Ecological cars based on hemp fiber, automotive revolution

Written by: Diosa Diaz Sierra

The industry of medical cannabis has had quite considerable growth during the last years. But what has happened to other sectors of the economy that have tried to enter this industry? What advances have been done with hemp -fiber based products?

We know that cannabis has been researched and used for many years; therefore, cannabis fiber could be considered a perfect and ecological base to make resistant and friendly cars with the environment.

Let's look at the advances that the automotive sector has had throughout history with respect to the plant.

Henry Ford, in 1941, created a prototype vehicle with bioplastic bodywork using hemp fiber, making this innovation a sustainable model and more resistant than steel or fiberglass, known as Hemp Car or 'The Cannabis Car', although it is officially called Soybean Car. This vehicle was presented in the Dearborn Day of the same year.

Its manufacture: made of hemp, soybean, flaxstraw, ramie (a vegetable fiber used in Egypt and other countries in the Middle East for millennia), stuck by a cellulose resin extracted from soybeans, propelled by hemp fuel, made from agricultural waste. The idea for the material used in its manufacture came from the chemist George Washington Carver, with the help of the Soybean Institute and, above all, the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama, United States.

What happened next? The project was stopped with the entry of World War II into the United States and before it was finished it is said that the head of design at Ford gave the order to destroy the only prototype.

Passed 70 years approximately, Bruce Dietzen spent five years researching and inspired by Henry Ford decided to create his own vehicle, a sport one with cannabis in the body, but also for the seats and other elements, made with fiber of extracted hemp of the Cannabis sativa. The result was a lighter car, which would reduce the CO2 emissions by 23%, a considerable reduction and to drive it pollutes 75% less than an electrical car.

Dietzen, a retired Dell computer salesman, completed the car in his garage using the chassis of a Mazda, Dietzen built the sleek red Cannabis Car using about 100 pounds of imported Chinese hemp. The woody material inside the hemp stem is combined with a resin to form a super-strong plastic that is then molded into the shape of the car's body.

Dietzen created the company Renew Sports Cars, allowing him to manufacture these vehicles at the request of individuals and companies who wish to bet on "ecological sources of energy generation".

In 2015 the concept of the Torq was presented, a sustainable vehicle designed by Excellent Design, of Davide Pizzorno. 75% of its structure is made of cannabis fiber and its engine runs on hydrogen, E85 or distilled hemp. This vehicle has several details that are innovative, such as its head: it is made of a ceramic material, which means that it does not need oil for lubrication.

The cannabis fiber is worked like carbon fiber: a fabric is achieved that solidifies just like this. The Torq postulates itself as an ecological car because it uses natural materials for both the structure and the body, as well as fuel.

Currently, component manufacturers such as the French Faurecia use tons of a variation of this plant, known as hemp, to extract the fiber and produce biomaterials.

Among the benefits of using biomaterials in cars is that they reduce the weight of the components, which saves fuel.

There are many countries where the plant is not legalized so it is impossible to mass produce these vehicles to export to countries. Due to these the production costs per order are between 40,000 dollars approximately, without adding the requirements of the client.

This is only one of the edges of the cannabis industry that proves necessary that it is legalized in all the countries, to get the most of this wonderful plant that every time seems to surprise us more and more.

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