Hemp plus coal could equal economic prosperity for Appalachia, according to a new white paper released Wednesday by the Kentucky and West Virginia hemp growers cooperatives.
"It's about stimulating the hemp economy," said David Hadland, president of the Kentucky Hemp Growers Cooperative Association and a member of the Kentucky Industrial Hemp Commission. "The public needs to know that hemp is viable, and that hemp is not marijuana. This is just another example of its use."
The cooperatives advocate blending dry hemp "hurds" with Appalachian high-sulphur coal to reduce emissions at power plants.
"Our results show that hemp biomass is a promising feedstock for power co-generation, a notion supported by recent techno-economic studies," wrote the study's authors, Katherine M. Andrews, Alex Donesky, Roger Ford and J. Eric Mathis. "The introduction of industrial hemp as a biomass energy feedstock can improve the economics of co-firing due to adaptability, high per-acre yield, and potential to be grown on post-mining land and reclamation sites."