We do not know of any coal-fired power plant in the world that has a sustainable, locally-sourced system to cofire with hemp

Submitted by Norm Roulet on Sun, 04/10/2011 - 04:32.

Potential Biomass Energy Distribution among Ohio Counties (in Billions Btu's)

I imagine the fuel purchasing administrator at Dayton Power and Light (DP&L) thought he was the target of a Tea Party April Fool's joke when he received an email first thing April 1, 2011, suggesting his Century-old, investor-owned, Ohio utility may lead an historic Constitution-oriented new American Revolution against taxation of his enterprise without honest scientific representation.

This email proposed DP&L may lead American farmers, together with the industrial energy complex, to overthrow economically oppressive, corrupted U.S. Federal energy policies and environmental injustice in the world... to challenge ineffective, out-of-date U.S. government bureaucracy and regulations from the remote "Beltway" that obstruct main-street American energy resource development and innovation by American energy companies and entrepreneurs, in America's Heartland.

This was an invitation for DP&L to fight the "madness" of politicians in Washington D.C., and their "Czars", who are driving scarce America dollars for scarce energy resources over-seas by obstructing development of new energy resources AND NEW GREEN JOBS in America.

This was a proposal for DP&L to help improve the performance and bottom-line of the electric utility sector world-wide, making that more environmentally-friendly, by continuing to burn American coal in America better, by demonstrating the power of cofiring hemp biomass with coal in America.

Hargrove Engineering, of Cincinnati, Ohio, proposes DP&L burn 1,000,000s of tons of Ohio-grown hemp - the THC-free industrial variety of cannabis - grown and produced in Ohio, to reduce the pollution caused by burning coal in Ohio - this is called cofiring coal with biomass - this being the first such proposal to cofire coal and hemp biomass in a sustainable, systematic, local way in the world, that we know of in history.... and that is no laughing matter.

The United Cannabis Exchange (UCANX) is pleased to confirm Hargrove Engineering, of Cincinnati, Ohio, has proposed to develop renewable, locally-source hemp biomass fuel in Ohio, USA, for DP&L to cofire with American coal at the O. H. Hutching Dayton Power and Light coal plant, located between Dayton and Cincinnati, Ohio. From the Hargrove proposal to DP&L, excluding confidential terms of service:

In response to the March 3, 2011, Dayton Power and Light Company Request for Proposals for Biofuel Supply - Biofuel Proposal Requisition #DPLRFP-2011  - Hargrove Engineering. LLC, a 25-year-young, Cincinnati-based, service disabled veteran owned small business [SDVOSB] and minority business enterprise [MBE] architecture and engineering firm, with extensive experience designing and building complex energy solutions, proposes Dayton Power and Light (DP&L) begin your second century of service excellence as a global innovator and world-leader with renewable energy for power generation by cofiring the O. H. Hutching station with fuel products manufactured in Ohio from renewable biomass including hemp.

We do not know of any coal-fired power plant in the United States, or the world, that has a sustainable, locally-sourced system for cofiring coal with hemp biomass, although science, economics, and demonstration projects with hemp used for energy development support the use of hemp as biomass for cofiring with coal, as DP&L specifies. The greatest obstacles are legal barriers to growing hemp in the United States, which are being addressed in many ways today, and the resulting limited current global supply of hemp, which is routed into "higher value" uses like seed for food.

Recent demonstration projects referenced herein show pellet made from just hemp stalk has a high energy content, at 7,890 Btu per pound.

For test and demonstration purposes, our proposal to DP&L is to legally import hemp straw from Canada, where growing hemp is a legal and booming industry. The straw has been sourced and is immediately available. The greatest cost and environmental burden of this demonstration project will be transportation of the hemp bales from Canada to Dayton, Ohio, where it will be processed as fuel for DP&L.

Hargrove Engineering shall establish facilities for processing, transport and testing of the hemp fuel product for DP&L, as specified in Attachment 1.

The project cost also funds planning and delivery of specifications for a Phase 2 hemp biofuels delivery system we expect to be cost-competitive with other sources of biofuels, while being sustainable and locally sourced, creating significant job growth in the DP&L service territory. Planning a renewable hemp biofuels system for DP&L now, to establish operational standards in Phase I, with plans for Phase II licensing to grow hemp in Ohio for DP&L in the near future, shall position DP&L to be first in the world with energy from hemp today, and tomorrow.

With DP&L, tomorrow starts today - Dayton Power and Light

It is Hargrove Engineering's expectation hemp will prove to be a cost-effective, ecologically-ideal biomass for the O.H. Hutching Station, and we look forward to the opportunity to prove that with DP&L, as proposed herein.

While the drafts of the United States Constitution were written on hemp paper, it is currently illegal to grow hemp in the United States. That will soon change, as a result of industrial demand from significant American industrial and energy customers like DP&L, that need hemp biomass to meet their renewable energy requirements, as mandated by state and Federal government.

As a feedstock for advanced materials, hemp may make cars lighter, and hemp may make liquid biofuels that are sustainable to power them as well, helping America meet mobile pollution reduction standards.

I've previously reported on realNEO that hemp is arguably the best source of biomass on Earth, and is being legally grown in Canada and worldwide as an environmentally-friendly feedstock for many industrial applications, including energy. Of particular interest in Ohio, where there is excessive pollution from burning coal, is cofiring coal with biomass like from hemp to reduce particulate and ozone pollution in the region, and Green House Gas emissions in general.

However, American industry is just ramping up their understanding of biomass and the value of hemp as an industrial feedstock. As hemp remains illegal to grow in America, it is not economically viable as a solid biomass energy feedstock for cofiring in US coal plants, or for use in most industrial applications in America, today.

Across the border, in Canada, the Lafarge Bath Cement plant is working on methods of reducing their harmful emissions and their reliance on fossil fuels by cofiring hemp biomass with coal, and see strong potential...: “ Just making sure it’s a viable alternative to coal"... " noting that if suddenly Lafarge decides hemp is the way to go, tens of thousands of acres will be needed to supply the demand."

According to the projections for the Lafarge conversion, they are finding in Canada hemp may grow 5 tons of biomass per harvest per acre, requiring 200,000 acres harvested per year to produce 1 million tons of hemp biomass per year.

Ohio has about 14 million acres of farmland, so 1 million tons of biomass requires just 1.4% of available farmland... and hemp is an excellent rotation crop that improves the health of soil, and grows where many other crops may not - so farmland need not be turned-over to hemp and land need not be dedicated to hemp-only forever... the hemp growth may be cycled through a broader, larger ecosystem.

So, a reasonable expectation, within 10 years, is Ohio will produce 10s millions of tons of hemp biomass, grown on Ohio farms and processed in Ohio plants by Ohioans, worth $10s billions to our economy, and removing millions of pounds of pollution from the air we breathe.

Hemp biomass fuel is not all Ohioans will make from hemp - over 25,000 products may be made from hemp, including liquid biofuel. But, it is urgent Ohio have renewable sources of solid biomass to cofire with coal, now, and hemp seems the best source for that.

From the Executive Summary of CHARTING THE MIDWEST - An Inventory and Analysis of Greenhouse Gas Emissions in America’s Heartland, from October, 2007: "With total GHG emissions of 299 million metric tons of CO2e, Ohio is the largest emitting state in the Midwest and fourth largest nationally. This is principally due to the size of Ohio’s population and economy, and its reliance on coal-fired electricity production."

So, Ohio and the Midwest truly need to reduce GHG emissions by cofiring coal with other biomass - no joke.


Biomass may be cofired with coal in traditional coal furnaces to reduce harmful particulate pollution and GHG emissions from power generation. Burn 10% biomass with 90% coal, and you reduce the excessive harm from burning coal by 10%.

Growing hemp absorbs current CO2, so burning hemp releases that recently-captured CO2, with fewer other harmful emissions than coal - everything about mining and burning coal releases ancient CO2 and other toxic fumes into the environment.

Farming and processing hemp will also create new, green-economy jobs in Ohio - 1,000s of new jobs in Ohio - above and beyond reasonable baseline fossil energy jobs that are certainly not going away... China will buy any coal we may not burn here, at least for their foreseeable future.

Hemp also produces seeds (and oil), fiber, and a range of compounds used for human nutrition, healthcare and industry, making it arguable the most valuable and useful plant growing on Earth.

All that and more is exactly why UCANX and Hargrove propose to develop hemp as a renewable fuel resource for DP&L - with industrial hemp grown and processed in the DP&L service territory, by 1,000s of Ohioans.

As Ohio is excessively polluting and polluted, the Ohio legislature has established guidelines for utility companies to reduce their emissions by changing how they produce power, beyond depending on burning dirty coal. Biomass is part of the solution-set that will make it possible for Ohio utility companies to meet the Ohio Public Utilities Commission’s Renewable and Advanced Energy Portfolio Standard to reduce harmful pollution and greenhouse gasses emitted from burning coal in Ohio:

Ohio law (Revised Code Section 4928.64) requires electric distribution utilities and electric services companies to secure a portion of their electricity supplies from alternative energy resources.  By the year 2025, 25 percent of the electricity sold by each utility or electric services company within Ohio must be generated from alternative energy sources. At least 12.5 percent must be generated from renewable energy resources, including wind, hydro, biomass and at least 0.5 percent solar. The remainder can be generated from advanced energy resources, including nuclear, clean coal and certain types of fuel cells. In addition, at least one half of the renewable energy used must be generated at facilities located in Ohio. All companies must meet annual renewable and solar energy benchmarks that increase as a percentage of electric supply each year.

Biomass may come from many sources... from forests to farms growing hemp. As I previously reported on realNEO: "Recent studies illustrate that Ohio as a relatively large biomass resource potential.  Among the 50 states, Ohio ranks 11th in terms of herbaceous and wood biomass and 4th in terms of food waste biomass.  As a result, using renewable biomass fuels in Ohio could lead to an estimated 27.6 billion in kWh of electricity, which is enough to fully support the annual needs of 2,758,000 average homes, or 64% of the residential electricity use in Ohio." There, I observe: "It can be concluded that when done in a way accounting for competing uses, biomass feedstock can offset petroleum fossil CO2, and reduce Ohio’s dependence on petroleum".

To make an impact on coal fired emissions in Ohio, by cofiring with hemp biomass, would require developing 100,000s - rapidly 1,000,000s - of acres of Ohio farmland for hemp rotation cultivation. Ohio has 13,956,563 acres of farmland (California has about 28 million acres), much of which may be planted with rotations of hemp crops, improving the soil, providing Ohio farmers new sources of revenues, and creating new jobs.

Developing hemp as a new, renewable sources of biomass in Ohio will save Ohio forests (Ohio has 7.9 million acres of forests) from devastation, by preventing their harvesting for wood biomass, and hemp farming will reduce allocation of food crop land for other less productive "energy crops", to meet government-mandated renewable energy requirments.

Census of Agriculture - Ohio

Go to Census of Agriculture Web site
1997 2002 2007
Farms 78,737 77,797 75,861
Land in farms (acres) 14,738,028 14,583,435 13,956,563
Total land area (acres) - 26,206,957 26,149,825
Full-time operators 33,210 43,488 32,676
Part-time operators 45,527 34,309 43,185
Percentage of operators 55 and older - 46 52
Land managed by operators 55 and older (acres) - 6,698,408 7,432,845
Market value of agricultural products sold ($1,000) 4,744,521 4,263,549 7,070,212
   Percentage from crop production 61 54 58
   Percentage from livestock production 39 46 42

The knowledge and initiative to make this conversion to hemp biomass possible is already coordinated within the hemp industries, through UCANX, as demonstrated by this proposal to DP&L to cofire one of their plants with hemp, to start a new energy revolution in America.

From the Hargrove proposal to DP&L, I'll close with many more reasons why:

"If a utility wants to generate electricity from a renewable resource, it should look at coburning that resource with coal, in an existing plant, as opposed to building a new plant that generates power entirely from biomass."
Biomass Power and Thermal Magazine - Densified Biomass for Cofired Energy Generation 

In Massachusetts, a developer sourced the hemp he used for product evaluation from Canada where the crop is legally grown. Jim Pillsbury of Framingham, Mass., is developing hemp for heating pellets. In 2007, Pillsbury had a Canadian prototype biomass research facility, ViFam Pro Services of Kirkland, Quebec, test hemp leaf biomass for heating pellets which were then analyzed at the Twin Ports Testing Labs in Superior, Wis.

This past year, the tests were repeated using hemp biomass, stalk and leaf. Two pellet samples were evaluated - one comprised of a composition of half leaf and half stalk, the other pellet was made with 100 percent stalk. Pillsbury said the mixed pellets performed similar to the first round of tests done the previous year. The hemp pellets have a heat content similar to wood pellets at 7,247 British thermal units per pound with a 19 percent ash content. The pellet made from just hemp stalk had a higher energy content and lower ash content at 7,890 Btu per pound and nine percent ash content. Pillsbury added, in both cases the hemp fiber used in textiles and paper production had been removed, and the remaining biomass pelletized. ViFam is currently doing a cost analysis for developing a unit that would separate and pelletize hemp on the farm.

Pillsbury predicts President-elect's Barack Obama's administration will lift the ban on growing hemp in the United States, and pointed out that it's being grown in many other countries. "The new administration has a solid commitment to bring new and old ideas to the table for renewable energy," he said. Industrial hemp is an ideal bioenergy, Pillsbury said, citing figures from Canada that show straw yields of 6 tons per hectare (2.47 acres) and 1.5 tons of fiber, in addition to 200 liters (50 gallons) of oil pressed from the seed.

Biomass Power and Thermal Magazine - U.S. industrial hemp development continues - November 2008

If we all worked on the assumption that what is accepted as true is really true, there would be little hope of advance. 

Isn't it astonishing that all these secrets have been preserved for so many years just so we could discover them!
Orville Wright


Ohio is one of the most energy-dependent states in America. Our state imports 89 percent of its natural gas, 61 percent of its coal, and 97 percent of its oil and petroleum. Each year, Ohio sends billions of dollars out of state to support our addiction to those fossil fuels. In 2001, for example, Ohio spent over $29 billion on energy, and $16 billion of those dollars were exported to other states or nations.

Environment Ohio

With total GHG emissions of 299 million metric tons of  CO2e, Ohio is the largest emitting state in the Midwest and fourth largest nationally. This is principally due to the size of Ohio’s population and economy, and its reliance on coal-fired electricity production.

CHARTING THE MIDWEST: An Inventory and Analysis of Greenhouse Gas Emissions in America’s Heartland
  • Demand for coal power is being steadily eroded by competition from energy efficiency and renewable energy, which are benefiting from rising policy support, growing public investment, advancing technologies, and often-falling prices.
  • United States coal prices are rising and could be driven much higher by soaring global demand and shrinking reserves.
  • Coal plants, new and old, are losing the cost advantages they once had, and lack the operational flexibility that will be increasingly valuable as the power grid evolves to integrate more sources of clean but variable renewable power.
  • Coal power faces the financial risks posed by its many environmental impacts. The continuing damages that coal power poses to our air, land, and water—and our health—are a major financial liability that remains unresolved.
  • Coal plants emit air pollutants that still kill thousands of people yearly, costing society over $100 billion per year, by one estimate (CATF 2010).
  • These plants are also a leading source of mercury, which threatens children’s brain development;
  • Coal plants create vast quantities of toxic ash, which require careful handling in order to prevent leakage;
  • Expected regulations would reduce many of these costly harms, but as several recent financial analyses point out, much of the nation’s coal fleet is already old, inefficient, and ripe for retirement. Rather than retrofit them, it makes greater economic sense to close them.
  • Finally, there is the unavoidable financial risk associated with coal’s critical role in destabilizing the global climate. Given the increasingly dire nature of global warming, climate legislation is still widely expected in the years ahead, with inevitable cost implications for coal plants.
A Risky Proposition: The Financial Hazards of New Investments in Coal Plants

The United States of America cannot afford to bet our long-term prosperity, our long-term security on a resource that will eventually run out, and even before it runs out will get more and more expensive to extract from the ground.  We can’t afford it when the costs to our economy, our country, and our planet are so high.  Not when your generation needs us to get this right.  It’s time to do what we can to secure our energy future.

And today, I want to announce a new goal, one that is reasonable, one that is achievable, and one that is necessary. When I was elected to this office, America imported 11 million barrels of oil a day.  By a little more than a decade from now, we will have cut that by one-third.  That is something that we can achieve. We can cut our oil dependence -- we can cut our oil dependence by a third.

Now, another substitute for oil that holds tremendous promise is renewable biofuels -– not just ethanol, but biofuels made from things like switchgrass and wood chips and biomass. 

If anybody doubts the potential of these fuels, consider Brazil.  As I said, I was just there last week.  Half of Brazil’s vehicles can run on biofuels -- half of their fleet of automobiles can run on biofuels instead of petroleum.  Just last week, our Air Force -- our own Air Force -- used an advanced biofuel blend to fly a Raptor 22 -- an F-22 Raptor faster than the speed of sound.  Think about that.

In fact, the Air Force is aiming to get half of its domestic jet fuel from alternative sources by 2016.  And I’m directing the Navy and the Department of Energy and Agriculture to work with the private sector to create advanced biofuels that can power not just fighter jets, but also trucks and commercial airliners.

So there’s no reason we shouldn’t be using these renewable fuels throughout America.

And just like the fuels we use in our cars, we’re going to have to find cleaner renewable sources of electricity.  Today, about two-fifths of our electricity come from clean energy sources.  But we can do better than that.  I think that with the right incentives in place, we can double our use of clean energy. And that’s why, in my State of the Union address back in January, I called for a new Clean Energy Standard for America:  By 2035, 80 percent of our electricity needs to come from a wide range of clean energy sources -- renewables like wind and solar, efficient natural gas.  And, yes, we’re going to have to examine how do we make clean coal and nuclear power work.

But more broadly, a clean energy standard can expand the scope of clean energy investments because what it does is it gives cutting-edge companies the certainty that they need to invest.  Essentially what it does is it says to companies, you know what, you will have a customer if you’re producing clean energy.  Utilities, they need to buy a certain amount of clean energy in their overall portfolio, and that means that innovators are willing to make those big capital investments.

We’re already paying a price for our inaction.  Every time we fill up at the pump, every time we lose a job or a business to countries that are investing more than we do in clean energy, when it comes to our air, our water, and the climate change that threatens the planet that you will inherit -– we’re already paying a price.  These are costs that we are already bearing.  And if we do nothing, the price will only go up.

So at moments like these, sacrificing these investments in research and development, in supporting clean energy technologies, that would weaken our energy economy and make us more dependent on oil.  That’s not a game plan to win the future. That’s a vision to keep us mired in the past.  I will not accept that outcome for the United States of America.  We are not going to do that. 

We need you to dream big.  We need you to summon that same spirit of unbridled optimism and that bold willingness to tackle tough challenges and see those challenges through that led previous generations to rise to greatness -– to save a democracy, to touch the moon, to connect the world with our own science and our own imagination.

That’s what America is capable of.  That's what you have to push America to do, and it will be you that pushes it.  That history of ours, of meeting challenges -– that's your birthright. You understand that there’s no problem out there that is not within our power to solve.

I don’t want to leave this challenge for future Presidents. I don’t want to leave it for my children.  I don’t want to leave it for your children.  So, yes, solving it will take time and it will take effort.  It will require our brightest scientists, our most creative companies.  It will require all of us –- Democrats, Republicans, and everybody in between -– to do our part.  But with confidence in America and in ourselves and in one another, I know this is a challenge that we will solve.

President Obama, from his speech at Georgetown University introducing the Blueprint for A Secure Energy Future - Blueprint (pdf)



Hargrove Engineering, LLC, is a service disabled veteran owned small
business [SDVOSB] and minority business enterprise [MBE], that is a:

  • professional engineering
  • general contractor
  • systems engineering
  • health care engineering solutions
  • Bio safety laboratory design up to level 4
  • architecture services provider
  • building engineering services
  • turnkey hospital development
  • construction management
  • technical engineering
  • information technology
  • business management
  • energy
  • registered plumbing firm

Hargrove Engineering, LLC has the goal of providing broad-scope technical
and management services, integrated systems and systems support to
government agencies, industry and community development organizations.

Our core competencies are focused on systems engineering and integration
services [SE&I]; architecture, engineering and construction management
[AEC], HAVC and plumbing solutions; technical engineering services [TES];
information and communications technology services [ICT]; environmental
and energy services (ESG), and; Research & Development (R&D).

Service Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business


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Coal is a financial risk for FirstEnergy Corp...

In the April 10, 2011, Cleveland Plain Dealer - Coal is a financial risk for FirstEnergy Corp, say two investor groups...

If you own stock in FirstEnergy Corp., you will soon be asked to consider the potential financial consequences of the company's heavy reliance on coal-fired power plants.

It's not something the company is eager to discuss -- though it filed such information, as required by law, in a 300-page annual report submitted in February to the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Now, two investor groups that push for corporate responsibility by intervening in the annual meetings of corporations have targeted the Akron-based company on financial issues related to coal.


One of the groups, Green Century Capital Management, a mutual fund administrator that specializes in environmentally responsible funds, is concerned that FirstEnergy's huge coal ash pond near the Ohio River in Pennsylvania could cost shareholders dearly.

The watery ash is laced with mercury and arsenic, Green Century argues, and a leak in the vast reservoir could cost the company hundreds of millions of dollars in clean-up and lawsuits. The group, which drew up the proposal with Adrian Dominican Sisters of Adrian, Mich., wants to know what FirstEnergy is doing to prevent that.

The other group, As You Sow, is a San Francisco advocacy group that has taken on global corporations over health, environmental, labor and human rights issues in its 20-year history.

As You Sow wants FirstEnergy to report to shareholders by November the potential financial liability the company faces if it is forced to clean up more of its coal-burning power plants.

Because FirstEnergy just merged with Allegheny Energy, an-almost-as-large Pennsylvania company, about 60 percent of FirstEnergy's power will now come from coal-burning plants.

Read the whole story at the PD here...

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