We've been waiting for years - waiting to hear that hemp fuel will revolutionize the way we drive, power and fuel our cars, trucks, tractors and what have you. Everyone has seen the pictures of Henry Ford and his "Canna-Car", a vehicle made of and fueled by hemp.
Actually, it was probably made (the info on the original composition has been lost), out of hemp and soybeans - but the fuel was indeed hemp biofuel. The original intent was a lightweight fuel efficient vehicle in response to the high cost and decreased availability of petroleum and steel during the Second World War.
So, If it's been available for years, what's the hold-up - when Rudolf Diesel invented the Diesel Engine in 1892, he intended that it be flexible and burn a variety of fuels, particularly those derived from vegetable and seed oils. But while the availability of biofuel increases year by year in these environmentally aware times, fossil fuels still stink and smoke and pollute and stomp about the entire globe like a petro-Godzilla.
Topping off our tank with Sour Diesel is still not an available option...
Currently in the United States, biofuel is most often made from animal fats and soybeans, while in Europe it's made from rapeseed and sunflower oils, while in other parts of the world, palm oil, corn and sugarcane are the main ingredients. Compared to these sources, hemp is vastly more cost effective and high yield. As crops go, hemp is also friendlier to the environment than most of the previously mentioned vegetable sources. Hemp can also be grown in fringe areas where many crops would fail, and it requires less pesticide. Recently discovered is hemp's ability to beneficially prepare the soil it's grown in, creating more a more fertile land for other crops grown there later.
Redirecting infrastructure to green production techniques and away from fossil fuels is a step by step process. And the extralegal status of growing hemp has been a huge obstacle since Henry Ford's time, but this is changing. Hemp's use for fiber and seed oil make the weed itself it too pricey to be a source of fuel, but there are still waste products which could definitely be utilized. The means exist to use the woody core of the stalk, called 'hurds', a major component of waste from industrial hemp processing; but they have not been implemented to any significant degree, so far.
And of course, those currently in control of existing fuel solutions are not likely to be much help in moving things forward. Hemp Re-cultivation's impact on human society is likely to be revolutionary...