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Since the rediscovery of the agricultural crop hemp and its high-grade raw materials fibres, shives and seeds/oil, it has often been discussed if hemp oil could also be used as fuel.
At present, high-grade hemp seeds and the hemp oil produced from these, having an unusu- ally high share of polyunsaturated fatty acids (75-80%), are mainly used in the food and skin care sector and additionally as animal feed for birds and fish. Hemp oil, produced in compara- tively small amounts, has difficulties establishing in other sectors (hemp oil in food-grade quality costs about 7 €/l).
Nevertheless, the question raised by the study “Examination of hemp oil with regard to its suitability as fuel for engines adapted to pure plant oil use” does make sense, namely for the following reasons:
The quality requirements towards oils for food and skin care products are very high and cannot be met by all batches. Therefore the use as fuel could be an interesting op- tion for inferior batches.
At present, there are plans to cultivate hemp on large areas, e.g. 15.000 ha for the chipboard industry. If seeds were also produced here by means of coupled use, the amounts accumulated would be difficult to place in current market segments, and al- ternative applications would be desirable.
The behaviour of the prevailing rapeseed oil fuel at low temperatures might be im- proved by hemp oil admixtures.
So far, there isn’t any scientific study worldwide that has examined hemp oil with re- gard to its technical and economic applicability as pure plant oil fuel.