Thursday, February 7, 2013

Hemp Seed Oil for Bio-Diesel

Hemp Seed Oil for Bio-Diesel
Production of Oil
Grown for oilseed, Canadian grower's yields average 1 tonne/hectare, or about 400 lbs. per acre. Cannabis seed contains about 28% oil (112 lbs.), or about 15 gallons per acre. Production costs using these figures would be about $35 per gallon. Some varieties are reported[iv] to yield as much as 38% oil, and a record 2,000 lbs. per acre was recorded in 1999. At this rate, 760 lbs.of oil per acre would result in about 100 gallons of oil, with production costs totaling about $5.20 gallon. This oil could be used as-is in modified diesel engines, or be converted toBio-Diesel using a relatively simple, automated process. Several systems are under development worldwide designed to produce Bio-Diesel on a small scale, such as on farms using "homegrown" oil crops.
Production of Bio-Diesel
Basically methyl esters, or Bio-Diesel, as it is commonly called, can be made from any oil or fat, including hemp seed oil. The reaction requires only hemp seed oil, an alcohol (usually methanol) and a catalyst (usually sodium hydroxide [NaOH]). The reaction produces Bio-Diesel and a small amount of glycerol or glycerin.

The costs of materials needed for the reaction are the costs associated with production of hemp seed oil, the cost of methanol and the NaOH. In the instances where waste vegetable oil, or WVO, is used, the cost for oil is of course, free. Typically methanol costs about $2 per gallon and NaOH costs about $5 per 500g or about $0.01 per gram. For a typical 17 gallon batch of Bio-Diesel start with 14 gallons of hemp seed oil; add to that 15% by volume of alcohol (or 2.1 gallons) and about 500g of NaOH. The process takes about 2 hours to complete and requires about 2000 watts of energy. That works out to about 2kw/hr or about $0.10 of energy (assuming $0.05 per kw/hr). So the total cost per gallon of Bio-Diesel is $? (oil) + 2.1 x $2 (methanol) + $5 (NaOH) + $0.10 (energy) / 14 gallons = $0.66 per gallon, plus the cost of the oil.[v] Other costs may include sales, transportation, maintenance, depreciation, insurance and labor.

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