The Pros and Cons of Hemp Biofuel
The debate on traditional fossil fuels versus biofuels has been raging for many years now. It's the dueling ideas of remaining with the comfort of what we know, what our society is set up to use, but what is a rapidly depleting resource versus something revolutionary, a new way of life for our society, and a fuel source that is more easily replenished although with a few different hiccups.
So as the world pauses in the face of a new and different danger...as we stay home to protect ourselves, others, and allow the earth a bit of a break...maybe now is the time to reanalyze and ask ourselves what we can do now to better improve and preserve the world that we live in.
What are the pros and cons of the idea of switching to biofuels, and hemp biofuels in particular?
The Pros and Cons of Hemp Biofuels
Let's first take a look at the potential cons that come with switching over to hemp biofuel as the world's fuel source.
1) Growing useful biofuels requires fertile soil. This has sparked one of the arguments that we need fertile soil to be able to produce the food that we as a human race need to survive. Why take that fertile soil to produce fuel when a more pressing need is food?
While this is a legitimate concern, an alternating pro of specifically hemp biofuel is that hemp can actually grow well in infertile soil. Not only that, but hemp returns around 70% of the nutrients it takes during its growing cycle back into the soil, reducing the amount of fertilizer it would need and nourishing the infertile soil at the same time.
2) There is a con to this, too, though. While it's beneficial that hemp can grow in infertile soil and free up more fertile land for growing food, infertile land can be difficult to farm. This difficulty could lead to a potential issue for the mass growth and distribution of biofuels that we would need due to higher CO2 farming emissions and higher costs to cultivate.
3) A third con is a fact that our world is mostly built on the capability of processing and running on fossil fuels. The kind of overhaul needed to convert every fossil fuel-based machine and proceed with new manufacturing is a process that could take years, even decades to complete. While it isn't impossible, it is a very big, long-term hurdle that would have to be overcome.
There are a great many things in favor of switching over to hemp biofuel, however! And the pros could just outweigh the cons.
1) Hemp is resilient and low-maintenance. It grows rapidly and can have a much higher turn-around rate for biofuels and other hemp-based products in comparison to a lot of our current staple items like cotton, trees, and crude oil.
2) Bioremediation! This is a gigantic, fancy word that means that hemp gives back to the earth instead of just depleting it of nutrients! Hemp naturally removes toxins from the soil, including metals, pesticides, crude oil, and even radioactive agents. Not only can it grow in infertile soil, but it could help "cure" or "heal" this soil into something more fertile.
3) Planting hemp for hemp biofuel could also have a more positive environmental impact on our world than just replenishing the soil. Hemp soaks up CO2 faster than even trees do. Not only that, by using hemp for biofuel, but the CO2 emissions are also reabsorbed in plants through photosynthesis.
4) Literally, every part of the hemp plant can be used for some sort of fueling usage, so none of it is being wasted. There is a lot of hemp being produced across the world already, but much of it is being discarded and not used.
For instance, cannabis stalks are used as fiber, but many farmers just throw the seeds away, and the seeds are the exact place where hemp's "green" properties are found. Roughly 1/3 of the seeds is oil, which could produce roughly 207 gallons of hemp oil per hectare. This has HUGE potential for the hemp biofuel industry!
While there are hurdles to cross to get to a cleaner, more environmentally-friendly fuel source, the ultimate pros of hemp biofuel far outweigh the cons of getting there or producing it. The more research that is done on hemp and the more legal change is enacted, the greater chance we have to change the world for the better in an unmatched way to anything that we have accomplished thus far.
Visit HempforHealthcare.com to #BuyHemp and support our initiative to revolutionize Alaska’s economy with Hemp and help us create hemp biofuel for our people and diversify our economy away from Oil.
Thank you to Taylor Calix for her guest writing on this article for us! If you need content writing please reach out to Taylor on LinkedIn here: https://www.linkedin.com/in/taylor-calix-alm-writing/