Hemp for Diesel?

Hemp for Diesel?
Is it true that the Diesel engine was originally designed to be fueled by hemp oil?

[Editor’s Note: Rudolf Diesel (b. 1858, disappeared at sea 1913) patented the first diesel engine in 1892 and built the first working engine the following year, initially designed for burning peanut oil.]

4 responses to “Hemp for Diesel?

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  3. Patrick Kennedy

    Rudolph Diesel’s first unsuccessful experiments with internal compression ignition were made with coal dust – a cheaply available resource of the day, much like hemp oil. The idea for ignition from the heat of compression was something which came easily to Rudolph as his early career was spent working with the practical science of refrigeration – the cold from expansion. It was always an idea of Rudolph’s to create an engine for the benefit of agribusiness, however, it wasn’t until later in his life that he became a more vocal agrarian socialist – and vegetarian.
    Best,
    -Patrick Kennedy

  4. Rudolf diesel first ran his engine on peanut oil. It was designed for farmers to run their tractors based on their own crops. It wasn’t until he tried to take his engine to the Paris Expo that he found a scarcity of peanut oil and turned to hemp oil (from rope not dope) to power his engine. Luckily, the engine did well at the Paris expo and Rudolf’s name went down in history before the petrol industry offered a cheaper alternative to vegetable oil. One day all kinds of plant matter, including hemp, kudzu, castor, etc will make its way into the biodiesel stream if the ag and petrol giants and the politicians are capable of embracing real (not just industry driven) alternatives. The creators of the film Freedom Fuels gave me a copy of their DVD in Brussels and it is a great story of biodiesel and Rudolf Diesel. You can find it at http://www.mofilms.org Kudos to those seeking real alternatives!

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