Kentucky: University of Louisville Studying Industrial Hemp for Fuel
By Michael Bachara
For a second consecutive year, the University of Louisville's Conn Center for Renewable Energy is planting industrial hemp at the school’s Belknap Campus. The university is planting two types of hemp and kenaf to research their potential as renewable energy resources.
The study will focus on the potential for the crops to fulfill energy needs and become a replacement source for biofuels, fibers and 3-D printer applications.
The research will be included in the Kentucky Department of Agriculture's Industrial Hemp Research Pilot Program.
Interim president of U of L, Greg Postel, stated that researchers are seeking "unusual answers to renewable energy questions."
“Having the crops grow on campus actually raises awareness about the research that we have going on at Conn Center,” said Assistant Director Andrew Marsh.
"What we do with this plant matter is actually convert it into substances that will help solve energy problems, so the mission of the center is to work on technologies to lessen our dependence on fossil fuels, and this industrial hemp and kenaf planting is one of those research directions," said Marsh.
Many farmers in Kentucky believe hemp could help revitalize Kentucky’s agricultural sector, and the hope is the research at Conn will help students and scientists study the crop’s potential as a fuel.
“We’re unique in the fact that we’re undertaking research on hemp that’s converted to solve particular energy problems,” Marsh said. “There are well-defined markets for fiber and other kinds of traditional uses of hemp, including its oils. And what we’re doing is taking a very specific direction that corresponds to our research center’s mission, which is to find the answers for particular applications that have to do with renewable energy.”
The test plot will be harvested in approximately four months.
Video: University of Louisville
Photo Source: Toke of the Town