“Anything that can be made from hydrocarbons (oil, coal, natural gas), can be made from carbohydrates (plant material).”
HEMP BURNS AND THEREFORE PRODUCES ENERGY
The U.S.A. Hemp Museum has been interested in fuels and energy from its start in 1990. The curator spent many hours in the library of the California Energy Commission (C.E.C.) hoping to learn about biomass (plant matter) for fuels and energy. During the 1992 election campaign I wrote an article called A NATURAL ENERGY POLICY, which is included in this section. Among the things I learned from the C.E.C. was that Sacramento had a power plant not far from the Capitol built to burn biomass collected as waste tree, shrub, and grass trimmings. The plant was not in operation. As it was explained to me the green matter to be used as fuel was always too wet and irregular in composition to adequately fire the plant. California now has 33 biomass power plants in the state, operating mostly on forest logging waste. These power plants could burn year round with hemp for energy.
Hemp will produce cleaner air and reduce greenhouse gases. When biomass fuel burns, it produces CO2 (the major cause of the greenhouse effect), the same as fossil fuel; but during the growth cycle of the plant, photosynthesis removes as much CO2 from the air as burning the biomass adds, so hemp actually cleans the atmosphere. After the first cycle there is no further loading to the atmosphere. At this time the U.S. has not signed an international treaty to reduce greenhouse gases to 1990 levels by the year 2000. Maybe the Bush administration [now Clinton] [now Bush] hasn’t heard about hemp, maybe you should write him a short note before he leaves, mention time is important. When biomass (hemp) is used for other more permanent applications, say a library book that will last 1500 years, and then can be recycled seven times, or building materials in a home (I never thought what it might do to the price of a home), potential greenhouse carbon is tied up and does not go back into the atmosphere.
Amazingly, with hemp, the fossil fuels burned and polluting our atmosphere are available once again as a resource, until a favorable co2 level is reached.
As a direct fuel hemp is used in the stoves of China for the hot fast fires of wok cooking. A bundle of hemp stalks leans next to this Chinese kitchen (shown left).
Hemp in history was burned as oil in lamps for light
And is much less smelly than kerosene based lamp oil. Oil from hemp seeds can power existing diesel engines (see sample of bio-diesel below), with reduced sulfur and carbon monoxide emissions. Bio-mass (vegetation or plant matter) fuels such as methanol (wood alcohol) can power modified gasoline engines, or supply hydrogen for fuel cell applications. Twenty thousand methanol burning cars were tested in California on government and utility fleets. Seventy methanol pumps were installed around the state. Hemp stalks are the best biomass on the planet. And again because it is so important, bio-mass crops absorb carbon dioxide emitted by cars and power plants, mitigating the greenhouse effect.
SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN, November, 1989. Article: “The Case for Methanol.” Methanol-fueled car could integrate various features to attain higher efficiency and generate fewer emissions than a conventional gasoline-fueled car. Cool burning methanol needs no radiator so the front of the car can be very streamlined. Methanol and electric, with flywheel design, the earth would love it.
The U.S.A. Hemp Museum invited itself to the Alternative Energy Conference whose program is shown here (left). The University of Iowa had driven a 3/4 ton bio-diesel powered truck to the conference. The bio-diesel was made from the oil of rapeseed (canola) and 10% methanol. Samples of the rapeseed and bio-diesel were donated to the museum. The museum was set up just outside the conference room in the Westin Crown Center, Kansas City, Missouri, June 15-18, 1994, and was very well received by the energy group attending.
A NATURAL ENERGY POLICY
Something has happened on the alternative energy front that is so revolutionary that all people connected with or interested in improving the quality of life on our planet should be aware of it. A solar collector has been re-discovered (you probably think this is a joke). Once declared useless by our government in 1937, this collector is so powerful it could replace every type of fossil fuel energy product (oil, coal, and natural gas).
This solar collector is a green plant, one of the most advanced in the plant kingdom. It uses the evenly distributed light of the sun to grow biomass (biologically produced matter). This plant is the earth’s number one biomass resource or fastest growing annual plant for agriculture on a worldwide basis, producing up to 14 tons per acre. This is the only biomass source available that is capable of producing all the energy needs of the U.S. and the world.
Bring our dollars home. We need to gain a vision of where we have to go to heal our home, stop the poisons, stop the wars, learn the natural ways, learn to love our common home and our sisters and brothers. We need local, family
What’s needed to solve the problem of global warming is family owned hemp energy farms to lift us out of the death-like grip of big oil; and give promise to future generations of a renewable, sustainable energy source.
Fuel is not synonymous with petroleum, let’s get over that.
New annually renewable biomass energy systems will create millions of new jobs.
In case you doubt the power of this miracle plant, consider what else it can do: Replace all wood pulp paper products with a far superior, dioxin-free paper. Provide the strongest textiles, ropes, fabrics, and fibers for clothing (it is softer than cotton); Provide time tested and safer medicines for a hundred or more different medical conditions; Provide high protein food stuffs (soybeans alone have a bit more protein) and high quality vegetable oil (with heart helping Omega 3 fatty acids like fish oil); Provide raw materials for plastics and building materials like composition board; Provide raw materials for 50,000 commercial uses that are economically viable and market competitive; And, oh yes, provide a safe, sane, non-violent recreational drug. For an energy policy we can live with and flourish with for years to come, think hemp. Think Cannabis sativa, the plant. Let’s allow competition in the best free market sense. Put it out there, let it fly and be free. Free at last.
Back to energy. Why worry about energy? Let me get your attention: According to The Emperor, eighty per cent (80%) of the total dollar expense of living for each human being is energy cost. That means that 33 hours of each 40 hour work week goes to pay for energy costs in goods and services, whichever way (manufacturing, transportation, heating, cooking, lighting, etc) you purchase.
“Our current fossil energy sources also supply about 80% of the solid and airborne pollution which is slowly poisoning the planet. (See U.S. EPA report 1983-89 on coming world catastrophe from carbon dioxide imbalance caused by burning fossil fuels -(oil, coal, and natural gas) [now called the greenhouse effect]. The cheapest substitute for these expensive and wasteful energy methods is not wind or solar panels, nuclear; geothermal, and the like, but using the evenly distributed light of the sun to grow plant biomass.”
GLOBAL WARMING: The Greenpeace Report. Edited by Jeremy Leggett. 1990.
“Forty-nine Nobel-prizewinning scientists have appealed to President Bush (Sr.) to curb greenhouse-gas emissions, professing that ‘global warming has emerged as the most serious environmental threat of the 21st century.'”
A decade later another Bush President refuses to cooperate with global concern on global warming.
The American farmer has been displaced by the synthetic fossil fuel people, and we have all paid the price. Who do we want to give our energy dollars to?
We need an exportable, ecologically sound lifestyle to sell to the world. We are a world at need, for food, clean water, shelter, and energy (clean, renewable, natural, almost universal energy from hemp). George Bush had us fight an oil war at a cost of American lives, Iraqi lives, and $61 billion, to save a lifestyle (synthetic oil style) that is not only not exportable but rapidly ruining our country as well.
The Cannabis hemp/marijuana movement is not an undercurrent in this country; it is an undertow. We are going to flood the American people with American hemp history and pride in our connection with this plant. I want you to understand the hard truths that marijuana prohibition has obscured. This plant (or any plant) should never have been made illegal. Our first flag was made of Cannabis hemp/marijuana. Our constitution was written on hemp paper.
The facts are in Jack Herer’s book: The Emperor Wears No Clothes: Hemp and the Marijuana Conspiracy, [and Hemp: Lifeline to the Future, by Chris Conrad]. These books are required reading for every American to learn the lost history of hemp, hemp/marijuana prohibition, and how hemp can save the world from energy madness, if we can act immediately to put hemp back into the free market – your market. Then farmers can plant our nations fuel, fiber, paper, medicine, food, plastic and future. It is our choice. How long will we have to wait to establish a sane and survivable lifestyle, based on the natural cycles such as that of hemp.
This is the ecological truth: The sooner we act to end our synthetic society the less damage to earth. We Americans – 5% of the world population – in our drive for more “net worth” and “productivity” use 25% to 40% of the world’s energy. As a country, we have been horribly deceived for the past 54 years. Long enough. Never again. The repression of information about hemp has cost the U.S. about 80% of our petroleum reserves by the year 2000. Add to that the 70% of our forests that did not have to be cut down for making paper. Add to that too many family farms gone. Add to that the 50,000 Americans and the 10,000 Canadians killed annually by acid rain from burning high-sulfur coal.
The world struggle for money is actually a struggle for energy, as it is through energy that we may produce food, shelter, transportation and entertainment. As we have seen with the Bush Administration, it is this struggle which often erupts into open war. Ultimately, whether from too much pollution, too many wars, too high a price, the world has no other rational environmental choice but to give up fossil fuels.
Because of the second prohibition that surrounds Cannabis hemp/marijuana, we are not told the truth even by our own U.S. Environmental Protection Agency scientists. Hemp is the home grown, annually renewable, CHEAPEST source of energy.
A PEACEFUL SOLUTION – HEMP BIOFUEL
“Rather than as a crisis, the energy problem can be viewed as a challenge and opportunity.”
~ 1983. California Agriculture.
“A co-generation system for converting walnut shells into energy was built by Diamond Walnut Growers to supply power for its Stockton plant. The cooperative also markets energy to local utility companies.”
~ California Agriculture, University of California, 1983.
Keep in mind the excellent properties of Cannabis hemp/marijuana in reading the following article. Hemp is clearly the ecological, and economical choice. “The Case for Methanol,” printed in Scientific American, November, 1989, was written by two U.S. Environmental Protection Agency scientists, Charles L. Gray, Jr., and Jeffery A. Alson. The authors maintain that a move to pure methanol fuel would reduce vehicular emissions of hydrocarbons and green house gases and could lessen U.S. dependency on foreign energy sources. Here are a few paragraphs from the article, obtainable from any library:
“The private automobile has shaped U.S. society to a degree unparalleled by any other product of the industrial age. By providing mobility and convenience particularly attuned to the American desire for personal freedom, the automobile has come to dominate not only the nation’s transportation network but also its very culture. And the automotive industry has become a pillar of the economy, accounting for more than 10 percent of the gross national product and some 20 percent of all consumer expenditures. Yet the automobile ALSO THREATENS the quality of life, contaminating both urban air and the global atmosphere, where automobile emissions contribute to the green house effect. The automotive industry must overcome unprecedented technical, political and social challenges if these serious environmental problems are to be solved.
To achieve this goal, we believe the nation must begin making a transition to a new automotive fuel. Having studied a wide range of alternatives, we think that fuel should be methanol [wood alcohol]. A move to methanol could achieve emission reductions far beyond those that are feasible even with advanced emission controls on gasoline vehicles. Although the past 15 years have seen substantial reductions in noxious pollutants and greenhouse gases from individual vehicles, the number of vehicles has been steadily increasing. Consequently, more than 100 cities still have ambient levels of carbon monoxide, particulate matter and ozone (generated from photo-chemical reactions with hydrocarbons from vehicle exhaust) that exceed the levels established by the Environmental Protection Agency to protect public health. As the nation’s fleet continues to grow in the next decade, air quality will worsen unless vehicles can be developed that are much clearer than those on the roads today.
Introducing methanol to the U.S. transportation infrastructure would require relatively modest changes for the automotive and energy industries. Our research has convinced us that this is the only practical means to achieve major reductions in vehicle emissions while maintaining the personal mobility that Americans have come to expect. Although there will be costs in making such a transition, there will also be significant benefits not only for the environment but most likely for the nation=s economic health as well. We have incontrovertible evidence from vehicle tests and computer simulations that vehicles operating on pure methanol would bring about dramatic decreases in urban levels of ozone and toxic substances. What is more, methanol can be produced with current technologies from a variety of abundant sources, including natural gas, coal, wood, and even organic garbage [and the cheapest source, HEMP]. By beginning a transition to methanol, the nation could ultimately lessen its dependence on foreign sources of energy.”
From The Emperor…, p.43: “The biomass conversion process can produce [ethanol], methanol, fuel oil, charcoal fuel, as well as the basic chemicals of industry: acetone, ethyl acetate, tar, pitch, and creosote. The Ford Motor Company successfully operated a biomass “cracking” plant in the 1930’s at Iron Mountain, Michigan…Henry Ford even grew Cannabis hemp/marijuana on his estate after 1937, possibly to prove the cheapness of methanol production.”
[In the present year, on January 28, 1999, The Los Angeles Times printed a special section called “Highway 1” which featured innovations in technology about autos.]
“Fuel Cell Technology: Fuel cells are being called the best possible source of power for the electric car of the future. Car companies are spending billions of dollars on development. Fuel cells use a chemical reaction to produce electricity from hydrogen, which can be stored in tanks in the vehicle or distilled from gasoline, methane, and other hydrocarbon-based fuels. [Add hemp bio-fuels].
Again from The Emperor…, look what happened when we had a national emergency in World War II, the most recent time America asked its farmers to grow more Cannabis hemp/marijuana:
“Our national energy needs are an undeniable national security priority. Look what Uncle Sam can do when pushed into action:
In 1942, Japan cut off our supplies of vital hemp and course fibers. Cannabis hemp/marijuana which had been outlawed as the “Assassin of Youth” just four years earlier was suddenly safe enough for our government to ask the kids in the Kentucky 4H Clubs to grow at least half an acre but preferably two acres of hemp each. (U. of KY Ag. Extension Leaflet 25, Mar., 1943.)
In 1942-43 farmers were made to attend showings of the USDA film “Hemp for Victory,” [Text printed herein] sign that they had seen the film, and read a hemp cultivation booklet. Hemp harvesting was made available at low or no cost. Five dollar tax stamps were available and 360, 000 acres of cultivated hemp was the goal by 1943.
Farmers from 1942 through 1945 who agreed to grow hemp were waived from serving in the military, along with their sons; That’s how vitally important hemp was to America during World War II.”
I have said this before, and here is the proof of what we did in a crisis, the American farmer is two years away from a major hemp crop. We are in an environmental crisis of enormous proportions, and instead of asking the American farmer to assist again, George Bush led us to war [as his son is now doing]. This is just another one of those situations in which George Bush is damned if he knew about hemp and didn’t employ it, and damned if he just didn’t know.
The U.S. energy information agency predicts that if current trends continue, the U.S. will be importing 70% of its oil consumption by the year 2000. (70% is correct, and we may be fighting another oil war as it looks on February 18, 2003.)
As the first oil war in the Middle East clearly showed us, there is no energy secure future with fossil fuel. The U.S. energy information agency predicts that if current trends continue, the U.S. will be importing 70% of its oil consumption by the year 2000 [which we are]. We now import about 50% of our oil, money sent out of the country. Yet this is exactly what the current administration calls its national energy strategy. More oil, more nuclear power, more oil drilling in environmentally sensitive areas [now the Artic].
We as a nation, we as farmers, have been cheated and lied to by our government. The premier resource plant in the world is illegal here -prohibited. Your energy bill may be double now what it could be with hemp. Our economy could leap forward with this new direction, along with recycling, insulation in buildings, better mileage in alcohol or fuel cell cars, more wind and solar, more alternative energy research, and we would be on the way to energy self-sufficiency. Under present conditions, because of the bogus war on hemp by the Bush Administration [now Clinton] [now Bush], scientists and bureaucrats are afraid to talk, afraid to admit that hemp could indeed save us from the synthetic society and dead end fossil fuel.
In my opinion, we will use Cannabis hemp/marijuana in a few years because we will be forced to do so by acid rain and greenhouse gasses. WHY WAIT? WHY WAIT!? Here is our natural fuel source. Here is our paper source, that will enable our forests to recover and help remove greenhouse gasses. Here is a multi-trillion dollar resource that can be grown at home -and on and on.
I don’t get it. You, through our government, are telling me we can’t use this resource because it might get me high. What kind of nonsense is that? I believe it is my right to do in my homestead as I please with hemp in pursuit of my own happiness -my inalienable right. Besides I already have the constitutional right to get high on drugs (any alcohol product, coffee, tobacco, etc.). Are we really afraid that my brain will fry like an egg in a pan, and other such lies. Somehow after smoking Cannabis hemp/marijuana for 25 years daily, I don’t think it is my brain that is fried, it is our earth – fried by generations of fossil fuel (coal and oil and natural gas) burning, fried by nuclear radiation and nuclear weapons testing and nuclear power production, fried by millions of pounds of poisons used each year on our food and fiber crops, and fried by the unnecessary destruction of 70% of our forests since 1937 for paper.
I know the plant Cannabis sativa; I grow the plant. I want to say to all those in positions of power or persuasion in our government and elsewhere: Please do not wait one more minute to free Cannabis hemp/marijuana. If you wait, an entire year will be lost. Then a decade will be lost. [A decade has been lost since the writing of this paper]. We do not have a lot of years to waste. Do it for me, do it for our country, do it for our planet earth. Free Hemp.
More about hemp: Hemp’s per acre output of fuel is about 10 times more than corn, at less cost than corn, and with less environmental damage than corn. “Hemp is a hearty plant that squeezes out weeds and pests, without the heavy fertilization that corn, cotton, tobacco, and other crops need. Hemp is resistant to many insects, reducing the need for chemical pesticides.” – (BACH)
Hemp will produce cleaner air and reduce greenhouse gases. When biomass fuel burns, it produces CO2 (the major cause of the greenhouse effect), the same as fossil fuel; but during the growth cycle of the plant, photosynthesis removes as much CO2 from the air as burning the biomass adds, so hemp actually cleans the atmosphere. After the first cycle there is no further loading to the atmosphere. At this time the U.S. has not signed an international treaty to reduce greenhouse gases to 1990 levels by the year 2000. Maybe the Bush administration [now Clinton] [now Bush] hasn’t heard about hemp, maybe you should write him a short note before he leaves, mention time is important. When biomass (hemp) is used for other more permanent applications, say a library book that will last 1500 years, and then can be recycled seven times, or building materials in a home (I never thought what it might do to the price of a home), potential greenhouse carbon is tied up and does not go back into the atmosphere. Amazingly, with hemp, the fossil fuels burned and polluting our atmosphere are available once again as a resource, until a favorable co2 level is reached. -end of essay.
Pot label from the 1980’s. From a series called FLYING LESSONS, sent to the Museum by Anonymous. Thanks to Anonymous.
These are the words of two Environmental Protection Agency scientists in Scientific American 1989. This is how to meet the requirements of treaties on global warming, plant hemp for biomass and use it as a resource in place of fossil fuels. We have known this for ten years and have done little about it.
This 1992 Lumina Variable Fuel Vehicle runs on any mix of gasoline and alcohol that you put in the tank. I don’t know if they ever tried straight vodka. Tens of thousands of these cars were driven by the state and some utilities.
METHANOL (common name methyl alcohol) CH30H is the simplest of the alcohols. It can be made by the dry distillation of wood (hence it is also known as wood alcohol), but it is usually made from coal or natural gas.
By most accounts booze is better burned in the car than in the body. And while it may not be the only answer, it may be one of the answers to future energy needs and can be made from hemp.
Ethanol, common name ethyl alcohol C2H5OH, is the alcohol found in beer, wine, cider, spirits, and other alcoholic drinks. When pure, it is a colorless liquid with a pleasant odor, miscible with water or ether, and which burns in air with a pale blue flame. The vapor forms an explosive mixture with air and may be used in high-compression internal combustion engines. It is produced naturally by the fermentation of carbohydrates by yeast cells. Industrially, it can be made by absorption of ethene and subsequent reaction with water, or by the reduction of ethanol in the presence of a catalyst, and is widely used as a solvent.
Ethanol, which can also be produced from hemp, is used as a raw material in the manufacture of ether, chloral, and iodoform. It can also be added to gasoline, where it improves the performance of the engine, or be used as a fuel in its own right. Crops such as sugar cane may also be grown to provide ethanol (by fermentation) for this purpose.
Most of the hemp products made by the Curator started as cut-up small branches such as are in the bottle second from the right. On the right is rough blended pulp for boards. Left bottle contains finer pulp for paper and pellet stoves. Second from left bottle contains pulp from wood pellets for stoves.
Steam power can be fueled with hemp pellets.