Hemp has been given a bad name over the years. A close cousin of marijuana, it has been demonised by the mainstream media, and many believe it to be just another psychedelic drug. In reality, industrial hemp contains less than 1% tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) which is the psychoactive ingredient in cannabis, and has far more uses than any other organic material. Hemp can be converted into biomass and used to produce energy in a similar way that we currently use charcoal. It has also shown incredible advantages over petrol when converted into biofuel, and is a clean, renewable source of energy that actually protects our environment.
Hemp is grown throughout Europe and Asia, and is used to produce a wide range of materials including clothing, paper, oil, and biodegradable plastic. It has also shown many advantages over crops currently used as fuel, and researchers found that 97% of hemp oil can be converted into biodiesel. It is also much more efficient to cultivate as it requires no fertiliser or pesticides, and actually nourishes the soil between harvests. After the Chernobyl Nuclear Plant disaster in 1986, hemp was planted in the surrounding fields to remove radioactive contamination from the soil. It can also convert Carbon Dioxide into Oxygen at a much faster rate than trees, so it makes a much more attractive option when it comes to the environment.
The exciting thing about hemp is that it has the potential to completely release us of our dependence on fossil fuels for energy, and drastically reduce the amount of pollution released into the atmosphere. It is a renewable source of energy that can replicate all the products that we currently rely on petroleum to produce such as engine fuel, plastics, paint, and car tires. It is also a completely sustainable source of fuel, and hemp farms can even operate on the same fuel that they produce. Hemp is already grown to manufacture all types of products, and the seeds from which biofuel is created are usually discarded. This means there is already a huge untapped source of hemp biofuel right in front of us, and the opportunity to wean ourselves off of fossil fuels has been available all along.
China is currently the world’s largest producer of hemp, and has been using it for manufacturing purposes for over ten thousand years. America imports more hemp products than any other country in the world, but the cultivation of hemp remains illegal throughout most of the country. Both of these nations are currently the world leaders in oil consumption, and contribute the most pollution into our atmosphere through the burning of fossil fuels. If these great nations fully embraced the potential of hemp biofuel, we could reverse global warming whilst creating a clean, renewable source of energy for generations to come.