Thursday, April 27, 2017

Advantages and Challenges of Hemp Biodiesel Production

Hemp Research
By Ahmad Alcheikh

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Reducing reliance on a fossil fuel is a major challenge to many advanced and developing economies. This is due to the fact that fossil fuel, a finite resource, is depleting at a rapid rate with increasing demand. Additionally, the burning of fossil fuel is responsible for the current climate change, as a result of produced greenhouse gas emissions. Lastly, developing alternative renewable fuels improves energy security and decreases vulnerability of fuel supply.

This thesis work explores the advantages and challenges of hemp biodiesel production. The aim of this research is to present a comprehenive evaluation of these advantages and disadvantages in the way of large-scale production of biodiesel produced from hemp oil. The thesis work relies on relavent research paper in the field and reports from the industry. Industrial hemp, a variant of the Cannabis Sativa plant (Cannabis Sativa Linn), is an important industrial and nutritional crop.

Hemp seed oil can be used to produce biodiesel though the process of transesterification. Oil from hemp seeds presents a viable feedstock option for biodiesel production. Hemp provides a competitively high yield compared to similar crops. Biodiesel from hemp seed oil exhibits superior fuel quality with the exception of the kinetic viscosity and oxidation stability parameters, which can be improved with the introduction of chemical additives.

Hemp remains a “niche” crop in the food supply chain, which makes it prohibitively expensive a primary feedstock in biodiesel production. Legal and perception challenges remain a major challenge in the way of wide-scale hemp biodiesel production.

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