Tag Archives: Ethanol

Finding Value in Waste

S4 Energy Solutions will be testing a valuable technology for commercial viability by:  (here)

…superheating landfill waste using an electricity-conducting gas called plasma, which rearranges the waste’s molecular structure into a synthetic gas. The end product can be converted into transportation fuels such as diesel or ethanol, industrial products like hydrogen and methanol, or used as a natural gas substitute to fuel electric plants.

The question is: How much quantity at what cost? I also wonder if this becomes economically viable, how it would change the value of waste in the long run?


Kentucky Pushes for Industrial Hemp Farming

From the article:

A Kentucky lawmaker has introduced legislation to legalize industrial hemp as a cash crop and a source for alternative fuels.

Sen. Joey Pendleton, a Democrat from Hopkinsville in southern Kentucky, said the time is right to cash in on hemp, because the plant is already legal for research purposes in Kentucky, along with seven other states, and Congress has legislation before it to decriminalize hemp.

Industrial hemp is used in alternative automobile fuels and in such products as paper, cloths, cosmetics, and carpet. Currently, all hemp included in products sold in the United States must be imported.

How would it be used as an alternative fuel? (here)

“Biomass can be converted to methane, methanol or gasoline at a fraction of the current cost of oil, coal or nuclear energy,” Jack Herer, a longtime hemp activist and author of “The Emperor Wears No Clothes,” said.

In his book, Herer states, “Hemp stems are 80 percent hurds” (pulp byproduct after the hemp fiber is removed from the plant).

Hemps hurds are 77 percent cellulose – a primary chemical feed stock (industrial raw material) used in the production of chemicals, plastics and fibers … an acre of full-grown hemp plants can provide from 50 to 100 times the cellulose found in cornstalks, kenaf or sugar cane.

According to Herer’s research, “Farming only 6 percent of the continental U.S. acreage with biomass [from hemp] crops would provide all of Americans’ gas and oil energy needs, ending dependence upon fossil fuels.”

He added, “Each acre of hemp would yield 1,000 gallons of methanol. Fuels from hemp, along with the recycling of paper, etc., would be enough to run America virtually without oil.

I have heard that one of the benefits of hemp is that the tonnage yielded from one acre is much greater than traditional biomass crops due to its high growth rates and resiliency.   I could only be skeptical because if it was such a miracle plant that COULD replace oil why hasn’t it already in countries where industrial hemp could be grown? Is it profitable?

Besides the skepticism, this is still a good idea.  It opens more people minds up about bringing marijuana legalization closer to reality while also jump starting the experiment of whether hemp really is the miracle plant.

Internalizing Externalities: Corn-ethanol and pollution

Why corn-ethanol fails again:

Growing corn for ethanol boosts water pollution, researchers find. (here)