Cannabis as a new renewable energy source that uses clean technologies. The global push towards utilizing a greater amount of sustainable resources. In an effort to reduce our dependence on polluting energy sources such as fossil fuels. This has led to an increasing amount of research devoted to alternative energy sources. 

Commonly known alternative energy sources include solar, wind, hydroelectric, geothermal and biomass energy.

Plants possess a number of biomass components that have been transformed into currently used fuel sources. In addtion, plants also possess a wide variety of phytochemicals that are shown to successfully mimic liquid fuels. Moreover it is potentially substitute to petrochemicals.

One plant of interest for similar alternative fuel purposes is Cannabis, which is more commonly referred to as hemp. Hemp is a multi-purpose and fast growing crop that has been extensively studied for its use in the pharmaceutical and construction sectors. However its potential use as a biodiesel fuel is worth investigating as well.

Energy From Plants And Biofuels

Plants and organic materials can be converted to fuel in almost any form. These alternatives have a lot of advantages over fossil fuels. Below are some of the advantages:

  • Plants contain small to no sulfur components or other contaminants that are commonly found in gasoline. These contaminants are associated with causing air pollution and the subsequent promotion of acid rain.
  • Photosynthesis is the process by which plants convert water and carbon dioxide (CO2) into carbohydrates and oxygen. The production of biomass recycles CO2, a major contributor to global warming, back into the fuel source, which is also beneficial for the environment.
  • No mining, strip-mining or drilling is required to harvest plants, as compared to those processes that are used for the extraction of oil.

Making Fuel From Hemp

The hemp plant exhibits a robust resistance to drought and pests, a solid root system that resists soil erosion, and a lower water requirement than crops like cotton. Hemp is therefore a highly versatile fiber crop that is particularly unique for its possession of both a high percentage of useful oil and biomass components.

Historically, hemp biomass has been used for energy purposes. However, its use for this purpose was traditionally limited to the use of oil that was pressed from hemp seed. This was to provide lighting for some applications. 

In 2011, Dr. Thomas Prade of the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences investigated the energy yield of hemp for its potential application as both a solid biofuel and biogas. He compared this data to other commonly used energy crops in northern Europe.

In his work, Prade determined that industrial hemp exhibits a high energy yield per hectare. In addition, it has a very high specific methane yield that could be increased through the pretreatment of biogas.

Additionally, a group of researchers from the University of Connecticut have also confirmed that the physical and chemical properties of biodiesel derived from unrefined hemp soil meet the standards set by the American Society for Testing and Materials for biodiesel fuel.

Research Directions In The Future

The cultivation of industrial hemp is still prohibited in a majority of industrialized countries, such as Norway and the United States, despite the potential benefits. Visit Homegrown Cannabis Co. for more details.

Although governments are concerned about the potential abuse that could result from the cultivation of these plants for their desired psychoactive effects, the industrial growth of hemp would exhibit an insignificant concentration of the compounds that induce these effects.

Future research must therefore be conducted on the sustainability of hemp as a potential energy crop in large-scale bioenergy carrier production. Additionally, any potential environmental, economical and social impacts must also be further examined. Visit for more info.

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