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Cannabis (almost) on Energy Agenda

Press Release: Mild Green Initiatives - 27 June 2001

Cannabis (almost) on Energy Agenda

A two day conference on cleaner vehicle emmissions "New Zealand Road to Cleaner Air" commencing today may consider the implementation of horticulturally derived fuels such as bio-diesel made from cannabis-hemp.

Hemp-science researcher Blair Anderson is seeking the opportunity to advocate the benefits of biofuels to NZ ecology and economy.

The conference is being convened by the Energy Federation, and will include workshops and open forums for paid-up attendees - held at the Duxton Hotel, Wellington, on the 27th and 28th of June.

The Energy Federation connects industry players such as the big petrol companies, Ford Motor Company, Motor Industry Association, Motor Trade
Association, Ministry of Transport, Auckland Regional Council, and Ministry for the Environment. The non-profit organisation's mission is "to
facilitate the promotion of the sustainable and environmentally acceptable development and use of energy resources, both in NZ and overseas".

Concern for pollution of diesel sulpher emissions has made for extensive political media interest lately in New Zealand, with Auckland and Christchurch
presenting the most immediate "clean up" imperatives.

Biofuels, in meeting all criteria for efficiency and safety, therefore constitute a logical replacement technology.

According to Anderson, BioDiesel is an both an EPA approved fuel, and an additive... 5% to 20% bio-diesel with conventional diesel progressively delivers substantial reductions in sulphur nitrogen and fine particulate emmisions at "lower annual costs than alternative fuels." (cf: Booz-Allen & Hamilton).

Hemp production for fuel will have commercial spin off in staple products such as industrial fibre, biodegrable packaging and a diverse downstream added value plastics manufacturing base, but it is the very desirable attributes of import substitution, regional employment and enhanced clean green ecotourism image that will give it the consumer appeal.

Mr Anderson said he was gaining support amongst interested organisations including the Automobile Association, Lincoln University, Ministry of Agriculture, and the Motor Industry Association. Ever-conscious of competition, energy traders Caltex, Shell Mobil and BP were proving to be reserved, he said.

Christchurch's sister city Seattle runs bus and marine fleets on soy-derived bio-diesel. "The greatest feasibility would appear to be in council-driven progressive fuel replacement in operating public transport" said Mr Anderson. "commuters get the added value experience - redbus - greenfuel - it almost an incentive to ride!"

Christchurch City Council for example controls forestry estates which officials acknowledge could reasonably accomodate some hemp cultivation. Production facilities would easily be within local manufacturing capabilities with microrefinery like installations capable of providing global warming neutral carbon-recycled energy, captured from sunshine, dirt and air.

Mr Anderson seeks to develop and drive an application for trial hemp crops with Christchurch City Council, for seed in the ground this spring. "City councils are ethically bound to get behind the potential of hemp derived fuel", said Mr Anderson.

Hemp fuel meets all criteria of safer emmissions, and investors are aware of the Government's green light for hemp. Trial criteria does not specify a limit on production, if legitimate use can be found from industrially harvested cannabis.

Christchurch also faces a major issue with smog and pollutants from traditional domestic heating.

Hemp utilisation as part of changing social attitudes to "the weed" may have profound benefits here and abroad. Political interest in city air quality is running high! Hemp "oxygenated fuels and additives" might be the cure. Certainly, New Zealanders in general were warming to the idea of the Kyoto inspired hemp-derived energy to help sweeten the air we breath.

It has the commercial double whammy - each litre of biodiesel we grow saves us expensive US dollars, and its a litre of "the crude stuff" that can stay in the ground, a litre we don't have to prospect for, drill, cap and pipe, ship, store, refine, transport or clean up... nor worry about sealevels, melting glaciers or go to war over.

I expect to see a few happy Canterbury farmers mulling over their hemp crops, knowing the farmgate income potential is pegged to OPEC and the Greenback, but this is one crop that every New Zealander is going to benefit from.

Mild Green Initiative from
Blair Anderson, 50 Wainoni Road, Christchurch
ph 64 - 3 - 3894065 cell 025-2657219

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