If hemp-based plastics and fuel production took place decades ago, how much greener would pastures be now? Would we live in a more eco-friendly world?
The diversity of the hemp plant gives it many beneficial attributes. It’s the world’s most feasible raw material. Among hundreds of other uses, it’s commonly integrated into car bodies or used as biofuel.
Although they serve different purposes, hemp and marijuana come from the same plant. The cannabis seeds used to grow the former’s fibers are also cultivated for the latter’s buds. How you raise them and use the end product determines the difference.
Will hemp eventually replace fossil fuels and traditional plastics? If it did, how would it make a difference? Let’s find out.
What Are Hemp Plastics?
If you’re looking for a safe, eco-friendly, non-toxic plastic, try anything made from hemp bioplastics. They’re derived from the biodegradable part of the cannabis plant that contains cellulose.
Plants rely on this substance within the walls of the stalks to keep them sturdy and robust. Cellulose is present in the fibers used to produce bioplastics. This material is stronger than polypropylene and steel.
The idea of incorporating fibers into products isn’t new. In 1941, Henry Ford produced a car that had the potential to use hemp-based fuel. To prove its durability, he axed the automobile to show that it wouldn’t dent.
Manufacturers have recently started incorporating hemp-based plastics into car parts to minimize their carbon footprint. Most modern door panels are predominantly made from synthetic substances.
Here are some other reasons the automobile industry looks at hemp fiber plastics rather than fiberglass or steel-based materials:
- The cars’ bodies are less prone to bumps and dents.
- Hemp plastic is lighter, allowing for improved horsepower and less fuel consumption.
According to research, communities worldwide used eight million tons of synthetic plastic in 2017. The majority of these composites ended up in landfills and oceans. A report by the automotive sector estimates that 76 million tons of indisposable plastics will be used by 2050.
The 2014 Farm Bill 2014 (Section 7606) permits companies to grow, harvest, and process industrial hemp for research purposes. This legislation enables businesses to prove how eco-friendly these products are.
The Benefits of Using Hemp Plastics
The urgency to keep greenhouse emissions at an all-time low is becoming a primary objective for many industries. Automotive corporations have already started utilizing hemp fibers to manufacture interior and exterior car components.
Many premium class vehicles like Mercedes Benz have indoor panels produced from these materials. Although using hemp plastics has pros and cons, focusing on the benefits drives the notion that they’re a greener alternative to steel and plastic.
How are hemp products considered a better alternative to conventional ones? Here’s an overview of why industries are leaning toward bioplastics made from this material:
- Hemp comes from nature, making it non-toxic. It doesn’t contain toxins like BPA found in petroleum-based plastics.
- It acts as a renewable resource in production industries. Cultivating hemp plants is environmentally friendlier than burning materials to make plastic. When the crops grow, they absorb and convert carbon dioxide to oxygen.
- Hemp-based plastic is heat-resistant, which is beneficial for automobile companies.
- The finished product is light, which enhances mobility and reduces energy expenditure. The density-to-weight ratio is what makes hemp appealing to the motor industry.
- It’s durable, stiffer than traditional plastics, stronger than steel, and resistant to wear and tear.
- Hemp plastic is biodegradable and recyclable. It generally decomposes within 200 days, or you can continuously reuse it.
What Is Hemp Fuel?
Hemp can be used to make biofuels known as bioethanol and biodiesel. These two by-products are safer, eco-friendlier versions of the traditional petroleum and diesel currently running the world. They’re what we call hemp fuels.
Oils are extracted from seeds to make biodiesel. The stalks of the plant produce bioethanol. Cellulosic ethanol is what the hemp plant uses to make biofuel.
Manufacturers shred the plants before heating them with chemicals to release cellulose broken down into sugars. These substances ferment and turn into pure and distilled ethanol, producing two-fold biofuel.
The most significant benefit of using hemp fuel for cars is that the primary source is sustainable in numerous ways. Cultivating the plants is eco-friendly, and they don’t compete with the food market.
The Automotive Industry Future With Hemp
The automotive industry is finding innovative ways of saving the planet while manufacturing products from renewable resources. After crossing all the t’s, dotting all the i’s, and securing enough finances to maintain the bio hemp processes, it’s bound to take off like a rocket.
Large-scale manufacturing companies like Audi, Chrysler, and Volkswagen are already testing the waters. These brands are replacing plastic and metal parts of cars with hemp-made alternatives.
After all, hemp is stronger than steel.
Future Growth of Hemp
The future growth of hemp seems promising within the manufacturing industries. Changing the raw materials involved in fuel and plastic production is a giant step in the right direction.
Who would think that hemp oil for cars and plant stalks for bioplastics are on the frontline of saving the environment? Biodiversity really does come in a package of seeds.
George Torch is an experienced cannabis grower who has been working with SeedSupreme Seed Bank for about 7 years. George has been growing cannabis since he was 22 years old and knows the industry inside out. He has a detailed understanding of all aspects of marijuana, from its cultivation and species to the nuances of cannabis-related legislation. George has an endless desire to explore marijuana farming, which keeps him on top of current trends.