4

Within this article it makes the claim that hemp oil is a viable alternative to crude oil. It doesn't go into any detail. It only states that hemp oil is a "clean fuel" while listing in the title "Hemp could free us from oil", among other things.

To what extent can hemp oil be used as a fuel? What is the energy output compared to fossil fuel (oil or coal)? How much hemp would be needed for comparable transportation norms as used by fossil fuel (i.e. a barrel of crude oil is similar to X amount of hemp)? Probably beyond the scope of this site, but what must be done first before hemp can be available for fuel, assuming the engine was engineered to operate on hemp oil, and is that even possible?

Or are these claims based on replacing oil based plastics with hemp based plastics? This article makes a number of claims about hemp plastics, including "Hemp plastic can completely replace oil based plastic materials that we are using today". How does hemp compare as a plastic? How much would be needed to meet current demands for plastics? Can that much hemp be reasonably farmed without stifling other crops?

We already know that hemp is not better than trees for paper, yet those claims continue to be published on the internet, so I have my doubts about hemp oil replacing fossil fuel oil.

  • 1
    I'm looking for a more specific claim in that article, but it only seems to be in the title (which traditionally is written by an editor, not the article author who did the reseach). Otherwise, I only see it mentioning boiler fuel in passing. – Oddthinking Feb 16 '16 at 0:57
  • 7
    "With its high biomass content, hemp is very effective when it comes to carbon sequestering (removing carbon from the atmosphere)." Grrrr.... It isn't really great at sequestering if it is only for a few months until it rots or you burn the product. – Oddthinking Feb 16 '16 at 0:58
  • 1
    @Oddthinking "Another application of hemp oil is it’s use as biodiesel in the same manner like other vegetable oils. It is a safe replacement for petroleum" from one of the source articles. Is that, with the title, more clear? – fredsbend Feb 16 '16 at 1:04
  • 6
    A diesel engine can run on pretty much anything liquid that burns so that is not the issue. The problem is the amount. Check how much oil is used for vehicles and how much oil you can get from growing a certain area of hemp. Then do the maths. – liftarn Dec 5 '16 at 10:46
  • 2
    It seems unlikely to me that any crop grown specifically as a hydrocarbon substitute could be a viable replacement for actual hydrocarbons, because you'll have to expend energy to manage and harvest the crop in the first place (though using a byproduct of some other crop that would otherwise be discarded or used for something else might be viable to at least mitigate oil dependency) – GordonM Dec 19 '16 at 16:44
5

"In 2015, the United States consumed a total of 7.08 billion barrels of petroleum products" https://www.eia.gov/tools/faqs/faq.cfm?id=33&t=6

One US oil barrel is 159 litres. One acre or rapeseed gives 600 litres oil ( https://spa.merinfo.se/question/hur-manga-liter-olja-far-man-pa-ett-hektar-raps ) (I assume hemp is in the same ballpark). That gives 3.773 barrels per acre.

In the USA there is 470 million acres of arable land. http://www.carryingcapacity.org/resources.html

Growing rapeseed over all arable land would give 1773.6 million barrels (or 1.7736 billion) so it would not be enough and you would not have anything to eat.

  • I appreciate your approach to answer this question, but is hemp oil 1-to-1 equivalent with crude oil? Something tells me likely not, but this answer doesn't mean much without knowing the conversion factor. – fredsbend Dec 19 '16 at 15:24
  • 4
    How does 600 litres per acre, and 1125 litres per barrel, equate to 1.8 barrels per acre? – DaaaahWhoosh Dec 19 '16 at 16:35
  • @fredsbend Actually the figure 7.08 billion barrels is for all petroleum products including refined products such as gasoline, but for a ballpark calculation it may work. – liftarn Dec 20 '16 at 8:50
  • 2
    I fail to see why this was an unacceptable answer. While it is theoretical, it certainly does answer the question: can't we just burn hemp instead of oil. – Ernie Dec 21 '16 at 18:51
  • 2
    @Ernie There is no reference for hemp oil in the answer. Answer pulls number for rapeseed oil out of nowhere, and then says hemp oil would be the same, all with no corresponding reference. – DavePhD Dec 23 '16 at 13:36

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .