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Author Topic: Industrial Hemp  (Read 28102 times)

RhythmStar

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Re:Industrial Hemp
« Reply #30 on: July 16, 2003, 11:53:30 pm »

http://www.jackherer.com/book/ch09.html

The site make lots of claims, but backs none of them up.  I want pot legalized and think many good products can be made from it, but biomass just ISN'T going to be the thing that replaces petroleum any time soon.

A little research into pyrolysis (the other process aside from TDP) yields this:

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Pyrolysis of biomass generates three different energy products in different quantities: coke, oils and gases. Flash pyrolysis gives high oil yields, but because of the technical efforts needed to process pyrolytic oils this energy generating system does not seem to be very promising at the present stage of development.

So, hemp-derived oil other than hempseed oil is perhaps not going to replace petroleum.  Even hempseed oil plus pyrolytic oil won't do it if the pyrolytics take too much energy to process.  And we don't know the actual yields yet.

Maybe methanol? The methanol claim of 1000 gals per acre was completely unsubstantiated, but still that comes to just a shade over 18 55-gal. barrels per acre.  There are 640 acres to a square mile.  Figuring 2 crops a year on average, to produce the same volume of methanol as we use in petroleum would take 318,840 square miles of land under hemp production.  Only 25% of US land is considered arable -- that's 904,692.5 square miles (including AK and HA).  So, that comes to a bit over 42% of US arable land under hemp cultivation to produce the equivalent volume of methanol as we consume in petroleum.

Ain't gonna happen.  :)

RS
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Radar

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Re:Industrial Hemp
« Reply #31 on: July 17, 2003, 01:17:00 am »

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The site make lots of claims, but backs none of them up.  

Actually it backs all of them up.  Many of the top environmental scientists on earth have contributed to this book and the second half of the book is devoted to backing up every single claim made in the book and it provides copies of the documents it references.  

There is an entire chapter devoted to debunking gutter science.  

In the chapter I offered, they describe the process of pyrolysis and provide the actual numbers of how much energy is created, how much land is required, etc.

Some people have reached 91% efficiency with pyrolysis using dried corn and that works less efficiently than hemp.

http://ite-ws2.ite.maschinenbau.uni-kassel.de/wiest/infonetz/node2.html

I don't know where you got your numbers regarding usable land but they are highly suspect to me.  Hemp is among the most robust plants, doesn't erode the soil, and can grow in harsher climates than most other plants.  And given the huge advances in hydroponic technologies (thanks to the unconstitutional prohibition of hemp) the soil becomes even less of a factor.

Pyrolysis is efficient and doesn't require too much energy to produce using some of the newer methods and what energy it did require would be provided by the very process itself.

There are no valid arguments against biomass energy using hemp as a fuel because ONLY this can completely replace all fossil fuel consumption, while being cheap, renewable, and clean.  Biomass energy harnesses the solar energy more efficiently and cheaply than even the best solar cells and don't harm the environment.
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anarchicluv

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Re:Industrial Hemp
« Reply #32 on: July 17, 2003, 01:42:37 am »

Of course, the point of all this back-and-forth is questionable; thanks to the free-market our Free State will eventually have, we will have the option of all of these alternate fuels, and more.  

Really though, I do like the banter.  I think we're all getting some education here.

Jeremy
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RhythmStar

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Re:Industrial Hemp
« Reply #33 on: July 17, 2003, 03:22:02 am »

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The site make lots of claims, but backs none of them up.  

Actually it backs all of them up.  Many of the top environmental scientists on earth have contributed to this book and the second half of the book is devoted to backing up every single claim made in the book and it provides copies of the documents it references.  

Well, none of that is on that site, so I can't investigate it.   What's there must be some kind of summary.

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There is an entire chapter devoted to debunking gutter science.

In the chapter I offered, they describe the process of pyrolysis and provide the actual numbers of how much energy is created, how much land is required, etc.

That page?!?  Weird.  All I saw was claims with no backup.  1000 gals per acre methanol production?  By what method?  (as an example).  

I guess my standards of what constitutes 'backup' are a little different, but then I am a professional researcher and engineer.   Unless I get to see the numbers and the fancy process engineering talk, I feel like I'm reading an Omni article.  :)

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Some people have reached 91% efficiency with pyrolysis using dried corn and that works less efficiently than hemp.

http://ite-ws2.ite.maschinenbau.uni-kassel.de/wiest/infonetz/node2.html

Interesting.  Have they scaled up to a commercial grade plant, or is this still a laboratory bench process?   If it's so competitive with coal gassification, etc., why aren't more plants doing it?   How does it compare with thermal depolymerization (TDP)?  I note that they claim water content is a problem.  Predrying massive quantities of hemp is not something to shrug off.   TDP uses water in the process to make the slurry that goes into the depolymerizing vessel, so water is the friend of TDP.   Also, what is the chemical composition of the pyrolytic oils?  Do they require further processing to become fuel?   The TDP process produces short-chain hydrocarbons that are 100% compatible with currrent refineries.

It may be the TDP is a superior process for converting hemp biomass to fuel.

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I don't know where you got your numbers regarding usable land but they are highly suspect to me.  Hemp is among the most robust plants, doesn't erode the soil, and can grow in harsher climates than most other plants.  And given the huge advances in hydroponic technologies (thanks to the unconstitutional prohibition of hemp) the soil becomes even less of a factor.

The US government estimates 25% of the US land as 'arable'.    I think they are pretty lienient with their definition.  Remember, just because pot will grow on mountainsides doesn't mean that's a practical mass-production site.  Ever see a combine on a mountainside?  Mass-scale hemp production will compete with grains, ranchland and forestry for land, and 318,000 square miles of cultivation is not going to happen without displacing other crops and/or pressing 'new' lands into service.  Not necessarily a disaster, but not trivial.

Hydroponics takes energy and facilities. This is great for a recreational drug crop, or specialty foods, but not practical for 318,000 square miles of fuel biomass cultivation.  :)

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Pyrolysis is efficient and doesn't require too much energy to produce using some of the newer methods and what energy it did require would be provided by the very process itself.

There are no valid arguments against biomass energy using hemp as a fuel because ONLY this can completely replace all fossil fuel consumption, while being cheap, renewable, and clean.  Biomass energy harnesses the solar energy more efficiently and cheaply than even the best solar cells and don't harm the environment.

This is the claim.  Everyone makes claims.  

The "won't harm the environment" claim is a totally bogus one, unfortunately, because the single most destructive thing that humans do to natural environments is agriculture.  Even if no irrigation, no chemical fertilizers and no pesticides are required, you are still displacing 1000s of indigenous species with a vast monoculture of a single species, basically evicting Nature and destroying the natural ecosystem that once flourished.  There is no escaping that.

Replacing petroleum is going to take more than biomass.  That doesn't mean biomass won't be developed, but biomass alone won't do it. More importantly, from an environmental standpoint, biomass should NOT be the answer.

RS
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Radar

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Re:Industrial Hemp
« Reply #34 on: July 17, 2003, 09:51:36 pm »

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I guess my standards of what constitutes 'backup' are a little different, but then I am a professional researcher and engineer.  Unless I get to see the numbers and the fancy process engineering talk, I feel like I'm reading an Omni article.

Unfortunately the website doesn't come complete with the several appendices.  I have the book here at my house and half of it is what you read online and the second half is all dedicated to backing up what is said.  It's got references to books, research papers by some very important scientists, etc.  I can see how frustrating that might be for you.  I'm also a scientist, but not an environmental one.

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Interesting.  Have they scaled up to a commercial grade plant, or is this still a laboratory bench process?  If it's so competitive with coal gassification, etc., why aren't more plants doing it?

Great questions.  I have no idea, I found what I listed by doing a search on google.  It might be worth you checking out.

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The "won't harm the environment" claim is a totally bogus one, unfortunately, because the single most destructive thing that humans do to natural environments is agriculture.

It harms the environment less than coal, nuclear, oil, or even hydroelectric energy sources.

I'd be interested in setting up a tidal powered desalinization plant that also powered large banks of reverse-osmosis and de-ionization machines.  This could be used to irrigate many arid parts of the US and grow crops where none could be grown before.  

I'm all for using extremely energy efficient homes that are minimally invasive to the environment (earthships) in conjunction with several cleaner energy sources such as wind, solar, geothermal, hydroelectric, tidal, etc.  Personally I'm not a fan of the whole hydrogen fuel cell thing.  I see that as potentially disastrous but even that is better than coal, nuclear, or oil.

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Top Dollar

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Re:Industrial Hemp
« Reply #35 on: July 17, 2003, 10:45:43 pm »

Wave powered generators can also desalinize seawater along with producing electricity.  Precious metals and other elements can be extracted from the brine concentrate.  A unit would consist of a submerged float with another float riding the waves.   An array of these could support a floating city.  

Some research has been done on accretion of calcium compounds from seawater onto a conductive mesh to use as a building material, though some experiments at Stanford produced mixed results.  Concentrated brine may yield better growth than straight seawater.

Wheeler North of Caltech experimented with kelp farming as a source of biomass.  Kelp grows several feet a day and doesn't require using existing land.  His platforms were destroyed in a storm.  They pumped nutrient rich water from several hundred feet down up to a grid supporting the kelp near the surface.  This could tie in well with ocean thermal energy conversion (OTEC) which also uses deep ocean water for heat exchange in a thermodynamic system.
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ubik

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Re:Industrial Hemp
« Reply #36 on: July 21, 2003, 06:00:13 am »

I wonder if the underlying issue here is the acceptability of smoking marijuana; altho' this does not make sense because legalization has been a fundamental of libertarianism for a very long time.
maybe it's just a fear of change in general but this does not make sense either because the FSP is the epitome of *change*, eh?

the piece of logic that is missing here is that we will only need to replace a relatively small percentage of the existing use of fossil fuels to cause a paradigm shift in the petro economy.

this is why the Imperialists have turned up the heat, don't u think?  shit, probably just requiring that all new SUV models must be hybrid would be enuf.    
this is going to be the greatest challenge of the FSP -- keeping solutions *simple* -- otherwise yet another boondoggle will be born.  it is going to take some collective finesse to avoid this perpetual flaw in formalizing a governing principle for the masses.
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mtPete

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Re:Industrial Hemp
« Reply #37 on: July 28, 2003, 11:55:24 pm »

the greatness of hemp asside, it is a good political issue too. It plays well with the left (drugwar tie-in) and will play very well in Ag states as it would be an excellent alternative crop and would do amazing things for farm income.
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RhythmStar

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Re:Industrial Hemp
« Reply #38 on: July 29, 2003, 10:33:29 am »

It harms the environment less than coal, nuclear, oil, or even hydroelectric energy sources.

I would take issue with that.  Especially on the nuclear.  New developments in nuclear reactor technology, with highly-efficient reactors and meltdown-proof designs, make objections born of Three-Mile Island era technology anachronistic at best.   Also, the ceramic-bead fuel used in these reactors takes up half the room for a given amount of energy generated, effectively doubling the capacity of geologic storage facilities.  The GT-MHR reactor is pollution-free, inherently safe nuclear power.  Conversion from gas, oil or coal-fired electric plants to GT-MHR nuclear would be a boon to the environment, eliminating many tons of greenhouse gas emissions and smog, without evicting a single indigenous species.

http://www.ga.com/gtmhr/

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I'd be interested in setting up a tidal powered desalinization plant that also powered large banks of reverse-osmosis and de-ionization machines.  This could be used to irrigate many arid parts of the US and grow crops where none could be grown before.

At the cost of evicting the desert ecology. :)

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I'm all for using extremely energy efficient homes that are minimally invasive to the environment (earthships) in conjunction with several cleaner energy sources such as wind, solar, geothermal, hydroelectric, tidal, etc.  Personally I'm not a fan of the whole hydrogen fuel cell thing.  I see that as potentially disastrous but even that is better than coal, nuclear, or oil.

I like home solar electric, at least in sunny climes.  Particularly if the locale has grid-metering, you can essentially break even, selling enough electricity to the utility in peak times (when they need it) to pay for the energy you consume on off-peak times (when you need it).  Eventually, I suspect that fuel-cells will become efficient enough storage devices to negate the need for a grid hookup altogether.

BTW, TDP would make a great technology for home biomass-to-fuel conversion.  Unfortunately, the company that owns the process is not doing small-scale for now and is also not open to licensing the process for that use (I've asked).   OTOH, I don't think you need a license to use patented technology for personal or research purposes.  So, one could build their own private TDP plant without the company's permission.  Hmmm.... I guess a privately-owned coop, billed as a research project, could probably power their own research facility (a.k.a. neighborhood) that way, as long as no money changed hands. (evil grin)

RS
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Radar

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Re:Industrial Hemp
« Reply #39 on: August 02, 2003, 01:46:44 am »

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I would take issue with that.  Especially on the nuclear.

Where would you store the spent rods?  Of course you're aware that they will kill anything around them for 10,000 years.  So after they are done being used by the nuke power plant, what would you suggest be done with them?  I hope it's not something irresponsible and dangerous like bury them in Yucca Mountain in Nevada.

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At the cost of evicting the desert ecology

People come before animals, and there's lots of desert in the world.

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FrYGuY

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Re:Industrial Hemp
« Reply #40 on: September 25, 2003, 05:59:22 am »

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I would take issue with that.  Especially on the nuclear.

Where would you store the spent rods?  Of course you're aware that they will kill anything around them for 10,000 years.  So after they are done being used by the nuke power plant, what would you suggest be done with them?  I hope it's not something irresponsible and dangerous like bury them in Yucca Mountain in Nevada.

Ceramic Bead nuclear plants don't have spent rods. It is, essentially, the fuel encapsulated in a graphite shell. They also have the added benefit of being almost enitrely inert once spent, provided the shell remains intact.
« Last Edit: September 25, 2003, 06:00:12 am by FrYGuY »
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RhythmStar

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Re:Industrial Hemp
« Reply #41 on: September 25, 2003, 09:16:09 am »

>>nuclear waste displosal

FWIW, as a waste-disposal technique, one could make a slurry of the spend ceramic beads and inject them into deep geologic formations, such as depleted oil and gas wells.  Plenty of those around.  :)

RS
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Re:Industrial Hemp
« Reply #42 on: October 01, 2003, 03:14:38 pm »

Well, now that we're officially moving to NH, here's is contact information for the NH Hemp Council:

c/o Monadnock Hemporium
10 West Street
Keene, NH 03431
603-357-2396
hemporium@cheshire.net

Give them a call or send them an email and get involved in the struggle!
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The Naked Porcupine

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Re:Industrial Hemp
« Reply #43 on: October 01, 2003, 04:10:28 pm »

I like this new nuclear plant design.

Maybe we could make New Hampshire a major energy exporter.

I'm in favor of further industrial hemp development... for all its uses.

I'm also in favor of expanded use of bio-diesel.

Greg
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Tracy Saboe

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Re:Industrial Hemp
« Reply #44 on: October 01, 2003, 06:39:08 pm »

Wisconson I know used to have a huge industrial Hemp industry untill the US Government banned it.

Tracy
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