I bought a book in 1999 (‘The Emperor wears no clothes’ by Mr. Jack Herer (RIP) aka The Hemperor), about the mostly unknown history of Cannabis/HEMP. The book outlined a conspiracy supposedly perpetrated against this plant, that was designed to make it become extinct in much of the world. In recent times, the cannabis plant is slowly regaining acceptance in the ‘mainstream’ BUT the stigma that was created about ‘Marijuana’ still persists & it is still illegal to grow in many countries (for any purpose). In 2006 the NZ parliament passed an amendment to the ‘Mis-use of Drugs act 1975’ that now allows strictly regulated cultivation of the plant for reason of industrial HEMP only. I understand there are a few small farms, mostly producing oil & textiles to a limited ‘niche’ market. I even heard that the first ‘Hemp-crete’ house is under construction.. YAHOO !
BUT the one thing that the book mentions, that is not being produced in Aotearoa/NZ (hardly anywhere) or so I believe, is Bio-fuels..
Henry Ford (in 1940s) built a car, from plastic derived from Hemp & also intended to run his cars on Bio-fuel (from Hemp) BUT the onset of the global bans on ‘Marijuana’ (drug derived from cannabis/hemp) put a stop to further research. Roll on about 70 years & the planet is almost totally dependant on fossil fuels (Oil, Coal & Gas) & the words ‘Climate change & Global Warming’ are threatening us all. (only a small faction still deny it)
In the book it says that Hemp can by used to make Oils (as bio-diesel), pressed from the seeds & the rest of the plant can be used for fibre (for many products) & as bio-mass to make either a fermented Ethanol (high grade bio-fuel)..similar to other alcohol production OR by a process called ‘Pyrolysis’ can be turned into Methanol(bio-fuel), Methane (bio-gas) & Charcoal (similar to coal). With a bit of research (on the ‘net) its easy to find info. on this process, which is apparently being used on other forms of bio-mass already, in a limited way.
I read that the reason why many are saying Hemp is probably the most favourable plant for this, being it has amongst the highest yield of Seed Oil & can be grown more densely, with little or no; fertilisers & pesticides in poorer quality soils to many other plants, already in use. I read that using Pyrolysis, about 95% of the bio-mass can be converted. The BIG pluses; over fossil fuels being : It takes in CO2 from the atmosphere, as it grows & the finished product has almost no sulphur content (highly polluting). Fossil fuels are ‘unlocking’ ancient carbon into the atmosphere & coal is high in polluting sulphur. I also read that these bio-fuels are much more cleaner burning than petrol (from fossil fuel).
I ask myself why is this resource NOT going ahead ‘full-steam’ & find that it is mostly because of the limited production of Hemp & the fact that Governments & corporations are hesitant to put their time & money into it. (already spending large amounts on the current industry & maintaining the status quo ?)
Sir Jack.. stated on the cover of his book “How HEMP can save the world”.. I agree he could well be right, BUT it will take a lot of effort & money. Methinks that this is still not being taken seriously.. NZ Govt. has recently announced, it is set to open up vast areas of national parks in ‘clean, green, NZ’ to Oil & Gas exploration ! Why NOT put more money & effort into BIO-FUEL Production ?