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Hemp Pellets as a Replacement for Wood Pellets for Sustainable Heat and Energy

"Hemp is not the alternative. Hemp is the solution."

In the film, Hempsters: Plant the Seed, Julia Butterfly Hill www.hempstersthemovie.com  points out industrial hemp as a solution to deforestation.  Wood Pellets made of compressed wood shavings, sawdust and glue, have become popular as a heating and cooking source of Energy http://www.renewableenergyworld.com/rea/news/article/2009/04/burning-issues-an-update-on-the-wood-pellet-market .  Some consider it a clean renewable energy, but did you know how Industrial Hemp Pellets http://pelheatblog.com/2009/01/20/hemp-biomass/  are the better energy solution?  Replacing Hemp Pellets for Wood Pellets as a heating and energy source is a solution.

Both trees and Industrial Hemp can be grown as a crop for fuel pellets, but it’s the growth cycles that make hemp more sustainable than timber.  Trees grown for biomass are harvested every 10 to 16 years http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plantation under industrial plantations, whereas Industrial Hemp has a growth cycle of 120 days.  Further criticism of timber production for biomass involves environmental biodiversity and sustainability. When new growth timber is grown over large areas of land it becomes a monoculture.  Natural, older forests contain a diverse range of plant and tree species, while most of the wood plantations and fiber farms in the world today are replacing natural forests.

Industrial Hemp can be grown for biomass in rotation with other crops taking up less space than what is needed for timber.  Let us consider an example of one plantation 20 acres in size. Better land planning would restore something close to a natural environment. If a Plantation owner plants multiple compatible tree varieties on 5 of the 20 acres, industrial hemp on 10 acres and vegetable crop rotations on 5 acres, part of the natural forest would be restored; and having industrial hemp as a part of crop rotation would restore soil quality and stabilize the CO2’s in the air http://www.hempmuseum.org/hfv.htm .  The industrial hemp farmer will produce as much pulp, if not more, than the timber company.

Currently there are no hemp pellets available to pellet stove consumers in the United States or internationally.  Jim Pillsbury of Framingham, MA had hemp sent to a Canadian biomass research facility to develop a product. http://www.biomassmagazine.com/article.jsp?article_id=2230  Keep up with his progress by subscribing to his personal blog. http://jimpillsbury.blogspot.com/search?q=2007+hemp+pellets  

The next step for feasible production of hemp pellets in the United States is the passing of HR 1866: The Industrial Hemp Farming Act currently in committee review in Congress with 36 supporters.  Please do your part to encourage your local representatives to support this bill. Visit VoteHemp for more information about what you can do to support this bill. http://votehemp.com/write_congress.html

Hempsters Plant the Seed, The University Tour is about continuing the conversation about industrial hemp as a solution to increasing energy needs.  Investors should consider supporting the development of quality hemp pellet products. If consumers had the opportunity to purchase a more sustainable product, we believe they would choose hemp over wood pellets.  What would the World look like if Timber plantations were replaced with industrial hemp farms? Join the conversation on the Hempsters NING network. www.hempsters.ning.com.


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