Cannabis biomass is attracting interest as a potential source of renewable energy. Cannabis plants can be grown quickly and efficiently. Source for energy can be: fibrous stems, leaves and flowers. In addition, hemp biomass is carbon neutral. This means that its combustion or decomposition releases no more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere than the plant absorbed during its growth. This makes this plant an attractive option for sustainable energy production.
Cannabis biomass and anaerobic digestion
One of the most promising ways to generate energy from hemp biomass is anaerobic digestion. Anaerobic digestion involves the breakdown of biomass in the absence of oxygen to produce biogas. Then biogas is of electricity, heat and transport fuels production. Biogas typically consists of about 60% methane and 40% carbon dioxide and small amounts of other gases. Biogas can be used in Combined Heat and Power (CHP) systems to produce both heat and electricity. It can also be processed into biomethane, which can be used as a transport fuel.
There are several companies already using cannabis biomass to produce biogas. One of them is the Canadian company Terrapure Environmental. The company operates a biogas plant that converts cannabis waste into renewable natural gas. The plant processes hemp waste from licensed producers, extracting biogas and using it to power engines that generate electricity. The electricity is then a renewable energy source for homes and businesses.
Cannabis biomass – pyrolysis
Another way of producing energy from hemp biomass is pyrolysis. It is a process where biomass’ temperature heats up in the absence of oxygen to produce bio-oil, bio-char and syngas. Bio-oil can become a range of liquid biofuels, including biodiesel and renewable diesel. In contrast, biochar can become a soil additive to improve soil health and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Syngas can be burned to generate electricity or further refined into other fuels. There are companies currently developing hemp biomass pyrolysis technology, including Hemp Technology Inc. in the United States.
In addition to anaerobic digestion and pyrolysis, there are several other methods of producing energy from hemp biomass. These include incineration, gasification and hydrothermal liquefaction. Combustion involves the burning of biomass to produce heat and electricity. Gasification is the conversion of biomass into gas that can be burned to generate heat and electricity. Hydrothermal liquefaction involves heating biomass in the presence of water and a catalyst to produce liquid biofuel.
Several companies around the world are already producing energy from cannabis biomass. These include Canadian company Canopy Growth, which operates a biogas plant that converts cannabis waste into electricity. We can also find Australian company Ecofibre, which has developed a process for converting hemp biomass into renewable diesel. Other companies, such as Hempflax in the Netherlands and Aurora Cannabis in Canada, are exploring the potential for energy production from cannabis biomass.
Hemp biomass energy production is still at an early stage of development. Nevertheless, there is growing interest in the potential of this resource for sustainable energy production. With the development of the hemp industry, there will be more and more opportunities to produce energy from hemp biomass. However, it is important to prioritize sustainable production methods and ensure that production does not take place at the expense of environmental sustainability. Overall, hemp biomass has the potential to become a valuable source of renewable energy. It can play a significant role in the transition to a more sustainable energy future.