Hempcar Tour Pumping Biodiesel Fuel

Hempcar Tour Pumping Biodiesel Fuel
Posted by FoM on July 24, 2001 at 07:40:54 PT
By Matthew Marx, Dispatch Staff Reporter
Source: Columbus Dispatch
They're burning a heap of hemp on that road trip. But don't freak out. On the Hempcar Transamerica Tour, it's all legal, man. The Hempcar, a 1983 Mercedes Benz diesel station wagon, is running on biodiesel fuel made from industrial hemp, a legal product if it is grown outside the United States. Growing the plant in the United States is illegal because of another hemp product: marijuana. Some environmental advocates are driving the Hempcar 10,000 miles through 40 North American cities to promote hemp as a fuel source. 
Yesterday's stop at Whetstone Park in Columbus was the 19th day of the 90-day trek. Today the Hempcar will be at the Knox County Fair. The Benz has been getting about 27 miles per gallon on the highway during the tour and is running exclusively on hemp biodiesel, which costs about $4 a gallon, spokesman Scott Furr said. "The production cost is minimal -- about 50 cents per gallon -- but because we can't cultivate it in the U.S., the oil used to make the fuel has to be imported,'' he said. Organizers have relied on sponsorships and donations to cover the roughly $30,000 cost of the tour. Among them is Todd Swearingen, founder of Appal Energy in the Athens County town of Amesville, who donated labor and chemicals so the travelers could process the hempseed oil into diesel fuel. His company processes all sorts of biodiesel fuels, which are made from vegetable oil or animal fat. "People assume I smoke pot because of what I do and because I look like a stoner with my long hair and beard,'' he said after gingerly mixing hempseed oil with methanol, water and lye to make the fuel. "But that's not at all what I'm like.'' Hemp fuel is safer to ship and store than traditional diesel fuels, Swearingen said, because its flash point is 325 degrees. Petroleum diesel has a threshold of 120 degrees, he said. Swearingen said biodiesel likely never will be cheaper than fossil diesels, but would be about the same price. More important than the economic benefits is the minimal environmental impact of hemp biodiesel emissions, he said. "It's 83 percent cleaner than petroleum diesel fuel.'' Industrial hemp supporters say it can be used to make 25,000 types of products, including clothing and food, without significant amounts of THC, the active ingredient in marijuana. Source: Columbus Dispatch (OH)Author: Matthew Marx, Dispatch Staff ReporterPublished: Tuesday, July 24, 2001Copyright: 2001 The Columbus DispatchContact: letters dispatch.comWebsite: Articles & Web Sites:Hemp Car's Hemp Links Fueled by Hemp Oil on Real Trip Car To Make 10,000 Mile Trip Hemp Archives 
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Comment #1 posted by mayan on July 24, 2001 at 16:58:06 PT
Hemp for energy!
Still waiting on Gov. Ryan here in Illinois to act on the Hemp study bill. He has until mid-August. I think he's hoping we'll forget about it. I bet he wishes it would just go away.Hemp is truly our only hope to turn the tide our way!Save hemphttp://www.votehemp.comWoody's new site
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