While yields and growing conditions are important, another major factor in fuel production is its environmental impact. Sulfur oxides, being one of the primary pollutants in diesel fuel, are a vital thing to measure when gaging its environmental effects. Biodiesels generally have extremely small amounts sulfur compared to standard diesel, which is part of what makes them more environmentally friendly. Hemp biodiesel, however, has some of the lowest sulfur content of any biodiesel. It has roughly 50% less sulfur than soybean, 80% less sulfur than canola, and over 90% less sulfur than oil palm. This means its one of the cleanest biodiesels among the leading competition.
Another environmental concern regarding fuels are their carbon dioxide emissions. No matter what, burning fuels will always produce carbon dioxide, but the hemp plant is unique in that it has significant carbon sequestering properties. Hemp can absorb up to 15 tonnes of CO2 per acre cultivated, allowing the plants themselves to diminish the carbon footprint of the fuel they produce. Because of this, hemp biodiesel is considered a carbon neutral alternative for standard diesel fuel.
Aside from all the great sustainable advantages of producing biodiesel from hemp is that it only requires oil from the seeds, allowing the crop to be harvested and used for other purposes. While there is a large range of practical applications for industrial hemp, in regards to producing biofuel it has a very distinct benefit over other crops. The hemp plant is one of the few plants that produces a high yield in both oil and biomass. While the oil can be used to produce biodiesel, the biomass can be used to produce bioethanol, another environmentally friendly biofuel. When this is coupled with the fact that hemp outproduces almost every other crop in biodiesel, it becomes quite clear that industrial hemp has the potential to be a disruptor in clean energy.