The first 100% hemp plane is a total success

Published Nov 5, 2019 10:00 a.m. ET
iStock / Antonistock

Hemp is a pretty fantastic plant that can be processed into so many different useful materials that it is difficult to list them all. Hemp seeds are pressed into delightful cooking oils and hemp oils and combined with foods for a boost in nutrients and supplements. While these health-focused products might be trending, you’d be amazed at how many industrial materials can also be created from simple hemp fibers.

Concrete slabs, bricks, biodegradable plastics, and fuel are just a few of the things that we use hemp for right now, but the future of the industry is expected to expand exponentially as large scale investors like LEGO get on board with making the switch to this more sustainable and environmentally friendly option. We have the technology, but unfortunately, there are just so few companies that are willing to consider this temporarily more expensive option until it hits the mainstream and becomes more affordable.

Hempearth makes the first hemp fueled plane

Hempearth is a Canadian based farm that cultivates hemp plants, and to help get industry specialists involved and interested, they took on the incredible challenge of creating the world’s very first 100% hemp plane. The plane has a wingspan at just over 38 feet made entirely of hemp, hemp walls, hemp pillows, hemp seats, and it even runs off 100% pure hemp oil. It can hold up to 36 passengers, 4 flight crew, and one pilot which is a relatively large undertaking when you consider the fact that it’s the very first of its kind.

Why use hemp to build a plane?

Some people think of hemp as a fragile plant that wouldn’t make the best material choice for something that needs to hold thousands of pound up in the air, but the truth is that hemp fibers can be processed into a solid that is up to 10 times stronger than the steel that is in most standard airplanes today. That is why it is made into rope and other building materials, as it is tougher and lasts longer than other less environmentally friendly or sustainable options.

Not only is it stronger, but to make the materials is a simpler task that is much easier for the environment. Steel is not a renewable resource and processing metals into moldable materials to create things like airplanes creates thousands of tons of pollution each and every year, but hemp plants can work to clean the soils that they are planted in and ultimately results in an immeasurably small carbon footprint when compared to other popular alternatives.

Running on hemp oil

Hemp oil is an incredibly powerful fuel alternative, which is why this plane is able to claim no environmental impact, as burning hemp fuel is no worse for the air or water than spraying a harmless mist of water. Not only is it a cleaner option, but it is also a more efficient one, as mileage with hemp oil is comparable to regular fuel without the addition of harmful chemicals and agents that eventually make it into the atmosphere.

While all of these benefits are spectacular you haven't heard the best part yet which is that unlike traditional fuels, hemp oil is safer, requires less money to make, and will never run out as long as we continue to encourage farmers to cultivate hemp crops large enough to meet the need. Hemp has provided humans with materials for thousands of years, and it’s amazing to see that the societal shift towards an acceptance of cannabis has borne brand new technology that can help us to improve the world that we live in, while keeping it clean for future generations to enjoy.

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