Hemp is one hempsational plant that holds loads of potentials. It can help replace the magnitude of different products we use to date creating a sustainable option for construction and more for tomorrow. Hemp leaves the soil in better condition than before it’s grown. It also helps to purify and clean the air. A great example of the ability of this plant to remove toxins would be its use at the Chernobyl disaster site.
In 2018 Donald Trump signed the Farm Bill which legalized industrial hemp. This move opened new doors for research into a plant that many people know little about. Popular Science referred to hemp as “the next billion dollar crop” in the early 1930s before prohibition was in full swing.
The EPA is Funding Research
Today we see it can be so much more than that. The Environmental Protection Agency also understands this and warrants the need for more research. They granted a team of student-led researchers from the University of California-Riverside an estimated $12,000 grant. The grant was given to produce concrete evidence supporting hemp and its potential relevance as a renewable fiber for the construction industry.
More specifically researchers will be utilizing co-solvent enhanced lie lignocellulosic fractionation technology. Diluted sulfuric acid along with tetrahydrofuran will be used to process hemp stocks instead of the current process which the EPA says produces 7 tons of toxic waste per 1 ton of pulp extracted.
Hemp for a Better Tomorrow
Current methods employ sodium hydroxide, sodium sulfide, and hot water to separate hemp fibers. The byproduct of the new process being investigated by the EPA “would be a useful fermentable sugar solution.” Hemp is quite possibly the answer we’ve been looking for when it comes to sustainable resources to help build tomorrow. A foundation built on hempcrete is one that stands to grow stronger with time instead of crumbling and falling apart. This means what we build today can last for many more tomorrow’s to come.