HEMP BIOMASS FOR FUEL

METHANOL, NOT ETHANOL

HEMP BIOMASS FOR FUEL

In recent years a lot of attention has been focused on the development of an ethanol industry in Australia. We have also seen the continuing controversy as to whether ethanol will damage car motors, while others want to legislate to require all petrol to have a ten per cent ethanol content.

If the aim was simply to develop an organic source of fuel rather than to come to the aid of a struggling sugar industry, the pyrolysis of abroad range of biomass sources to produce methanol would make much more sense. Formula One racing cars use methanol for their fuel.

Current world production of biomass is estimated at 150 billion tonnes a year, mostly wild plant growth. With biomass, CO2 is taken from the airwhen the crop is growing. When it is burned, the CO2 is released, creating a balanced system.

Cannabis sativa is the most prolific of the plants suitable for growing as crops for producing biomass commercially for fuel. It is a woody plant containing 77% cellulose. Wood produces 60% cellulose. It grows well in almost all climates, reaching maximum biomass yield in about four months.

Extensive trials in Europe, with the hemp growing in a temperate climateand producing two crops over an eight month period, have demonstrated that a hectare will yield around fifty tonnes of hemp biomass. From an area the size of the Melbourne Cricket Ground (173 x 148 meters, around2 hectares) the annual yield from a hemp crop after pyrolysis would be around 40,000 liters of methanol.
Tony Kneipp HEMP Senate Candidate for Queensland 24/09/2004

 

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