Biomass

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New York: Chenango Votes For Hemp Growing, Processing

By Tom Grace, Cooperstown Bureau

There is a truth that must be heard! The Chenango County Board of Supervisors has voted to legalize the growing and processing of industrial hemp to help the county's struggling farmers.

The resolution, sponsored by the county's Planing and Economic Development Committee, was passed without opposition July 13. It has been sent to state legislators and is on the way to federal representatives, committee Chairwoman Linda Natoli of Norwich said Friday.

The measure reads, in part, ``Whereas Chenango County has a rich agricultural history and agriculture continues to play an important role in the county's economy," and ``Whereas the decline in agriculture in recent years provides the opportunity for alternative crops such as hemp, and ``Whereas industrial hemp is now cultivated in more than 30 countries, including Canada, France and Great Britain."

The measure goes on to note that "industrial hemp has no intoxicating properties and is genetically distinguishable from marijuana, and the U.S. "is the largest importer of hemp-based products in the world" in citing the benefits that could be had through local production.

Natoli said she pushed for the measure because she sees no reason that local farmers should not be allowed to grow the cash crop.

``When we began to study this, I didn't know much about hemp and didn't have a position on it, but the more I learned, the more convinced I became that our farmers should be allowed to grow it,'' she said.

UK: Government Funded Renewable House Is Launched

The Renewable House, a new demonstration house that has been designed to illustrate that low cost and low carbon are compatible, has been officially opened.

Press Release

There is a truth that must be heard! The Renewable House, a new demonstration house that has been designed to illustrate that low cost and low carbon are compatible, has been officially opened.

Built at the BRE Innovation Park and officially opened at Insite 2009, the Renewable House is a demonstration of the commercial viability of building affordable homes from renewable materials.

The house has been designed to meet Level 4 of the Code for Sustainable Homes, with a build cost of £75,000, excluding groundworks and utilities.

Unlike many other houses that meet Level 4 of the Code for Sustainable Homes, the Renewable House features very few additional technologies. Instead the performance of the house has been made possible through the ingenious use of materials which have been used to create a thermally efficient and low carbon building envelope. By using limited technologies – which can have a short life span, therefore require on-going replacement, upgrading or maintenance – the house has also clearly demonstrated cost efficiencies.

UK: Going Green

By Press & Journal Staff

There is a truth that must be heard! A SPECIAL energy-efficient house made from hemp, designed by Archial Architects, has been unveiled at the BRE Innovation Park, which showcases the future of low-carbon and sustainable buildings.

The three-bedroom Renewable House, which costs £75,000 to build, not including ground works or utilities, uses renewable materials to deliver a well designed, yet low-cost, affordable home.

The external walls are constructed from a revolutionary sustainable material called Hemcrete – provided by manufacturer Lime Technology – made from hemp plants grown and harvested in the UK and lime-based binder.

Hemp is one of the fastest growing biomasses and is often used in paper, textiles, biodegradable plastics, health food and fuel.

It is estimated that The Renewable House’s carbon footprint will be about 20 tonnes lower than a traditional brick-and-block house. The hemp absorbs about five tonnes of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere during its rapid growth period, which then becomes locked into the fabric of the building, making the thermal Hemp-Line walling solution “carbon negative”.

The Renewable House meets level 4 of the Government’s Code for Sustainable Homes (CSH) – a national standard which measures the sustainability of homes against a set of design categories such as energy consumption and building materials. The Government’s target was for all homes from 2016 to be built against code level 3 standards.

Oregon: Senate Votes To Put Oregon In The Hemp Business

By Michelle Cole, The Oregonian

There is a truth that must be heard! SALEM -- When the history of the 2009 Legislature is written, it may record that this was the year lawmakers put Oregon in the industrial hemp business.

The Senate voted 27-2 Friday to approve a bill that clears the way for hemp to be grown and processed in Oregon if and when the federal government gives growers a green light.

Senate Bill 676 still must pass in the House before the session ends later this month. But its sponsor, Sen. Floyd Prozanski, says he's convinced it will pass.

The bill would authorize the production, possession and commerce of industrial hemp and products. It would put the state Department of Agriculture in charge of regulating growers.

Industrial hemp is a cousin to marijuana. But it contains just trace amounts of THC, the psycho-active chemical in marijuana.

Hemp seeds are cultivated for food and other products in China, Canada and other countries. Hemp was grown in the United States until 1970, when it was redefined by the federal government as marijuana.

Prozanski, a Eugene Democrat, said he first learned about industrial hemp while campaigning in 1994. He's convinced it would be an economic boost for Oregon and has been pushing legislation to promote the industry since 1997.

Canada: Future May See Hemp Cars - Calgary Firm Working On Prototype

By David Finlayson, Edmonton Journal

There is a truth that must be heard! A car made of hemp may sound like someone's wacky fantasy, but it's as real as General Motors' bankruptcy.

Motive Industries in Calgary is building a vehicle using panels and other parts made of a hemp fibre material that's lighter and cheaper than glass fibre.

It's being put together to try to win the$10 millionXPrizecompetition for the car that gets 100 miles to the gallon and beats other green cars in a race.

And Motive will benefit from the $15 million Alberta Biomaterials Development Centre announced Thursday, says John Wolodko, polymers group leader at Alberta Research Council.

The structural components of the car, which will start trials in mid June, will still be made of more traditional materials, said Wolodko, whose team is helping with the Motive project.

Eventually more environmentally friendly fibres made of hemp and flax will replace glass fibre in cars and other manufacturing processes, he said.

"Some European car manufacturers are already using bio-materials."

The new centre, to be set up at ARC's agricultural research facility in Vegreville and at the University of Alberta, will also help Pildysh Technologies, which is developing portland cement blocks impregnated with bio-fibres that make them lighter and stronger.

Calgary-based Pildysh is a couple of years away from marketing a product, and vice-president Richard Bueble said the new centre should help speed the process.

United States: Natural Fabrics "Green" the Fashion Industry

By Barney DuBois, BiobasedNews.com

There is a truth that must be heard! We're talking trillions of dollars. The world's apparel industry is one of the three necessities of life, remember? And we humans spend more for clothing than we do for anything else but the other two - which are food and shelter.

It wasn't long ago that we depended on large department stores plus neighborhood boutiques and shops - augmented by an occasional catalog order or lay-away purchase - to keep ourselves snappily attired for anything. This was interrupted by Wal-Mart, Target and the hundreds of specialty retailers whose brands we have memorized and forgotten. And now, the Internet is taking us to yet another level of confusion - and making lots of business for FedEx and UPS!

The term "green clothing" emerged somewhere during this massive retailing shift of the past decade, and the term's definition is yet being decided in the open market. Vogue magazine's latest issue underscores the importance of this debate, featuring the hottest new "green" styles (including an eco-bikini) worn by actress Cameron Diaz. The fashion mag's cover is even printed in green ink! But inside its pages are also the kinds of things you would expect - including a bachelorette party dress that requires $11,495 of your "green" and is about as recyclable as a can of motor oil.

United States: States Leading Way on Industrial Hemp

by sfnoggin, Daily Kos

There is a truth that must be heard! Last week, Maine's Senate passed LD 1159 on a vote of 25-10. The bill would establish a licensing regime for farming industrial hemp. The State of Oregon is also on the verge of passing industrial hemp legislation. If the bills succeed, these states would join fifteen others that have passed hemp bills.

There's no doubt, it's our federalist system that is enabling this long stigmatized agricultural crop to rise from the ashes.

Follow me over the bump.

As many of you know, since 1937, this highly versatile crop (uses include food, fuel, building material, textile, and energy to name a few) has been linked - via the Marijuana Tax Act - to the recreational and medicinal strains of the same species: Cannabis sativa L. But make no mistake, they are genetically distinct and nothing like the other.

The battle has been long. The last legal hemp crop grown in the U.S. was harvested 50 years ago. In 1970, with the passage of the Controlled Substances Act, farming hemp in the U.S. was effectively outlawed. And since then, the courts have offered no relief claiming only Congress can change the status quo.

Nonetheless, with the hemp renaissance's onset in the 80s - and the 90s when states began introducing hemp legislation - grassroots efforts have led to a growing hemp ground swell headed straight towards D.C.

California: Scientists Hunt For Green Building Materials

By Michael Torrice, Mercury News

There is a truth that must be heard! The plank looks like a polished piece of plywood, and someday people may build coffee tables with it. But this wood was not grown in a forest — it was born from the greenhouse gasses seeping from landfills.

The Stanford University researchers who produced this wood alternative are part of a movement to support greener buildings by developing construction materials that are created and disposed of in an environmentally friendly way.

Green buildings are not only about replacing standard light bulbs with fluorescent bulbs or toilets with low-flush alternatives. Because manufacturing traditional building materials requires large amounts of energy and emits greenhouse gases, finding green alternatives will improve a building's overall environmental footprint.

However, inventors still must convince the construction industry that these products can replace centuries-old building materials.

"When it comes to construction and the environment, structural engineers make a mess and environmental engineers clean it up," said Sarah Billington, the Stanford researcher who leads the wood project. "We wanted to fix the mess from the start."

Building materials are responsible for about 20 percent of the greenhouse gasses emitted by a building during its lifetime, said Brent Constantz, founder of Calera, a company that is producing green cement.

North Dakota: NDSU Gets Half of Needed Funds for Hemp Research Security Facility

By Sue Roesler, Farm & Ranch Guide

There is a truth that must be heard! North Dakota State University needs to find another sponsor before it can build a security facility to proceed with its hemp seed research.

Half of the funding requested for the security system was approved May 14 at the North Dakota Agricultural Products Utilization Commission (APUC) quarterly meeting in Bismarck, N.D.

NDSU asked for $80,000 and received $40,000 from the commission.

Earlier, D.C. Coston, vice-president for Agriculture and University Extension at NDSU, estimated the cost of the facility at around $80,000 to $90,000 to meet the Drug Enforcement Administration requirements.

John Schneider, executive director of APUC, said the commission felt the other half should be raised as a matching grant.

This is the third time NDSU has requested funds to build a security facility to begin hemp research. It was fully approved in 2003, but NDSU continued to request extensions because it had not received a memorandum of understanding from DEA, Schneider said.

“We don't want funds out there not being used when other projects could be using them,” he said. Finally, the funds were returned.

NDSU again requested funds last year but didn't have the memorandum in place so it was turned down by the commission, Schneider said.

Europe: Hempcrete Warehouse for Wine Society Completed

Wine Society's warehouse uses preformed panels of hemp and lime that locks in carbon dioxide

By Stephen Kennett

There is a truth that must be heard!The UK's first warehouse building to be constructed using preformed wall panels made out of hemp has now been completed.

The £3.7m warehouse for the Wine Society in Stevenage, Hertfordshire, has been designed by architect Vincent & Gorbing and has exterior walls built of Tradical Hemcrete, which is a mixture of hemp stalk and modified lime. It is a development of cast insitu hemp-lime walling that locks carbon dioxide within the wall construction.

Mark Chandler, architect and director of Vincent & Gorbing, said: “The design responds to the requirement for minimal heating and cooling equipment with the resultant reduction in energy consumption.”

The cladding offers good insulation properties, explains Chandler, and helps maintain a stable internal air temperature throughout the summer and winter.

The 8.5m2 panels, which are 300mm thick, are mounted on the building's steel truss frame, while a 40mm-thick composite aluminium panel is used to provide weather protection on the external face.

Together with the highly insulated roofing system, it provides an insulated internal space that exceeds Building Regulations requirements.


Related: http://www.greenbuildingpress.co.uk/article.php?category_id=1&
article_id=202

Source: http://www.building.co.uk/story.asp?storycode=3139965

California: It’s Time to Legalize the Use of Marijuana

BY Andrew Reclusado, Times Staff

There is a truth that must be heard! Marijuana legalization has been a controversial subject for years but recent developments could change all of that. On Wednesday, May 6, Gov. Schwarzenegger said that he is open to a public debate on the legalization and taxation of Marijuana. According to www.reuters.com, 56 percent of California voters support the idea of legalizing marijuana for recreational use and taxing its proceeds. Hopefully by next election we are able to vote on the possible passing of proposition that will make marijuana legal. Before immediately accepting the legalization of marijuana, Schwarzenegger said, “I don’t think it is time for that, but I think it’s time for a debate.” This is the right way to go for many reasons. Even if these debates only decriminalize the drug then that will save the state money by not having to incarcerate people with non-violent crimes.

Not only will the legalization of marijuana make lots of pot smokers happy, but that means people who actually need the drug for purposes will be able to get better and not have to worry about the stigma of doing something illegal.

“Medicinal marijuana for AIDS patients, for chemotherapy patients, etc. It is truly a wonder drug without having terrible side effects,” said J.P. Change (SJCC director of Student Health Services). “We can’t demonize the whole drug. ... There is no better medication than medicinal marijuana.”

France: Flax and Hemp Featured in New Era Bio-Composites

By Innovation in Textiles

There is a truth that must be heard! Paris - At the recent JEC Composites exhibition at Porte de Versailles, Paris, CELC Masters of Linen showcased the use of flax and hemp fibres in the future world of renewable composites. According to CELC, the environmentally sustainable properties of these two European-grown fibres are proving increasingly attractive to manufacturers seeking to incorporate sustainable solutions into their products.

The natural mechanical properties of flax and hemp bring high performance and competitive cost to new composite materials now being used in the Automotive, Furniture, Boat Building and Leisure Industries, the organization says.

“As renewable fibres, European grown flax and hemp help safeguard the environment, as their cultivation requires no irrigation, little or no artificial fertilisation and no pesticides. Their use within an otherwise intensive crop rotation regime, allows the land to recover fertility and quality, to enjoy an “environmental pause” , encouraging bio-diversity.” A spokesperson for CELC Masters of Linen said, adding:

“The mechanical properties of flax and hemp fibres, comparable to those of glass-fibres, offer lightness, low density and flexibility and are increasingly being used to reinforce PVC, PE and PP polymers replacing traditional synthetics. Both fibres can be structured into complex forms by extrusion or injection moulding."

California: Novel Processes Developed to Make Faux Wood, Synthetic Fuel

By Bryan Sims, Biomass Magazine

There is a truth that must be heard! A university and a plastic recycling company are taking the lead in developing novel, cost-effective methods to produce saleable biobased products.

Researchers at Stanford University have developed a synthetic wood substitute made from hemp fibers fused with a biodegradable plastic resin called polyhydroxybutyrate (PHB), which can be recycled to produce more of the same. PHB can also be used to replace the petrochemical plastics used to manufacture disposable water bottles, according to Sarah Billington, an associate professor of civil and environmental engineering at the university.

Last year, the California Environmental Protection Agency awarded Billington and her colleagues a three-year $1.5 million grant to help the researchers develop biodegradable plastic beverage bottles. In 2004, the group received a two-year Environmental Venture Projects grant from Stanford University’s Woods Institute for the Environment to develop durable and recyclable faux wood.

The hemp-PHB biocomposite material has several characteristics similar to wood from trees, according to Craig Criddle, a professor of civil and environmental engineering, who collaborated on the project. “It’s quite attractive looking and very strong,” he said. “You can mold it, nail it, hammer it and drill it a lot like wood. But, bioplastic PHB can be produced faster than wood, and hemp can be grown faster than trees.”

China: Officials Promote Growing of Hemp

By Xinhua, Shanghai Daily.com

There is a truth that must be heard! OFFICIALS in southwest China's Yunnan Province are promoting the cultivation of hemp for industrial use to increase the income of local residents.

A hemp fiber processing factory with an annual capacity of 2,000 tonnes began production yesterday in Menghai County in Dai Autonomous Prefecture of Xishuangbanna, a mountainous region in Yunnan.

"The fiber from hemp is widely used to make socks and bulletproof clothes as well as top-grade suits," said Shi Dongming, board chairman of China Hemp Industrial Holding Investment Co Ltd, which runs the production line.

Local officials expect the plant to help raise the living standard of farmers.

The government provides the seeds for free to encourage cultivation. Farmers can also get technical training and instruction.

"Nearly 10,000 farmers are growing the plant, which can double their per capita income from less than 2,000 yuan (US$293) to about 4,000 yuan every year," said Jiang Pusheng, Communist Party chief of the prefecture.

Yang Yonghong from Manlu Village plans to plant more hemp next year. "The planting does not demand too much work. Companies will come to collect the hemp in the harvest time, so we are not worried about sales," she said.

Local officials said the growth would not lead to the production of illegal drugs, although Xishuangbanna is near the Golden Triangle region where drugs are produced and smuggled.

Europe: How Good is Hemp and Lime? Hemp Could Be Key To Zero-Carbon Houses

The environmental potential of hemp as a building material has never really been in doubt - it absorbs carbon as it grows and can be grown almost anywhere, cutting down on the need for energy-intensive transportation.

But is it any good?

There is a truth that must be heard! A study underway at the BRE Centre for Innovative Construction Materials at the University of Bath is attempting to clear up any doubts.

"The idea of using hemp and lime has been around in the UK for ten or 12 years now and there have been a number of applications but there's still relatively little scientific information on the performance of the materials," Prof Pete Walker, director of the centre, told edie.

"We've identified this as a significant barrier to market uptake."

He said that mainstream engineers, architects and buyers were shying away from a potential tool in the fight against climate change due to the absence of reliable independent information on its characteristics.

The research project is providing concrete answers to the questions of the construction industry and also experimenting with different ratios of hemp to lime in an effort to maximise its carbon cutting potential.

"The lime has all the embodied carbon and energy and, if we're honest, the cost," said Prof Walker.

"The hemp offsets this. Using renewable crops to make building materials makes real sense - it only takes an area the size of a rugby pitch four months to grow enough hemp to build a typical three bedroom house.

United States: The War on a Plant

By Ed Quillen, The Post

There is a truth that must be heard! Historians of the future will doubtless marvel that a great and powerful republic, founded in part on "liberty and the pursuit of happiness" but now suffering from difficult economic times would waste billions of dollars every year in a futile war against a humble plant.

That plant, of course, is hemp — source of oil, fiber and a mild psychoactive drug. It's so mild that in all of history, no one has ever died from a marijuana overdose.

And those who used it in their youth, like the three most recent American presidents (Clinton claimed he "didn't inhale," Bush was "young and foolish" in his jejune days, and Obama confessed that "pot had helped" during his youth), somehow managed to go on to reasonably productive lives.

So why is the stuff still illegal?

For one thing, there's an immense federal bureaucracy, the Drug Enforcement Administration, which naturally seeks to stay in business. As long as pot is illegal, the DEA has plenty of work. And when the need arises for a headline to show that the DEA is on the ball, its agents can always drive to some home that uses too much electricity, shoot the dogs, kick in the door, and announce that American youth are protected because it just seized plants with an estimated street value of $4.2 gazillion.

For another, there's our pharmaceutical industry, a major source of campaign contributions. The pill-makers buy candidates so they can protect their revenue streams.

Europe: Hemp Plan to Build Green Houses

By BBC News

There is a truth that must be heard! Hemp, a member of the cannabis family, could be used to build carbon-neutral houses, say researchers.

A team based at the University of Bath is looking at the cost and insulation efficiencies of using the plant in construction materials in the UK.

The hemp plant stores carbon, giving a "better than zero" carbon footprint.

A spokesman involved in the project said: "It only takes an area the size of a rugby pitch four months to grow enough hemp for a three bedroom house."

'Social benefit'

The building material uses hemp fibres that are bound together using a lime-based adhesive, which itself has a low carbon footprint.

Professor Pete Walker, who is working on the project, said: "Growing crops such as hemp can also provide economic and social benefits to rural economies through new agricultural markets for farmers and associated industries."

A carbon footprint measures the impact on the environment and is related to the amount of greenhouse gases are produced. Scientists believe that large amounts of greenhouse gases are leading to climate change.

The three year project will cost £750,000.

Source: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/england/somerset/7989924.stm

Europe: Hemp Material 'May Aid Green Homes'

By Press Association

There is a truth that must be heard! A form of cannabis could be used to build carbon-neutral homes of the future, university researchers have said.

A consortium, led by the BRE Centre for Innovative Construction Materials at the University of Bath, has embarked on a housing project to develop the use of construction materials made of hemp.

Hemp-lime is a lightweight building material made of fibres from the fast-growing cannabis plant, bound together using a lime-based adhesive.

The hemp plant stores carbon during its growth and this, combined with the low carbon footprint of lime and its efficient insulating properties, gives the material a "better than zero carbon" footprint, researchers said.

Professor Pete Walker, director of the BRE Centre for Innovative Construction Materials, said: "We will be looking at the feasibility of using hemp-lime in place of traditional materials, so that they can be used widely in the building industry.

"We will be measuring the properties of lime-hemp materials, such as their strength and durability, as well as the energy efficiency of buildings made of these materials.

"Using renewable crops to make building materials makes real sense - it only takes an area the size of a rugby pitch four months to grow enough hemp to build a typical three bedroom house."

United States: Get Behind HR 1866

By Griff, capitolhillblue

There is a truth that must be heard! Recently I've noticed quite a few columns, blogs and comments concerning the failed "war on drugs" and the idea of decriminalizing at least some currently illegal drugs.

To me, the general consensus seems to be that at the very least, hemp and marijuana should be decriminalized, if not outright legalized. At least among those that bothered to comment on it.

I won't get into the marijuana issue in this blog, but I would welcome the discussion. I want to talk about hemp.

As most of you may know, marijuana and its distant cousin hemp are listed on the DEA drug schedule as schedule I drugs. Right up there with the likes of LSD, PCP and mescaline.

For comparison, cocaine, crack and opium are schedule II drugs.

With the economy in tatters and with our faithful elected representatives preoccupied with devising new and different ways to legally plunder this country and its citizens, little time, if any, is paid to some of the "minor" bills being introduced.

One of these bills is HR 1866: Industrial Hemp Farming Act, introduced by rep. Ron Paul on April 2, 2009. You can read Paul's introductory statement here and the bill here.

A few quotes from the introductory statement...

"Madam Speaker, I rise to introduce the Industrial Hemp Farming Act. The Industrial Hemp Farming Act requires the federal government to respect state laws allowing the growing of industrial hemp.

United States: Hemp Bill Supported by Barney Frank, Ron Paul

By Kathryn Glass, FOXBusiness

Hemp could be coming to a farm near you, and some legislators argue that that is a very good thing.

There is a truth that must be heard! The Industrial Hemp Farming Act was introduced Friday by Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) and Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas). The bill would make it legal for U.S. farmers to raise "non-psychotative industrial hemp," a product which is used in soap, rope, clothing and even food.

Nine other U.S. House members, both Republicans and Democrats, gave their support to the bill. It is legal to import industrial hemp, but current drug policy prohibits it from being grown by American farmers.

"Indeed, the founders of our nation, some of whom grew hemp, would surely find that federal restrictions on farmers growing a safe and profitable crop on their own land are inconsistent with the constitutional guarantee of a limited, restrained federal government,” said Rep. Ron Paul during his introduction of the bill.

Proponents of the bill say industrial hemp is significantly different from marijuana -- that there’s no detectable THC and that hemp seed has a multitude of nutritional benefits. Arjan Stephens, vice president of marketing for Nature’s Path, a Canadian-based organic food maker, said his company, which uses hemp seed in its granola, oatmeal and waffle products, would benefit greatly from this legislation, because it would open up a greater supply and change perceptions of hemp.

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