Growing market for hemp to support decarbonisation efforts


Two new patents have been filed for a hemp processing machine that can be used off-grid and will even supply power. Startup business eHempHouse plan to give their Smartbox device away free to farmers in Africa to incentivise as many as possible to grow hemp. Hemp has more impact on removing CO2 than trees or any other crop. The company will then sell the carbon offsetting benefits on the carbon markets to polluting companies. This welcome development comes after the devastating discovery by scientists, earlier this year, that the Amazon rainforest is now emitting more CO2 (carbon) than it absorbs.

eHempHouse is the brainchild of Andy Neal, an engineer based in New York, Steven Putter an agricultural specialist, based in Zambia and Peter Miles who is CEO and running the business side of things in London. Peter explained the simple concept. “Growing hemp removes 66 tonnes of CO2 per hectare per annum. Yet for too long we’ve ignored hemp’s environmental benefits (and multiple uses) and instead demonised the crop. We’re giving African farmers the means and technology to grow and process the crop in a profitable way.”

The Smartbox is powered by hemp oil and the energy they produce can be used for other power needs. Hemp grows very quickly and has numerous uses, from cloth to cattle feed and even oil. It was criminalised in many parts of the world due to its use as a recreational drug. However, with the Amazon now producing more than a billion tonnes of carbon dioxide a year, overcoming that prejudice and licensing the crop is essential to avert the climate emergency.

The first farm to work with eHempHouse is a 413 hectare organic farm in Zambia, which is showcase model for IOBIA (Integrated Organic Bio-Intensive Agriculture) agricultural system and is training and educating local communities and farmers in the eHempHouse innovative system. The farm will be in the vanguard of the Zambian hemp business following legalisation earlier this year.

eHempHouse’s innovative approach has impressed the climate change community and they have been selected to showcase their innovation at COP26, the UN Climate Change Conference that starts at the end of October 2021.

Peter concluded: “We’re very excited to be among such a diverse field of organisations at COP26, and look forward to showcasing our Smartbox.  We passionately believe that it will help us build a more sustainable future”.

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