For decades now, the debate on traditional fossil fuels versus biofuels has been raging. It’s the dueling ideas of remaining with the comfortable and familiar or switching to something revolutionary and new.
As we and the planet take this unexpected time to rest and reflect, perhaps one of our reflections should be what we can do to better improve our world and how we live in it. Perhaps this is the perfect time to reconsider some of our current methods of living and find other more sustainable paths that are beneficial for us and our environment.
Are there better alternatives to the choices we have been making?
And one of the questions to consider is what the pros and cons are of switching to biofuels, and hemp biofuels in particular.
Hemp Biofuels: The Pros and Cons
First, let’s look at the potential cons that would come with a switch to hemp biofuels.
1. Fertile soil is required to grow useful biofuels. This has been one of the biggest hot button issues concerning the switch to biofuels. Fertile soil is also vital to produce the food we need to live–so why use fertile soil to produce fuel when it could better be used to produce food?
But did you know that hemp can also thrive in infertile soil? This is a pro on the part of hemp biofuels specifically. Not only that, but hemp returns around 70% of the nutrients it takes during its growing cycle back into the soil, reducing the amount of fertilizer it would need and nourishing the infertile soil at the same time. (Sorry–I couldn’t help sneaking that little “pros” factor into the “cons”.)
2. While using infertile land might seem to be an easy solution, there is a con to this as well. While growing hemp in infertile soil is a plausible option, infertile land can be hard to farm. This farming difficulty could lead to potential issues in regards to the mass growth and distribution of biofuels that would be required because of higher CO2 farming emissions and higher costs to cultivate.
3. A third con would be the industrial switch that would have to take place in the world to begin running fully on hemp biofuels. The kind of overhaul required to convert every fossil fuel-based machine and/or proceed with new manufacturing is a process that could take decades to complete. And while it isn’t impossible, it’s a very big, long-term hurdle that we would have to overcome.
While there are cons to hemp biofuels, there are a lot of pros to switching over to them as well! And the pros just might outweigh the cons.
1. Hemp is very resilient and low-maintenance. It grows quickly and can have a much higher turn-around/production rate for biofuels than other fuel sources we currently use, like coal and oil.
2. Hemp’s bioremediation factor is a HUGE pro for the hemp biofuels argument! Bioremediation means that hemp naturally removes toxins from the soil, including metals, pesticides, crude oil, and even radioactive agents.
So not only can hemp thrive in infertile soil, but it could help “cure” or “heal” this soil into something more naturally fertile.
3. Planting hemp for biofuel could also help heal more than just the soil. Hemp soaks up CO2 faster than most plants, including trees. Not only that, but by using hemp for biofuel, the CO2 emissions are reabsorbed into plants through photosynthesis.
4. Another pro for hemp biofuels is that literally no part of the plant has to go to waste–it can all be used for biofuels and other useful purposes! Cannabis stalks are a great source of industrial fiber, and the seeds are roughly 33% oil. This could be used towards the biofuel cause, and just that 33% of oil in the seeds could yield roughly 207 gallons of hemp oil per hectare of hemp.
While there are some obstacles standing in the way of a cleaner, more environmentally-friendly fuel source, the ultimate pros of hemp biofuel are much more significant than the cons of getting there or producing in.
As more research is done on hemp and as more legal change is enacted, the world will continue to get closer to a better, cleaner state while running on things like hemp biofuels. And once it’s here, it could be one of our greatest environmental accomplishments that we have ever achieved.
I’m Taylor Calix. I’m a Hemp & Cannabis Writer who is passionate about writing custom, quality content for hemp and cannabis businesses across America–content that drives traffic, generates leads, and delivers results! If you have questions or want to know more about how I can help you establish your business as an industry expert, build your brand, help you get more leads, and increase your profits, talk to me and see exactly how a Hemp and Cannabis Writer can help you increase your business today! You can find me on LinkedIn, Facebook, or on my website, A.L.M. Writing.