees for cellulose fuels. (Earth-friendly hemp is at least four times as efficient as trees for fuel, and is sustainable.)
"Progress in Biomass Conversion" Vol. 1, Sarkanen & Tillman, editors; Energy Farming in America, Osburn, Lynn, Access Unlimited.
Hempseed contains 30% (by volume) oil. This oil has been used to make highgrade diesel fuel oil and aircraft engine and precision machine oil. Throughout history, hempseed oil was used for lighting in oil lamps. Legend says the genie's lamp burned hempseed oil, as did Abraham the prophet's. In Abraham Lincoln's time only whale oil came near hempseed oil in popularity for fuel.
Was this article helpful?