Why Replacing Natural Gas With Hemp-Derived Methanol Is A Great Idea


On February 29 I was browsing through CNN.com and I came across an article titled “How a billionaire fills gas tank for $1 a gallon.” Below is an excerpt from that article:

Gasoline at $4 a gallon is no worry for T. Boone Pickens, the billionaire energy investor from Texas. He drives from his home to his office in a car that runs on fuel costing less than $1 a gallon.

His method: He has a device that fuels his Honda Civic GX with natural gas from the pipes that serve his home. And he thinks there’s a lesson there for America’s energy woes.

Pickens, who is speaking Wednesday at the TED2012 Conference in Long Beach, California, said America needs to make natural gas a building block of a plan for ending oil imports from the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries.

Natural gas is “cheaper, it’s cleaner, it’s abundant and it’s ours, and we’re fools not to use it,” Pickens said in an interview with CNN.

Pickens, an 83-year-old trained geologist who has been working in the energy field since 1951, said the United States could use domestic resources to replace the 5 million barrels of oil imported daily from OPEC, which makes up a quarter of America’s daily use of oil. The U.S. natural gas reserves amount to the equivalent of three times the oil reserves possessed by Saudi Arabia, he said.

“All you need now is leadership,” he said, lamenting that America “has no plan, we’ve gone 40 years with no energy plan. We’re the largest user of oil in the world.”

Pickens’ plan is encapsulated in the Natural Gas Act, a bill with Democratic and Republican sponsors, that would provide tax credits to replace diesel-fuel burning truck engines with natural gas-powered engines; users of natural gas as a transportation fuel would pay fees that would make up for the lost government revenue.

His firm, BP Capital, has a vested interest in energy policy since it invests in energy futures and the shares of firms in a variety of parts of the industry.

Now, here is why I have a problem with this. First of all, the process of extracting the natural gas can be harmful to health and environment.

“The practice of hydraulic fracturing, the process of using a combination of chemicals ranging from harmless to toxic to force natural gas to the surface from reservoirs with low permeability, has come under scrutiny internationally due to concerns about environmental and health safety, and has been suspended or banned in some countries.” (Wikipedia)

“The most direct connection is if fracking fluids are injected directly into rock formations that also serve as freshwater aquifers and underground sources of drinking water. According to EPA, there are coalbed methane formations that undergo hydraulic fracturing, but also serve as freshwater aquifers.

  1. Fracking chemicals have the potential to migrate, as liquids or gases, from leaky wellbores into adjacent groundwater aquifers. There is the possibility for migration may occur, as well, through vertical and horizontal fractures into groundwater or even to surface water.
  2. Even if the fracking chemicals, themselves, do not migrate into groundwater, the hydraulic fracturing operation may change the underground geology in such a way that new pathways are formed that allow hydrocarbons such as methane, and benzene, to migrate away from their original location. Fracturing, which causes mini-seismic events under ground, may also introduce more sediment into groundwater aquifers, changing the water quality temporarily, or possibly permanently.
  3. A final pathway for contamination is if fracking fluids are spilled onto the ground or into waterways. Spills may be of unused fracking chemicals, or used fracking fluids that flow back out of the well after it has been hydraulically fractures. Any volatile compounds in spilled fracking fluids may enter the air and be carried downwind. (earthworksaction.org)

Second, natural gas (derived from fracking) is NOT a renewable resource.

Third, doesn’t the sound of ‘investing in energy futures’ bring to mind the Rockefellers and Standard Oil? (And their monopoly and price gouging, AND the fact that the stock market is the main reason for high fossil fuel prices?)

So, what is the alternative?

Hemp-derived methanol. Hemp is 77% cellulose, which is the main component for fuel. Methanol from hemp is clean, renewable, and does not require large amounts of dangerous chemicals to process.

If hemp were grown in the U.S. using 6% of farmland, we could remove our dependency on foreign oil, fossil fuels, and natural gas. To me, this is ideal, since natural gas fracking is harmful to the environment, and the health of populations nearby.

Industrial hemp methanol would be an inexpensive, healthy alternative – giving us freedom from using hydrocarbon fuels and replacing them with healthy carbohydrate fuels.

There are some commercial kitchens/stoves that can use methanol without upgrading the equipment; I would love to see a household version – a gas stove that uses hemp methanol. It’s the best of both worlds – clean, efficient, inexpensive energy…and a renewable one at that.

National Average Price of Gas – $4 a Gallon (and rising), Are You Hungry for Hemp Fuel Yet?


Our nation is now seeing average gas prices at $4 per gallon. And with the spring and summer travel season coming upon us, it is sure to rise. $5/gallon gas? Looks like it may be a reality. Unfortunately, with the economy still not back on its feet yet, this is, for many, going to be more than just a little pinch in the pocketbook.

There are several factors that cause higher gas prices. (And they are not necessarily what most of us think they are.)

First of all, oil costs are rising. And why are they rising?

1. Iran. ~ The turbulent times in Iran are part of the reason why gas prices are moving upward. Iran exports over 2 million barrels of oil per day.  Iran lies near the Straight of Hormuz, a major traffic area for shipping oil. With Iranian instability, the fear of attacks or sanctions have had a hand in driving the price up.

2. Some say higher prices are due to growing demand. This demand is, in large part, in China. The demand for gas in the U.S. has not risen, part of the reason being alternative modes of transportation and slow economy.

3. Refineries ~ Two refineries on the east coast have closed, and a third may close. While this is not necessarily critical (the U.S. refines plenty of fuel as it is), a third refinery may close, and this may bring a price spike.

Following are the 2 largest culprits behind high gas prices:

Big Oil and oil speculators.

Big oil corporations have made around $1 trillion (TRILLION with a T) in profits the past ten years, mainly in part due to government subsidies and huge tax cuts and loopholes.

Oil speculators may just be the largest cause for spiking oil prices.

Here is how oil speculation works. It starts with an oil future. An oil future is a contract between a seller and buyer. The buyer agrees to purchase a set amount of oil at a fixed price. This lets the buyer bet on whether the price of oil will increase in the future. As soon as the contract is settled, the buyer receives the oil for the price stated in the contract, even if the price of oil was higher at the time of delivery.

What speculation all boils down to is this: stock market oil speculators buy and sell as much oil as they possibly can, even though they will never use it. All they are looking for is a quick and easy profit. The price goes up with each trade, sometimes trading 10 or 20 times before it is even used. In a nutshell ~ speculators manipulate oil prices at the expense of the consumer.

With all these scenarios having a hand in the rising cost of gas, it makes sense to turn to the fuel that is renewable, clean, and healthy for our economy – hemp fuel.

A crop of industrial hemp can be grown in approximately 90 days. Hemp has large amounts of cellulose, which is a main component for fuel processing. Hemp hurds are 77% cellulose, making hemp one of the BEST carbohydrate sources for biofuel.

“Studies have shown that hemp’s biomass can be converted into energy and could replace nuclear power and our current fossil fuels.[Belle, Mika] Just by farming 6 percent of the US’s acreage this could be achieved. “Hemp grown in biomass could fuel a trillion-dollar-per-year industry, while at the same time create more jobs, clean our air, and distribute wealth to our communities and away from centralized power monopolies.” Hemp’s biomass can be converted into gasoline, methanol, and methane at a fraction of the current cost of oil, coal, or nuclear energy.” (Voteindustrialhemp.com)

SIX PERCENT of our nation’s acreage could replace our current fossil fuel use.

If only that were our reality today.

Artists And Celebrities Turn To Biofuel


In an effort to lower their carbon footprint, artists and celebrities are utilizing sustainable fuels for their transportation. In other words, they are using biofuels.

Biofuels are derived from biomass, in this case, renewable plant matter such as corn, soy, peanuts, and hemp. Produced from vegetable oils, animal fats, or grease, biodiesel can be used in pure form or used as an additive to diesel to reduce carbon monoxide and hydrocarbon output.

Daryl Hannah is one of the first celebrities to have used biodiesel. She speaks out strongly in support of biodiesel options that reduce our dependence on foreign fossil fuels. Daryl has partnered with Annie Nelson (wife of Willie Nelson) and biodiesel pioneer Kelly King to create the Sustainable Biodiesel Alliance. The SBA’s mission is to address issues regarding sustainable biofuels in the USA, educating the public about the value of biodiesel and reducing dependence on foreign fuels.

Willie Nelson, when he is on the road, uses buses powered by biodiesel, and utilizes biodiesel in his personal vehicles as well. He is a major proponent of home-grown fuel alternatives. When Willie learned that the biodiesel industry was a huge benefit to farmers, he partnered with Earth Biofuels to market the biodiesel broadly.

Joining Daryl Hannah and Willie Nelson in promoting the benefits of biofuels, Julia Roberts, in 2006, partnered with Earth Biofuels, Inc. as a spokesperson and advisory board member. One of the projects was to work on a program advocating the utilization of biodiesel in the 500,000 school buses in use throughout the country.

A very recognizable voice (you’ve heard him on March Of The Penguins and The Long Way Home), Morgan Freeman has also lent his voice to the biofuel movement as a spokesperson for Earth Biofuels.

And who are other artists devoted to using sustainable biofuels? Pearl Jam, Nora Jones, Sheryl Crow – they utilize biofuels in their touring vehicles in an effort to reduce their carbon footprint.

The movement is growing. Artists are making their voices heard, and walking the talk, as they support a clean, sustainable fuel source that is healthier for our planet and our economy.