What Is Biomass? Everything You Need to Know

Hemp is popping up all over the country. It grows across more than 90,000 acres in the United States. That number is expected to rise as manufacturers integrate the plant into more of their products.

Despite its growing popularity, hemp remains unknown to many people. They don’t know how useful it is, let alone that it is legal. They know even less about biomass.

What is biomass? How does hemp produce biomass, and how can companies use it?

Answer these questions and you can master both agriculture and technology. Here is your quick guide.

What Is Plant Biomass?

Plant biomass is sometimes called “biomass.” It is a general term for any parts of plants that do not have a primary purpose, like food or medicine. Any plant can produce biomass, and many plants do.

Wood is one of the most common biomasses. Wood processing creates pulp and wood chips that people can use for other purposes. Other biomasses include corn, soybeans, and algae.

You may have heard of biomass in the context of energy. It can provide a source of renewable energy that adds little carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Biomass is commonly used for heating, but it may become a source of fuel for cars and machinery.

What Is Hemp Biomass?

Hemp is a special kind of Cannabis sativa. It contains low levels of THC, a chemical compound found in marijuana.

To make up for its low amounts, it contains high levels of CBD. CBD is a compound that can diminish pain and induce sleep. Many people grow hemp for medicinal purposes.

Hemp biomass is biomass that comes out of hemp processing. Hemp plants grow flowers, seeds, and leaves. The flowers are used in medicine, while most seeds and leaves are left as biomass.

What Types of Hemp Biomass Are There?

There are two different types of hemp biomass. CBD biomass is hemp that is rich in CBD. This usually refers to flowers, but it can include seeds and leaves.

Hemp fiber biomass comes from the organic materials of hemp. These are the materials left over after processing flowers, including stalks and leaves.

There is no type of hemp biomass that provides THC. The government mandates that hemp carry low amounts because THC can cause a high.

How Is Hemp Biomass Made?

To harvest biomass, producers must grow hemp in open fields. Harvesting begins in the late summer or early fall in North America. Harvesters use a scythe or shears to cut the leaves carefully from the ground.

Once they have gathered the leaves, they bring them indoors. They separate flowers, seeds, and leaves from each other, usually working by hand.

The biomass is then dried. Hemp is very wet, which can spread mold and mildew. Harvesters snip the biomass into small bits so the water can evaporate easier.

Drying takes three to five days. For CBD production, the bits are shredded to make them easier to package.

They are then shipped off to laboratories that can make an extract out of them. Pharmaceutical companies can mix biomass CBD into skin creams or tablets. They can also sell CBD oil that people can stir into drinks.

Some processors take a different approach with hemp fibers. Once they have gathered biomass, they soak it in water to allow fibers to swell up. This can make it easier to separate them.

States must approve hemp growth within their borders. You cannot transport hemp across state lines, even if it is legal to grow in your home state. This means that most farms are small and sell their plants to local businesses.

What Are the Uses of Fiber Biomass?

Fiber biomass is a versatile substance. Clothing manufacturers can use it. If you’ve ever bought a piece of clothing made from hemp, it is actually made from hemp fiber biomass.

The hurd is the middle part of the plant, containing the stalk and leaves. The stalk contains cellulose, which is a sturdy substance.

Many paper manufacturers use hemp stalks to reinforce their sheets. They can also integrate it into packaging, especially for plastic and cardboard.

Individual fibers can be tied together to make a rope. Many ships rely on hemp ropes for their operations. Some carpet manufacturers string together hemp ropes to make rugs.

After stalks and leaves are dried, they can be used for tea. When soaked in hot water, hemp leaves can produce a light drink that induces sleep.

As with other kinds of biomass, hemp biomass provides a source of fuel. Farmers can gather together masses of hemp and turn them into carbon nanomaterial. Computer manufacturers can place this nanomaterial into batteries and supercapacitors.

Some farmers offer biomass for sale. Anyone can purchase large amounts of it to use however they please. Other farmers craft relationships with manufacturers, growing biomass specifically for them.

Biomass is not used for smoking or recreational purposes. It cannot produce a high and it does not have a strong flavor after drying.

So, What Is Biomass?

Hemp is one of the most controversial plants in the country. It shouldn’t be.

What is biomass? It is the byproduct of agricultural processing. It comes from wood, corn, and hemp.

Plants are grown, then their flowers are cut from leaves and stems. Farmers shred the leaves and stems for easy processing.

Scientists can extract CBD from hemp biomass, creating drugs and creams. Manufacturers can make clothing and paper out of fibers. Biomass can also be used as carbon-neutral fuel, including in computers.

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Author: Brandon Park