Environmental Rescue Efforts of Industrial Hemp Alternatives

Environmental Rescue Efforts of Industrial Hemp Alternatives

Additional to Industrial Hemp based alternatives for textiles, paper, plastics, and construction materials, experts believe hemp offers something bigger. Specifically, they believe Hemp offers an alternative to many of the harmful fossil fuels used to create energy. The development of these alternative fuels captivates innovators in this industry. The alternative possibilities of Industrial Hemp expand from there. In fact, environmental experts also believe Hemp exhibits the ability to remove contaminants from our soil and water as well. Scientists know this process as phytoremediation, the intentional use of plants for removal of toxins and pollutants. Industrial Hemp based fuels combined with Industrial Hemp Phytoremediation create the formula for an environmental revolution. 

Hemp Derived Fuel and Energy

    Many people never hear the term Hemp Biodiesel or Hemp Ethanol but these remain two VERY important products. These fuels both act as Hemp derived alternatives for current fuel sources which pose serious threats to our environment. Manufacturers produce Hemp Biodiesel from the oil of the pressed Hemp Seed. 

Dr. Richard Parnas, a professor of chemical, materials, and biomolecular engineering led a study at the University of Connecticut to assess the viability of Hemp Biodiesel. “For sustainable fuels, often it comes down to a question of food versus fuel,” says Parnas. Notably, major current biodiesel plants include food crops such as soybeans, olives, peanuts, and rapeseed. “It’s equally important to make fuel from plants that are not food, but also won’t need the high-quality land.”

 Notably, Cannabis Sativa or Hemp thrives even in infertile soil or contaminated soil. This aspect of the plant makes it an ideal replacement fuel.  Additionally, the hemp biodiesel showed a high efficiency of conversion with 97 percent of the hemp oil converted to biodiesel. Consequently, the oil passed all the laboratory tests, even showing properties that suggest it could be used at lower temperatures than any biodiesel currently on the market. According to studies, this fuel exhibits the ability to be as biodegradable as sugar. In fact, experts consider Biodiesel as far less toxic than table salt. This fuel only acts at a high flash point of about 300° F. Compared to petroleum diesel fuel, which acts at a flash point of 125° F, this oil creates an exceptional alternative.

Biodiesel presents an ideal alternative to the harmful fuels currently utilized.

Crude Oils and Their Impacts on Our Environment

    Crude oil forms from a mixture of hydrocarbons from plants and animals that lived millions of years ago. This fossil fuel exists in liquid form in underground pools or reservoirs, in tiny spaces within sedimentary rocks, and near the surface in tar sands. Manufacturers utilize this oil to create petroleum products used to fuel airplanes, cars, and trucks; to heat homes; and to make products such as medicines and plastics. Unfortunately, these types of products remain in high demand. However, finding producing and moving crude oil exhibits significantly negative effects on our environment.

The Deepwater Horizon Incident

    One of the most notorious of these events took place on April 20, 2010. On this day the oil drilling rig Deepwater Horizon, operating in the Macondo Prospect in the Gulf of Mexico, exploded and sank. This explosion resulted in the death of 11 workers on the Deepwater Horizon. It also caused the largest spill of oil in the history of marine oil drilling operations. In fact, 4 million barrels of oil flowed from the damaged Macondo well over an 87-day period, before it was finally capped on July 15, 2010.

Effects of Deepwater Horizon on Land

The petroleum that leaked from the well before being sealed formed a slick extending over thousands of square miles of the Gulf of Mexico. To clean oil from the open water, experts pumped 1.8 million gallons of dispersants (substances that emulsified the oil, thus allowing for easier metabolism by bacteria) directly into the leak and applied aerially to the slick. As oil began to contaminate Louisiana beaches in May, crews manually removed it. The state’s marshes and estuaries presented a more difficult task, where delicate plant life knits together. By June, oil and tar balls had made landfall on the beaches of Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida. In all, an estimated 1,100 miles  of shoreline were polluted.

Effects of Deepwater Horizon on Wildlife

Thousands of birds, mammals, and sea turtles became plastered with leaked oil. Researchers  speculated that a spike in cetacean deaths recorded by NOAA beginning in February 2010 was further exacerbated by the spill. Reports of unusual incidences of infections in stranded dolphins lead researchers to suspect that contaminants from the spill made cetaceans more vulnerable to other environmental dangers. A December 2013 study of living dolphins in Barataria Bay, Louisiana, found that roughly half were extremely sick. Many of them suffered from lung and adrenal disorders linked to oil exposure. Researchers discovered over 1,400 whales and dolphins stranded by the end of 2015, representing only a tiny percentage of the animals affected. Though the number of dead animals began tapering off, substantial decreases in dolphin fertility persisted. These deaths and strandings represented the largest mortality event to occur in the Gulf of Mexico.

Events like these only further deteriorate a struggling environment. Hemp Oil Alternatives exhibit the properties necessary to revolutionize the Fuel and Energy Industry.

Hemp Phytoremediation — the Answer to a Polluted Planet?

    Recently, a process known as Hemp Phytoremediation has become increasingly popular with environmentalists searching for an answer to air water and soil pollution. Industrial Hemp exhibits the undeniable ability to not only thrive contaminated soils, but accumulate the toxins within. 

    Specifically, Hemp plants exhibit the exceptional capability to eliminated heavy metals found in soils, as recorded in a study in China. Researchers examined eighteen cultivars of Hemp for tolerance and accumulation of cadmium (Cd) contaminated soils. Additionally, researchers screened these cultivars for potential bioenergy production in Cd-rich soils, and for their phyto-remedial abilities. Results indicated that all but three of the studied cultivars exhibited effective actions as a biodiesel crop candidates for phytoremediation. 

    Environmental experts believe that Hemp acts as a prime candidate for phytoremediation due to high biomass, long roots and a short life cycle. Hemp also exhibits a high capability to absorb and accumulate heavy metals like lead, nickel, cadmium, zinc, and chromium. In fact, researchers planted Hemp in the contaminated soils of the Chernobyl disaster site in Ukraine where it absorbed high amounts of heavy metals. Another reported study elected hemp as the best bioaccumulator of Cd out of eight potential energy crops.

Hemp Creates a More Clean Environment

Compared to many of the chemical based technologies currently utilized in the cleansing process of heavy metal contaminated soils, this biologically based process offers a low-cost alternative. Additionally, Hemp Bio-diesels and Hemp derived fuels possess the ability prevent primary pollutants. This crop offers all that we need to start an environmental revolution.