The discussion around environmental conservation has been going on for a long time. Alternative sources of fuel and energy have been proposed and many are already in use. The petrochemical industry is one where these discussions are the order of the day. It is no secret that petroleum products are hurting the environment in more ways than we can imagine.
Other than the environmental impact, the industry is also besieged by accidents within the production process. The aftermath of an accident at some of the petrochemical plants is often dire, with smoke and other effluents polluting the immediate environment and beyond.
Considering the risk associated with these incidents, it is important that alternatives are considered, alternatives that don’t cause any harm to the environment, or the individuals who earn their livelihoods from the production process.
While there is cause for finding alternative sources and doing away with petrochemicals, overcoming the dependency is easier said than done. One of the reasons for this is because the materials used are often versatile, making them a user favorite in many industries. A lot of industrial processes depend on these products and materials.
Over the years, scientists and other researchers have proposed many alternatives that can replace the petrochemicals. However, the problem with most of these alternatives, especially those that involve synthetic biological products, is that they are not very easy to commercialize. This is one of the challenges that have faced the alternative energy industry for years.
A Strong Case for Hemp
One product that seems to be going against the grain, however, is hemp. Hemp is recommended for several reasons. The fact that it is a naturally-occurring plant is one of these. In the growth process, hemp is not as resource intensive as many of the other crops in the categories where it has been proposed as an alternative.
It is important to note that in this discussion, we are not talking about marijuana, but industrial hemp. Since the 2018 Farm Bill which removed industrial hemp from the list of controlled substances, there have been many industries that have taken this as a green light to consider using hemp for their production processes.
Indeed, there are so many uses to which hemp can be put, including siding, flooring and drywall application in the construction industry. In recent developments, Porsche is working in using hemp to build the body of the 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport.
While there is so much use to which industrial hemp can be put, there are as many challenges impeding this development, especially for the petroleum industry. One such challenge is the inability to find the necessary equipment, facilities and people with the right knowledge. These challenges impede the growth and development process, making it difficult to commercialize hemp for such purposes.
There is also the argument about the supply chain. Hemp is a product that has been discussed in negative light for many years. Therefore, its credibility for commercialization comes under scrutiny, plus the fact that it is impossible to guarantee the crop delivered will perform as advertised.