Many products are derived from hemp as shown in the image below. Hemp offers opportunities to uncouple some of our needs for fossil fuels. In “Hemp I” we looked at the cultivation, machinery and equipment needed for growing and using hemp.
Here we look at some of the products and a host of videos, showing the machinery, equipment and buildings. Enjoy.
Probably indigenous to temperate Asia, C. sativa is the most widely cited example of a “camp follower.” It was pre-adapted to thrive in the manured soils around man’s early settlements, which quickly led to its domestication (Schultes 1970). Hemp was harvested by the Chinese 8500 years ago (Schultes and Hofmann
1980). For most of its history, C. sativa was most valued as a fiber source, considerably less so as an intoxicant, and only to a limited extent as an oilseed crop. Hemp is one of the oldest sources of textile fiber, with extant remains of hempen cloth trailing back 6 millennia.
The fiber is one of the most valuable parts of the hemp plant. It is commonly called bast, which refers to the fibers which grow on the outside of the plant’s stalk. Bast fibers give the plants strength. Hemp fibers can be between approximately 0.91 m (3 ft) and 4.6 m (15 ft) long, running the length of the plant. Later the fibers may be cut to shorter lengths. Depending on the processing used to remove the fiber from the stem, the hemp may naturally be creamy white, brown, gray, black or green. In Europe and China, hemp fibers have been used in prototype quantities to strengthen concrete, and in other composite materials for many construction and manufacturing applications. A mixture of fiberglass, hemp fiber, kenaf, and flax has been used to make composite panels for automobiles. The first identified coarse paper, made from hemp, dates to the early Western Han Dynasty. Hemp shives or hurds are the core of the stem. In Europe, they are used for bedding (horse bedding for instance), or for horticultural mulch.
Hemp Plastics & Biocomposites
Henry Ford used hemp-and-sisal cellulose plastic to build car doors and fenders in 1941. On video Henry Ford demonstrated that his hemp cars were more resistant to blows from a sledgehammer than steel-bodied cars were.
The basic building block of plastics is cellulose taken from petroleum, but toxic petrochemical compositions are not the only way to derive plastics.
Plastics can be derived from plant cellulose, and since hemp is the greatest cellulose producer on Earth (hemp hurds can be 85% cellulose), it only makes sense to make non-toxic, biodegradable plastic from hemp and other organics, instead of letting our dumps fill up with refuse.
A recent technological advance with biodegradable plastics made from cornstarch has led to a new material based on hemp. Hemp Plastics (Australia) have sourced partners who have been able to produce a new 100% biodegradable material made entirely from hemp and corn. This new material has unique strength and technical qualities which have yet to be seen before, and this new material can be injected or blow-molded into virtually any shape using existing moulds, including cosmetic containers, Frisbee golf discs, etc.
Hemp hurds may be processed into cellophane packing material, which was common until the 1930s, or they may be manufactured into a low-cost, compostable replacement for Styrofoam.
Zellform (Austrian) has created a hemp-plastic resin called Hempstone, for use in musical instruments, loudspeakers, and furniture. This material can be carved into any desired form.
Hemp can also be made into compressed door panel and dashboards. Carmakers such as Ford, GM, Chrysler, Saturn, BMW, Honda, and Mercedes are currently using hemp composite door panels, trunks, head liners, etc.
These composites are less expensive than dangerous fiberglass counterparts. Hemp fiberglass replacements would only cost 50 to 70 cents a pound. These hemp composites could replace carbon and glass fibers, which have environmental and weight problems, and run from 60 cents to 5 dollars a pound.
The reason why virtually all European car makers are switching to hemp based door panels, columns, seat backs, boot linings, floor consoles, instrument panels, and other external componets is because the organic hemp based products are lighter, safer in accidents, recycleable, and more durable.
The possibilities are endless with hemp plastics and resins, and Biocomposites. Virtually any shape and purpose can be fufilled by biocomposite plastics. Just think of the possibilities and realize that biodegradable non-toxic products are always the wisest choice for the future.
Hemp fuels- Environmentally friendly fuel sources
The basics: Hemp can provide two types of fuel.
1. Hemp biodiesel – made from the oil of the (pressed) hemp seed.
2. Hemp ethanol/methanol – made from the fermented stalk.
To clarify further, ethanol is made from such things as grains, sugars, starches, waste paper and forest products, and methanol is made from woody/pulp matter. Using processes such as gasification, acid hydrolysis and enzymes, hemp can be used to make both ethanol and methanol.
In this day of oil wars, peak oil (and the accompanying soaring prices), climate change and oil spills such as the one in the gulf by BP, it’s more important than ever to promote sustainable alternatives such as hemp ethanol. Hemp turns out to be the most cost-efficient and valuable of all the fuel crops we could grow on a scale that could fuel the world.
And as it turns out, the whole reason for hemp prohibition – and alcohol prohibition – may have been a fuel the realization that OIL production is threatened by any competing fuel source, especially one that requires no modifications to your car!
What is Hemp Biodiesel?
Hemp biodiesel is the name for a variety of ester based oxygenated fuels made from hemp oil. The concept of using vegetable oil as an engine fuel dates back to 1895 when Dr. Rudolf Diesel developed the first diesel engine to run on vegetable oil. Diesel demonstrated his engine at the World Exhibition in Paris in 1900 using peanut oil as fuel. Hemp biodiesel comes from the pressing of the hemp seeds to extract the oil. Through a process explained here , hemp biodiesel can be made.
Hemp biodiesel can be made from domestically produced, renewable oilseed crops such as hemp. With over 30 million successful U.S. road miles hemp biodiesel could be the answer to our cry for renewable fuel sources. Learning more about renewable fuels does not mean we should not cut back on consumption but does help address the environmental affects of our choices. There is more to hemp as a renewable fuel source than you know
Why Hemp Biodiesel?
Biodiesel is the only alternative fuel that runs in any conventional, unmodified diesel engine.
It can be stored anywhere that petroleum diesel fuel is stored. Biodiesel is safe to handle and transport because it is as biodegradable as sugar, 10 times less toxic than table salt, and has a high flashpoint of about 300 F compared to petroleum diesel fuel, which has a flash point of 125 F.
Biodiesel can be made from domestically produced, renewable oilseed crops such as hemp.
Biodiesel is a proven fuel with over 30 million successful US road miles, and over 20 years of use in Europe.
When burned in a diesel engine, biodiesel replaces the exhaust odor of petroleum diesel with the pleasant smell of hemp, popcorn or french fries.
Biodiesel is the only alternative fuel in the US to complete EPA Tier I Health Effects Testing under section 211(b) of the Clean Air Act, which provide the most thorough inventory of environmental and human health effects attributes that current technology will allow.
Biodiesel is 11% oxygen by weight and contains no sulfur.
The use of biodiesel can extend the life of diesel engines because it is more lubricating than petroleum diesel fuel, while fuel consumption, auto ignition, power output, and engine torque are relatively unaffected by biodiesel.
The Congressional Budget Office, Department of Defense, US Department of Agriculture, and others have determined that biodiesel is the low cost alternative fuel option for fleets to meet requirements of the Energy Policy Act.
Make hemp biodiesel
How to Make hemp Bio Diesel Titration method
Safety first: Wear protective clothing and eyewear. This is a serious activity and it not recomended for a “weekend project”. This process is only for reference as to what skilled biodiesel makers would do.
Measure Free Fatty Acid content of your oil: Mix 1 ml oil with 10 ml Isopropyl alcohol = 2 drops phenolthalian solution (available in a hobby shop chemistry set suppliers). Drop-wise add 0.1% lye solution ( 1 gm lye in one liter water ) until the solution stays pink for 10 seconds. (20 drops = 1 ml) Record the milliliters of 0.1% lye solution used.
Methanol You will need 200 ml of methanol per liter of Hemp Seed oil. Methanol may be purchased as Drigas available at most automotive stores, read the label for methanol. Also Methanol is available from racing stores. Avoid hardware store methanol (wood alcohol) as it might contain excessive water content.
Sodium Methoxide For each liter of hemp seed oil you need one gram of granular solid lye for each ml of 0.1% lye solution used in titration of free fatty acids plus 3.5 grams. Completely dissolve the proper amount of Lye in the methanol (Red Devil Lye can be purchased from the Grocery Store). This combined mixture makes sodium methoxide.
Mixer The type of mixer depends on the size of the batch. An electric drill and paint mixer on an extended shaft works well in a 5 gallon bucket.
Transesterfication: Once the lye catalyst is dissolved completely so that there is no sediment, then the oil may be added to the methanol lye mixture while mixing continuously. At first the mixture becomes thicker, then thinner as the reaction proceeds. Collect samples every 5 minutes with an eye dropper into a test tube or clear container. The Mixture will separate into a light top layer of bio diesel and a darker bottom layer of glycerin, soap and catalyst. Continued mixing 30 – 60 minutes until the yield remains constant. Then stop mixing. Go have lunch. When you come back it will have settled into two distinct layers. You have done it! Let the mixture settle for at least 8 hours. Pour off and save the bio diesel top layer into another container. A clear funnel bottomed container is helpful.
Rinsing: The raw Bio Diesel that you have just produced may have some catalyst, alcohol, and glycerin remaining which could cause engine problems, so for long term engine reliability this raw fuel should be rinsed with water. Gently at first then more vigorously rinse with water until the rinse water is clear and the pH of the rinse water is the same pH as the supply water. Settle, Decant.
Drying: Water in the bio Diesel makes cloudy so it must be carefully heated. At 100 C most of the water coalesces and falls to the bottom. This water must be completely removed from the bottom of the container before heating to higher temperature.
FAILURE TO REMOVE THIS WATER BEFORE FURTHER HEATING CAN CAUSE VIOLENT ERUPTION OF HOT LIQUID!
Once all water has been removed then heat the bio diesel to 300 f (150 c) to complete dryness. Cool, filter, and store bio diesel in a well marked dry closed container. 100% HEMP DIESEL FUEL (HEMP OIL METHYL ESTER – HOME FUEL)
This fuel may be mixed in any ratio with petroleum diesel. Dynamometer tests indicate full power output with up to 75% reduction in soot and particles. No engine modification is needed to burn bio diesel fuel.
Research into food and other uses of hemp is quite easy. I will leave that to you the reader. Below find some of the videos I have collected on hemp.
As with my other works, look at the processes, the equipment, the buildings, the machinery and consider the energy required to accomplish the various tasks. If there is a future for hemp, these are what will determine it.
Small processing, small machines, very good.
Processing Hemp from the field to textile fibre
Forgive the music. Turn it off
Welcome to the Hemp Farm
Again look at the equipment.
Industrial Hemp Processing IHP
Processing hempfibers for later use within textiles. Depending on the fibers’ quality you have to use different techniques. Here we see the many steps it has to take to make it "silky smooth". The infrastructure used here is based on the same for flax making linen. It’s an intricate process from implementing, growing to handling the yield. If you don´t have the technique or the "economic infrastructure" to handle the raw material and a market to replace or combine the output youll end up, in best case, with a nice hobby and a smile on your face.
Hemp fiber processing
SERIOUS EQUIPMENT HERE
Harvesting fiber hemp | Claas Xerion 4000 |
Vezelhennep oogst | DunAgro
Hemp Processing Update
Although canola seeds are used in this video,
the process is very similar to the one noted above.
How We Make Biodiesel
This is how the University of Idaho Biodiesel Education Program makes smaller batches of biodiesel. Our farm scale production facility can make up to 500 gallons of biodiesel at a time in our large reactors, but here we show you how we make a 5 gallon batch.
The History and Future of the Industrial Hemp Industry
Image: The Shely Fiber Breaker-Scientific American, Vol. LXVL-No. 26, New York, June 25, 1892. Designed to break six to eight thousand pounds of hemp or similar fibre a day. takes up to nine people to assist with processing. As printing in The Invisible Hemp Industry? by John E. Dvorak, as published in The Journal of Industrial Hemp on September 25, 2008.
A look back provides some perspective as to the role that hemp has played along with some insight as to how it will play out. In the 1600-1700s, hemp fiber was vital to several industries. Hempen sails, rigging and caulking allowed the exploration of new worlds to take place. Hemp linen was worn by many and clothing scraps were a primary ingredient for the paper which helped foment the intellectual advances of the day. The manufacturing of these articles also provided jobs for many in Colonial America. The ropewalks noted on Captain Bonner’s 1722 map of Boston (Figure 1) are graphic evidence of hemp’s impact on society and the economy. Hemp seed was also historically used for human consumption and as animal feed. The vast majority of hemp used in America was cultivated and processed abroad, because of the supply of inexpensive Russian hemp. Efforts to increase cultivation in America were generally unsuccessful.
Technological advances such as the steam engine, cotton gin, and wood paper processing significantly reduced the market for hemp. Unfortunately, it does not appear that similar progress occurred when it came to the harvesting and processing of hemp. The ungainly Shely Fiber Breaker, illustrated in Scientific American in 1892 (Figure 2) required up to nine people to assist with processing. And, as late as 1916, hand brakes were still the primary method of removing hurds from hemp fiber in Kentucky. During the height of hemp cultivation in America in the 1850s, over 70,000 tons of hemp was produced. These amounts declined significantly towards the end of the century. For the 25 year period from 1892 through 1916, just over 5,000 tons of hemp was produced each year with an additional 5,000 tons imported. Over the same time period, an average of 2.6 million tons of cotton was produced each year. Hemp used in America was therefore less than one half of one percent of the cotton produced. Even imports of non-cotton plant fibers including jute, manilla and sisal dwarfed hemp as more than 250,000 tons was brought into America each year. These figures provide stark testimony to the relative insignificance of the hemp industry.
One of the biggest markets for hemp in the 1800s was for covering the bales of cotton for shipment. Bales containing several hundred pounds of cotton were held together with fifteen pounds of hemp fiber. The fact that hemp was used as cotton bagging highlights the minor impact that it had on America’s economy. Despite this, hemp was frequently shown alongside cotton as a source of fiber as evidenced by the 1877 print by William Rhind (Figure 3). In the 1931 Yearbook of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the primary purposes of hemp listed by long time researcher Lyster H. Dewey included twine, string, cord, yarn and binding. This limited range of products illustrates the one-dimensional nature of hemp. The much-touted 1938 Popular Mechanics article titled the “New Billion Dollar Crop” noted that 25,000 products could be made from hemp, “ranging from dynamite to cellophane.” However, the article focused on products derived from hemp stalk and not hemp seed, which is currently proving to be the source of many of the most popular and profitable hemp products. Today, hemp’s relevance in many ways runs parallel to its past. String and twine are still one of the most common hemp products in the marketplace. And, at the global level, the percentage of hemp grown compared to cotton remains miniscule. In 1998, worldwide cotton production was almost 20 million tons a year, while global hemp fiber and seed production totaled about 100,000 tons, or one-half of one percent. Fortunately, the modern uses of hemp are much more diverse than those of yesteryear, opening unforeseen avenues into the marketplace.
...Advances in the processing of hemp fiber are silently increasing the types and qualities of hemp fabrics that are weaving their way into the marketplace. Several top name clothing companies including J. Jill, Patagonia, Armani and Robert Redford’s Sundance Catalog regularly include hemp fabrics in their clothing line. While descriptions of these products usually tout hemp’s durability and eco-friendly characteristics, they do not flagrantly overemphasize this. However, the use of hemp by mainstream companies not only significantly increases its overall demand; it reinforces the positive image of hemp and further ingrains it into the public's consciousness.
Tree free paper is writing its own history as continued deforestation takes its toll on the availability of wood based pulp. With the increase in the price of wood pulp, tree free sources such as hemp become more feasible. More and more companies are using recycled and tree free paper as a way of being more environmentally responsible.Requesting tree free hemp paper products at your company and from your local merchants will help increase awareness as well as the prospect that they will seek out hemp based paper products.
Another unconventional area that is making progress has to do with the use of hemp to make plastics, fiberglass and building materials. France’s historic uses of hemp as a building material includes the creation of an adobe-like material created from hemp hurds, lime and water. More recent advances include the development of biodegradable hemp plastics and a lightweight, fireproof material that can be used as a substitute for fiberglass. Applications using these products are becoming more common as companies seek “green” methods of production. The automotive industry’s use of hemp and other natural fibers is proving to be a substantial boon for hemp farmers and processors alike. Additionally, the ability to make several types of fuel out of hemp will one day power it to the forefront of yet another industry.
So, although it may feel that progress is being made slowly, keep in mind that we are in this for the long haul and that you can’t build several hemp related industries overnight. It will take several more years to firmly establish hemp as a leader in the food, paper, textile, building material and energy industries. Research is being performed in every area, from cultivation to harvesting, processing, manufacturing and distribution. An inexorable force has been created that will continue to move forward, challenging the status quo and providing examples of hemp’s myriad uses. The scale of hemp’s current predicament augurs well for the future. It not only shows how much progress has been made, but it also shows the incredible potential that hemp holds for the future. Like its potent seed, chock-full of fiber and natural goodness, the hemp industry stands poised to explode past the seedling stage into a towering, sturdy juggernaut that reaches towards the sun with relentless determination. As we reach toward the future, keep in mind our humble beginnings and our humongous plans. So what do I really think about hemp’s future? Invariably, I imagine it “invisibly” insinuating (i.e., intimately intertwining) itself into industry’s infrastructure.
- pp. 60- 66, The Invisible Hemp Industry? by John E. Dvorak, as published in The Journal of Industrial Hemp on September 25, 2008.
BIBLIOGRAPHY and ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
Hemp processing plant planned for Lethbridge
First Large-Scale Hemp Processing Plant In Colorado
Industrial Hemp production basics for Ontario
An integrated agro-industrial model for biofuel produc
Hemp processing in Ukraine
How Linen Is Made
Making Linen from Flax (pioneerAmish)
How It's Made Fabrics