You are viewing an obsolete version of the DU website which is no longer supported by the Administrators. Visit The New DU.
Democratic Underground Latest Greatest Lobby Journals Search Options Help Login
Google

Reply #114: HEMP can save the world! [View All]

Printer-friendly format Printer-friendly format
Printer-friendly format Email this thread to a friend
Printer-friendly format Bookmark this thread
This topic is archived.
Home » Discuss » Archives » General Discussion (1/22-2007 thru 12/14/2010) Donate to DU
Bennyboy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-27-07 11:39 PM
Response to Reply #113
114. HEMP can save the world!
In the 1930s the Ford Motor Company also saw a future in biomass fuels. Ford operated a successful biomass conversion plant, that included hemp, at their Iron Mountain facility in Michigan. Ford engineers extracted methanol, charcoal fuel, tar, pitch, ethyl-acetate and creosote. All fundamental ingredients for modern industry and now supplied by oil-related industries.<2>

The difference is that the vegetable source is renewable, cheap and clean, and the petroleum or coal sources are limited, expensive and dirty. By volume, 30% of the hemp seed contains oil suitable for high-grade diesel fuel as well as aircraft engine and precision machine oil.

Henry Ford's experiments with methanol promised cheap, readily renewable fuel. And if you think methanol means compromise, you should know that many modern race cars run on methanol.

About the time Ford was making biomass methanol, a mechanical device<3> to strip the outer fibers of the hemp plant appeared on the market. These machines could turn hemp into paper and fabrics<4> quickly and cheaply. Hemp paper is superior to wood paper. The first two drafts of the U.S. constitution were written on hemp paper. The final draft is on animal skin. Hemp paper contains no dioxin, or other toxic residue, and a single acre of hemp can produce the same amount of paper as four acres of trees.<5> The trees take 20 years to harvest and hemp takes a single season. In warm climates hemp can be harvested two even three times a year. It also grows in bad soil and restores the nutrients.

Hemp fiber-stripping machines were bad news to the Hearst paper manufacturing division, and a host of other natural resource firms. Coincidentally, the DuPont Chemical Company had, in 1937, been granted a patent on a sulfuric acid process to make paper from wood pulp. At the time DuPont predicted their sulfuric acid process would account for 80% of their business for the next 50 years.

Hemp, once the mainstay of American agriculture, became a threat to a handful of corporate giants. To stifle the commercial threat that hemp posed to timber interests, William Randolph Hearst began referring to hemp in his newspapers, by its Spanish name, "marijuana." This did two things: it associated the plant with Mexicans and played on racist fears, and it misled the public into thinking that marijuana and hemp were different plants.

Nobody was afraid of hemp--it had been cultivated and processed into usable goods, and consumed as medicine, and burned in oil lamps, for hundreds of years. But after a campaign to discredit hemp in the Hearst newspapers, Americans became afraid of something called marijuana.

By 1937, the Marijuana Tax Act was passed which marked the beginning of the end of the hemp industry. In 1938, Popular Mechanics ran an article about marijuana called, "New Billion Dollar Crop."<6> It was the first time the words "billion dollar" were used to describe a U.S. agricultural product. Popular Mechanics said,


. . . a machine has been invented which solves a problem more than 6,000 years old. . . .
The machine . . . is designed for removing the fiber-bearing cortex from the rest of the stalk, making hemp fiber available for use without a prohibitive amount of human labor.

Hemp is the standard fiber of the world. It has great tensile strength and durability. It is used to produce more than 5,000 textile products ranging from rope, to fine laces, and the woody "hurds" remaining after the fiber has been removed, contain more than seventy-seven per cent cellulose, and can be used to produce more than 25,000 products ranging from dynamite to cellophane.

Well since the Popular Mechanics article appeared over half a century ago, many more applications have come to light. Back in 1935, more than 58,000 tons of marijuana seed were used just to make paint and varnish (all non-toxic, by the way). When marijuana was banned, these safe paints and varnishes were replaced by paints made with toxic petro-chemicals. In the 1930s no one knew about poisoned rivers or deadly land-fills or children dying from chemicals in house paint. People did know something about hemp back then, because the plant and its products were so common.

http://www.ratical.org/renewables/hempHDRT.html
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 

Home » Discuss » Archives » General Discussion (1/22-2007 thru 12/14/2010) Donate to DU

Powered by DCForum+ Version 1.1 Copyright 1997-2002 DCScripts.com
Software has been extensively modified by the DU administrators


Important Notices: By participating on this discussion board, visitors agree to abide by the rules outlined on our Rules page. Messages posted on the Democratic Underground Discussion Forums are the opinions of the individuals who post them, and do not necessarily represent the opinions of Democratic Underground, LLC.

Home  |  Discussion Forums  |  Journals |  Store  |  Donate

About DU  |  Contact Us  |  Privacy Policy

Got a message for Democratic Underground? Click here to send us a message.

© 2001 - 2011 Democratic Underground, LLC