A century ago, Diesel Power and Hemp Products
In 1893, German inventor Rudolf Diesel published a paper entitled “The Theory and Construction of a Rational Heat Engine” which described a motor in which air is compressed by a piston to a very high pressure, causing a temperature spike where injected fuel is auto-ignited and efficiently burned in the expanding compression during the down-stroke. This basic concept results in a simple, safe, cool, highly efficient engine that could run on locally produced vegetable oils – and therefore level the playing field for those who otherwise couldn’t compete with the large steam-powered Industries and Shippers of the day.
Unfortunately, in the early 20th century big-banks and financiers were already exerting their powerful will, in support of their oil and forestry interests, and thus assuring the dominance of emerging petro-chemical industries. So instead of seeing how Diesel’s vision would have played out, we’ve had to wait until the combined and destructive effects of a Financial, Energy, and Environmental crisis, here the 21st century, could obviate the ideals and benefits that Rudolf Diesel had envisioned for Society, well over a century ago; when he built his first engines to be run on the same types of bio-fuels that we now have available today, and which could have cut coal and oil out of the picture from the very start.
At the time, Diesel thought that the United States was the greatest potential market for his engine. The first diesel built in the United States was made in 1898 by Busch-Zulzer Brothers Diesel Engine Co. The president of that company was Adolphus Busch, of Budweiser brewing fame, who had purchased North American manufacturing rights for diesel power. The beer giant was a clear believer in not only diesel power’s manufacturing potential, but also as a source of power for pipelines, electric and water plants, automobiles and trucks, and marine craft, mining, factories, and even trans-oceanic shipping…As we’ve all seen, Diesel’s design was indeed destined to be the prime source of power for all of these objectives…Only it was petroleum-based diesel fuel that beat out the other Renewables to dominate the market.
DuPont, Mellon, and Hearst: Counter-Revolutionary Forces
Diesel fully expected that his engines would be fueled by vegetable oils (including hemp) and seed oils. At the 1900 World’s Fair in Paris, Diesel ran his engines on peanut oil, and was openly evangelizing the virtues of locally grown fuel, and small-scale, independent industrial power.
Meanwhile in the USA, where Hemp had already been an industrial mainstay for decades, the cost-prohibitive and labor intensive challenges of separating fiber from pulp had FINALLY been solved by George Schlichten who had invented a ‘hemp decorticating’ machine that was poised to revolutionize several large-scale industries, including paper making.
Henry Ford’s Hemp Farms
Since hemp was well known as the strongest of natural fibers, Henry Ford (who grew large hemp crops on his own estates) had also demonstrated not only that strong, bio-degradable auto body panels could be made from its plasticized fibers and resins, but that the cars themselves could also be fueled by hemp’s fermented by-products (The original Model-T was fueled with Ethanol), or even directly fueled by domestically grown and pressed hemp oil using Diesel’s technology.
Unfortunately, despite these enormous breakthroughs, and Ford’s industrial backing, evidence suggests a special-interest group that included the DuPont petrochemical company, Secretary of the Treasury Andrew Mellon (Dupont’s major financial backer), and the newspaper man William Randolph Hearst mounted a yellow journalism campaign against hemp. Hearst deliberately confused psychoactive marijuana with industrial hemp, one of humankind’s oldest and most useful resources. DuPont and Hearst were heavily invested in timber and petroleum resources, and saw hemp as a threat to their empires.
Petroleum’s Polluting Politics
Petroleum companies also knew that their petroleum emitted noxious, toxic byproducts when burned in an automobile engine. Pollution was important to Diesel as well, and he saw his engine as a solution to the inefficient, highly polluting engines of his time.Thus the cleaner, more efficient hemp powered diesel engine would have been a serious combined threat to to oil, coal, timber, and their banking magnates, on a number of industrial, technological, and environmental levels…Not to even mention the disruptive Social effects of locally produced and renewable energy sources!
In 1937 DuPont, Mellen and Hearst were able to push a “marijuana” prohibition bill through Congress in less than three months, which destroyed the domestic hemp industry, and held back the adoption of bio-fueled diesel engines…Until now!
Today we can once again consider the immense industrial and social value that Rudolf Diesel envisioned, while also exploring how modern materials and methods are continuing to improve upon Diesel’s original concept, to provide the a new generation of ultra-clean bio-fueled power for Industry and Transportation. Although interest in industrial hemp was revived as an alternative during the War Years, and subsequently abandoned again…Could these two suppressed ideas finally combine today to become the powerhouse of energy, construction materials, and clean renewable power that was first feared by the Oil and Forestry giants of the early Century?
CLICK HERE to see how modern Diesel offers the cleanest, most efficient internal combustion engines ever built!
Learn more about Rudolf Diesel, his Social Theories, and the corrupting power of Big Oil and Banks.
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