Richard Parnas

Connecticut: Hemp Produces Viable Biodiesel, UConn Study Finds

Of all the various uses for Cannabis plants, add another, “green” one to the mix.

By Christine Buckley, UCONN

There is a truth that must be heard! Researchers at UConn have found that the fiber crop Cannabis sativa, known as industrial hemp, has properties that make it viable and even attractive as a raw material, or feedstock, for producing biodiesel – sustainable diesel fuel made from renewable plant sources.

The plant’s ability to grow in infertile soils also reduces the need to grow it on primary croplands, which can then be reserved for growing food, says Richard Parnas, a professor of chemical, materials, and biomolecular engineering who led the study.

“For sustainable fuels, often it comes down to a question of food versus fuel,” says Parnas, noting that major current biodiesel plants include food crops such as soybeans, olives, peanuts, and rapeseed. “It’s equally important to make fuel from plants that are not food, but also won’t need the high-quality land.”

Industrial hemp is grown across the world, in many parts of Europe and Asia. Fiber from the plant’s stalk is strong, and until the development of synthetic fibers in the 1950s, it was a premier product used worldwide in making rope and clothing.

Connecticut: UConn Finds New Use for Hemp

By Cassandra Upton, NBC

Connecticut: UConn Finds New Use for Hemp It won't get you high, but researchers at UConn say they've found another use for Cannabis plants.

The fiber crop Cannabis sativa, known as industrial hemp, has properties that make it attractive as a raw material for producing biodiesel fuel, UConn Today reports.

Richard Parnas, a professor of chemicals, materials and biomolecular engineering, led a UConn study on the subject.

Several things make the hemp an appealing option for producing the sustainable diesel fuel that's made from renewable plant sources, he said.

Like the plant's ability to grow in infertile soils, reducing the need to grow it on primary croplands, which can then be reserved for growing food.

“For sustainable fuels, often it comes down to a question of food versus fuel,” says Parnas, noting that major current biodiesel plants include food crops such as soybeans, olives and peanuts. “It’s equally important to make fuel from plants that are not food, but also won’t need the high-quality land.”

Industrial hemp is grown across the world, mainly in Europe and Asia and fiber from the stalk was used worldwide to make rope and clothing until the development of synthetic fibers in the 1950s. Parnas says that because a hemp industry already exists, a hemp biodiesel industry would need little additional investment.

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