Saving my Europe

Making the Sahara blossom like a rose

The solution to the energy crisis, the food crisis, the economic crisis and the environmental crisis is a 4 letter word: "Hemp" We have plenty of deserts in the world of which we only need to cultivate one percent. This knol intends to debunk some of the imaginary factoids and shine new light on an old topic, a very-very-very old one.

Authors

Oil, coal, gas and other hydrocarbons are not chemical but biological products, based on plant matter. Our whole way of thinking about fuels needs to change, fuels can be grown.[1]
- Juan Enriquez TED talk

Prefetch

1.1) February 2009, EU Energy commissioner Andris Piebalgs confirmed he witnessed the large scale use of Ethanol in Brazil[2]

1.2) Ethanol can be produced on any location
1.3) Ethanol can be enriched with hydrogen[3]
1.4) Ethanol production can be combined with wood gas production
1.5) Alcohol prohibition prevented large scale use

2.1) Up to the early 1900's hemp was the world's most significant crop[4]
2.2) Hemp is the ideal source of wood and ethanol
2.3) Hemp can be produced on any location
2.4) Hemp can be grown on sand without fertilizers
2.5) Hemp prohibition prevented large scale use

3.1) October 2008, Piebalgs noted to be aware the Sahara is "The largest power plant in the world".[5] 
3.2) September 1929, Dwight Braman intended to "Make the Sahara blossom like a rose.[6]

4.1) Solar collectors are expensive
4.2) Solar electricity and solar heat transport is complicated
4.3) Solar is ideal for irrigation
4.4) Solar is ideal for desalination plants

Introduction

Michael Fred Phelps
won 14 Olympic gold medals
and holds seven world records.
If we want economic growth hemp is the answer. The European union investigated all kinds of renewable energy. They unified aid for development countries, the economic collapse and peek oil into a single subject. It looks like we need to do the right things rather than being greedy. But in the case of hemp we are far from greedy enough and we can do the right thing at the same time.

Not one of the other solutions is good enough to shift away from coal and oil. Hydro dynamic power, solar heating, solar electricity, wind mills and geothermal all offer viable solutions on a small scale applied locally but it doesn't fight up against large scale demand let alone growth.

George Washington, Thomas Jefferson,
James Madison, James Monroe,
Andrew Jackson, Zachary Taylor and
Franklin Pierce all smoked marijuana
 in the white house.
The bottom line is however that the member countries will have to adopt their plan while already suffering the recession. Funds wont be freed up fast enough, energy prices go up smoothly along with the price of resources while renewable energy is actually becoming cheaper by the day. If we don't implement it on a large scale soon we will go passed the point of no return.

Eugene Mallove
picture by Stephen Ganem
If we are going to survive this disaster we must care to understand historically thousands of entrepreneurs, businesses and even whole countries have been crushed by the military and media deployed by the petro-chemical lobby. Television is a business, it runs on advertisement. Tell a lie often enough and people will live it. We do have solutions to make unlimited energy for free however, anyone who dares to take such steps is not just up against the petro-chemical lobby but will also find the partisan hackery from the scientific community, government taxation schemes and even the renewable energy sector against him.

James Madison remarked that
smoking hemp gave him insight to
create a new & democratic nation.
As if this is not good enough a majority will also violently oppose those technologies because that is what living the lie is all about after all. Last but not least the syndrome of global military industrial complex holds such technologies are A) dangerous, B) well known and C) effort has gone towards keeping them classified for being dangerous.

Thomas Jefferson
imported Chinese hemp to America 
and is credited with the phrase:
"Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."
Because it is obvious you are not likely to believe free energy technology already exists even if there are 1000 individual inventors I've chosen this one solution and will attempt to show you how this was removed from your grasp and sight. Hemp! Hemp is the universal answer, it addressed the future pollution problem with economic growth in poor countries, the poverty problem, the food problem, the energy crisis, the resource crisis, the economic slump, the lack of omega-3 fatty acids and it will replace the petro-chemical industry almost overnight. The positive-negative advantage is in the absolute over dosage of propaganda against the solution.

Ethanol

90% of the alcohol was used in vehicles at the time alcohol prohibition was enforced by law makers. Henry Ford's dream was to grow automobiles from the soil. In 1941 he produced a car entirely made out of bioplastics that ran on either hemp Ethanol (alcohol) or petroleum.[7] In the US hemp at that time was managed by the Treasury department rather than the Food and Drugs Administration. 
There's enough alcohol in one year's yield of an acre of potatoes to drive the machinery necessary to cultivate the fields for one hundred years.[8]
- Henry Ford
When Henry Ford designed the Model T, it was his expectation that ethanol, made from renewable biological materials, would be a major automobile fuel.[7]


Bioethanol is produced from plants and is a renewable resource. This means that as much carbon dioxide is taken up by the growing plants as is produced when the bioethanol is burnt. Theoretically the net contribution to greenhousegas emissions (GHG) is thus zero.[9]
- BioEthanol for Sustainable Transport

Making ethanol

Pretreatment begins by reducing the biomass to pulp. The pulp is subjected to high pressure steam explosions at 210C. The hot pulp is immerged in a Sulferic Acid bath, a Sodium Hydroxide bath, cooled, baths and sprays of Hydrogen Peroxid, Hydrochloric Acid and Ammonia and a bath of Dimethyl Sulfoxide (DMSO) The pretreated pulp is subject to hydrolysis high pressure steam and hot water showers, sprays and baths. Cellulase, enzymes produced chiefly by fungi and bacteria is introduced. The pulp is placed in pools of water at 37C to 42C and exposed to fungi. Yeast ferments cellulose directly to ethanol or methanol. After fermenting for 14 to 20 days, the fermented solution is drained away from the pulp and moved to a distiller. The ethanol is then purified using a physical absorption process. Treatments are cost effective on large volumes, the water and chemicals are reclaimed and the pulp is composted or used for other purposes.[10]

Ethanol in Brazil

President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva
Over the past three decades Brazil has worked to create a viable alternative to gasoline. With its sugarcane-based fuel, the nation may become energy independent this year. Brazil’s ethanol program, which originated in the 1970s in response to the uncertainties of the oil market, has enjoyed intermittent success. Still, many Brazilians are driving “flexible fuel” cars that run on either ethanol or gasoline.[11]

February 2009, EU Energy commissioner Andris Piebalgs confirmed he witnessed the large scale use of Ethanol in Brazil[2]

Hydrogen fuel enhancement

Dongfeng Motor Corporation, is developing a new technology for existing engines that converts hydrous ethanol containing only 65 percent ethanol, into a combustible gas mainly composed of hydrogen. This fuel utilization pathway could save up to 60 percent in energy compared with utilizing anhydrous ethanol.[3]

Woodgas

Various gases can be made from wood or biomass by means of pyrolysis and gasification. Starting in 1800 initially used for city and home lighting, then for cooking and power generation and eventually for internal combustion engines around 1880. In 1930, when welded pipelines brought natural gas from oil wells to our houses.[12]

Combining ethanol with wood gas production

The combination of biomass gasification and thermal oxidation provides not only a unique solution for environmental compliance, but displaces the entire fossil fuel requirement for the ethanol plant. At present, the USDA estimates the overall energy ratio of ethanol production to be 1.34 units of energy output in the form of ethanol for every unit of energy input in the form of fossil fuels. Using biomass as the primary energy source, this project is expected to increase that ratio to 3.15, thus making ethanol production a clearly beneficial energy source. The process arrangement will ensure an extremely clean exhaust capable of meeting any emissions guideline, and eliminates fossil fuel from ethanol manufacturing.[13]

Combining wood gas production with Biochar

Biochar (a charcoal) is highly valuable and highly potent fertilizer that can be made from any organic waste either agricultural or animal; woodchips, corn husks, peanut shells, chicken manure etc. The biochar is made during wood gas production. The trick is to not entirely burn up the wood but gassify it only partially.[14]

Hemp

One of the first color photographs
taken in 1910
Hemp is not the alternative, it is what people have been using for 12 000 years to stay alive on this planet. The very means for survival have been outlawed without any legal reason to.

Hemp replenishes the soil and besides wood gasification and Ethanol (alcohol) it has 25 000 other applications ranging from food and textile to plastics, insulation and concrete. Hemp oil for example is much to valuable to the food industry to use it for fuel.

European agriculture is pushed to it's limits but the fallow period in crop rotation still provides an ideal window to additionally grow hemp. In actuality, hemp replenishes the soil faster than leaving the fields to rest. Likewise it will effectively turn the deserts into fertile lands.
  ....Their proposal will lead to further severe inequality between the two fibers and there is now a great risk that we could lose this valuable crop and its associated rural Industries..[8]
- European Industrial Hemp Association (EIHA)

Applications

    Ethanol
    Oxygen
    Wood chips
    Super strong bioplastics[7]
    Super strong concrete[15]
    Super insulation
    Super food source[16] 
      omega-3 fatty acids, omega-6 fatty acids, omega-9 fatty acids, protein, amino acid, calcium, iron, phosphorus, magnesium, zinc, copper, manganese
    Super strong textile[17]
    Paper [18]
    Soil rejuvenator
    Fertilizer[14]
    Medical application[19][20]

The war on common sense

to the early 1900's hemp was the world's most significant crop[4] In the days of Alcohol prohibition 90% of the alcohol was used for motor vehicles. The current laws against Hemp are absolutely of this same nature. To serve and protect the oil plutocracy. The flax subsidy needs to be abolished. Farmers do not benefit from this in any way. Currently we cant even see how much hemp can be produced inside the EU.

We can feed the entire world
We can make bio fuel for the entire world
We can make cheep construction materials on-site
We can make thosands of other products from hemp

20% renewable by 2020 can be accomplished easily and this plan offers an answer to the next 20%. One should understand expansion possibilities are virtually limitless and upscaling makes the process more efficient providing construction materials on-site, reclaiming more of the chemicals and allowing for faster repairs.

The Sahara

Hemp can be produced on any location and we already have some hemp production in the EU but it's not the volume we need. We are producing insignificant amounts of it. I strongly suggest we fill up the Sahara with it. 

This can even be done without drivers.  The land (read:  'sand') can be used without crop rotation and without fertilizers.

Un-arable land required

In 2006, the United States consumed 500 Billion Liters of gasoline. To replace the same energy requirement, 750 Billion Liters of ethanol would have to be produced, which would require 25 000 km² of croplands dedicated to Hemp cultivation.[10]

Sahara: 9 000 000 km²[21]

Hemp required to elaborately biofuel our world: 120 000 km²[10][22]

This is of course a wild estimate assuming the US petroleum consumption takes up roughly 1/5 of the world energy needs. Europe would need less than half of the US crude to power it's vehicles [12 000 km²]:
United States:  
20 680 000 bbl/day [23]
China:
7 578 000 bbl/day [23]
Japan:
5 007 000 bbl/day [23]
Russia:
2 858 000 bbl/day [23]
Current EU renewable energy targets are a mere 20% [2400 km²] by the year 2020, this would require gradual expansion of the farm over 11 years [219 km²] with 2010 as the first deadline.

John Deere DB120 planter
100 acre (0.4km²) per hour
If we farm 2% of the Sahara the whole world also has food, at 3% we have enough bioplastics, paper, clothing, carbon credits etc. Everything! 

The European food exports take up 6 places in the top 10 food exporting countries, only the US exports more but it is less than The Netherlands and France combined. Europe exports more food than any other continent.[24] But we ran out of room, the Sahara is bigger than Europe and no one can afford to use it. If China, Russia or America would start a huge industrial complex there we would perhaps even look at it as if an act of war.

Laayoune Plage, one long road with
two big oil tankers in the port[25][22]
The Western Sahara[22][25] seems an ideal place for such effort. the place is one big void, we tried talking with the natives but could never quite find an agreement on who owns the place back then. Today, the new Union for the Mediterranean is interested in this kind of cooperation.[26]

High voltage transmission lines

Satellite-based studies by the German Aerospace Center (DLR) have shown that, by using less than 0.3% of the entire desert area of the MENA region, enough electricity and desalinated seawater can be produced to meet the growing needs of these countries and of Europe. Power generation from wind energy is particularly attractive in Morocco and in areas around the Red Sea. Solar and wind power can be transmitted throughout the region via High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) transmission lines, and to Europe with transmission losses up to 15%.[26]

Solar

Solar provides the ideal tool for irrigation and destilation processes. This requires a very small number of solar instalations compared to that what we would need to power entire Europe.  Ethanol is very easy to transport in contrast with hydrogen. We can even power our coal plants with wood pulp. The sun is the limit.

Solar energy in it self makes a good calibration point for energy farming. It is rather expensive per unit of energy but in the Shara it is hardly space consuming.  Thermal and voltaic solar present an ideal solid state technology to power the various farming facilities required.

Desalination

Many large scale desalination projects exist, they range from solar distillation to nanotech based filters, Canadian company Xogen has developed a way to distill drinking water fast and cheaply using electricity.




Irrigation

In stead of conventional sprinkler systems a drip system can be used to prevent excessive evaporation and targeted application of expensive water.
 

Futurism

The aspect of economic growth is also important. Eventually the need will arise to turn the wood, fiber, seed and biomass into a variety of other products on location We could even invite America or China to help if we don't have what it takes. Our global energy problem is only just beginning and from the solutions perspective the future is only just the beginning. When emerging economies are going to consume like we do then we really are .... The hemp farming solution would effectively turn our problems into opportunity. We can supply the whole world with food and power and unlike free hydrogen it is simple and we can directly profit from it. The sky is the limit. The economic interests who are currently holding us back should wake up to the reality of earning big money from big projects.

The recession is fake, Hemp was criminalized to amplify the previous recession. Other shoes do not fit. They fill peoples heads with sheer fantasy propaganda - the stuff use to grow all over the globe and we use to make absolutely everything from it. It is insanity to use resources to lock up innocent people while the ocean is empty and humans need omega fatty acids, resources, energy and food. There is nothing normal about this behavior. Everything we need was already provided by mother nature.

Life without oxygen

If it's not suffocating don't fix it
The main argument has to be the Oxygen production. You see, without oxygen you are gong to die. Hard to imagine? I think not. It's a slow death you wont notice, slowly you cant think anymore then the inevitable will happen. If you still don't understand why growing hemp in the Sahara is a good idea that would be a perfect example of not-thinking.

This is not some joke, oxygen bars appear all over the world. It's the future we are currently heading for.

There are 21 000 news articles for "oxygen bar"[27]

I think you get the idea, if we keep going on acting 100% ignorant and 100% irresponsible about the environment we are all going to die. Not maybe but 100% guaranteed. Nature provides everything we need and against popular propaganda she has infinite resources. The concentration campf style persecution of innocent smokers on the other hand is in it self harmful to our wallet, it defies humane behavior. Then it is also potentially fatal - not just economically.

References

  1. Technology, Entertainment, Design [TED] - Juan Enriquez - 2007
    Why can't we grow new energy?
  2. European Commission - Commissioner Andris Piebalgs - February 20, 2009
    A sweet way to reduce CO2 emissions
  3. Biopact, a Brussels-based connective of European and African citizens who strive towards the establishment of a mutually beneficial 'energy relationship' based on biofuels and bioenergy - 2008
    Biopact.com
  4. Teagasc Agriculture and Food Development - 2001
    The Performance Of Cannabis Sativa (HEMP) As A Fibre Source For Medium Density Fibre Board (MDF)
  5. European Commission - Commissioner Andris Piebalgs - October 24, 2008
    The largest power plant in the world
  6. modernmechanix - September 1929
    Postpone Irrigation of Sahara
  7. Hemp plastic
    About Henry Ford's Car
  8. EUROPEAN INDUSTRIAL HEMP ASSOCIATION (EIHA)
    Regarding the draft proposal for the flax and hemp fibre processing aid scheme and the guidelines for rural development (modulation) of the European Commission
  9. BEST - BioEthanol for Sustainable Transport - The project Bioethanol for Sustainable Transport deals with the introduction and market penetration of bioethanol as a vehicle fuel, and the introduction and wider use of flexible fuel vehicles and ethanol cars on the market.
    Environment
  10. Kimball Christensen and Andrew Smith - University of Warsington - Department of Biology - 2008
    The Case for Hemp as a Biofuel2008 [pdf]
  11. YaleGlobal, the Yale Center for the Study of Globalization - 2006
    As Brazil Fills Up on Ethanol, It Weans Off Energy Imports
  12. woodgas.com
    Wood gas history
  13. Primenergy, L.L.C. Oklahoma - 2006
    Case Study: Wood Waste Gasification & Thermal Oxidation - Project Location: Little Falls, Minnesota
  14. CNN - 2009
    Can 'biochar' save the planet?
  15. Madame France Perrier builds about 300 houses per year out of hemp in France. Years ago she researched ways to petrify vegetable matter.
    Isochanvre
  16. Yorkshire Hemp Limited
    Hemp Food Nutrition
  17. Hemp museum
    Hemp textile
  18. Happy Planet
    Hemp paper
  19. My name is Rick Simpson. I have been providing people with Hemp Oil medicines, at no cost, for about 3 years. The results have been nothing short of amazing.
    Rick Simpson's New Website
  20. Story After a serious head injury in 1997, Rick Simpson sought relief from his medical condition through the use of medicinal hemp oil. When Rick discovered that the hemp oil (with its high concentration of T.H.C.) cured cancers and other illnesses, he tried to share it with as many people as he could free of charge. When the story went public, the long arm of the law snatched the medicine.
    "Run From The Cure" The Rick Simpson Story
  21. geology.com
    The World's largest desert
  22. Google custom maps
    Western Sahara with pins
  23. NationMaster
    Oil Consumption by country
  24. Maps of World.com - 2006
    Top 10 agricultural exporting countries
  25. CIA - world factbook - 2009
    African Sahara
  26. The DESERTEC Foundation
    technologies
  27. Google News - Archive search
    12000 results for "Oxygen bar"
  28. Carl Sagan
    The cosmos

Comments

Soya

Ethanol is being extracted from soya by a certain advance country, even at the expense (higher price) of food. Strangely, the people so concerned with oil palm plantations have nothing to say about this crop that leaves the soil almost completely exposed.

M George - Jul 6, 2010

I have also addressed some of this in my knols. The pseudosciences of economics and psycology represent great dangers. The former is destroying our only planet. The latter shuts up dissidents and creates good little slaves.

The large sources of fuel/energy that are being neglected deliberately are
(a) human and livestock sewage
(b) grass - something you can grow on many surfaces to also cool and insulate them
(c) waste - paper, plastic and food.

The oil companies say they are doing research into this, but are likely to stall. As a comparison, you can see the mixed statements and dragging of feet on the matter of full electric cars (Not that I favour private vehicles, this is just to illustrate). You have to rethink
(a) fuelling stations
(b) lighter vehicles
(c) safer (maybe segregated) lanes.

M George - Jul 6, 2010

There are many great crops not being used, the kind depends on the location. Some can grow on salt water for example.

In contrast there are a lot of really bad crops being used. It seems the choice depends entirely on the political influence the type of farmer has. In other words, we are using crops for bio fuels that as a rule are always more suitable for something else because those are the industries that have such financial influence. I don't know the details but surly soya can not be an exception in this.

Location and crop comparison is irrelevant in this kind of decision making process. On paper many farmers would love to grow something more profitable but in front of the microphone they all talk rubbish because they have to live up to the expectations from those who do not have a clue about the entire subject.

I wrote the above so that we may start expecting something else.

It should be punishable by law to push any ancient technology out of the market by political means.

It is easy for everyone to see there are no scientific facts to back the war on drugs dogma. For example, telling the US corn industry they will go in the drugs business is pure defamation.

Anyone can understand the stepping stone theory is like saying people go from breast milk to whiskey, to then blame the breast feeding is not very scientific.

People use drugs because this irrational corporate control freakish society drove them over the edge, not the other way around. Prozac, Valium, sleeping pills etc etc

Diagnosis of insanity based on verbal agreement makes another great example of pseudoscience, specially when it comes from a petrochemist.

Anyone can see this so we should simply expect something else now :-)

People go from killing germs with bath soap to pumping billions of gallons of oil into the ocean and killing everything. If a tanker full of ethanol would end up in the environment we couldn't even speak of a natural disaster.

Anyone can see this energy crisis is a pure nonsense story. The holes in it can not be plugged.

gaby de wilde - Jun 27, 2010