Hemp is what’s happening right now. From informative books about hemp to futuristic hemp cars, it’s clear that the U.S. is starting to get hip to the multitude of ways that the material can be seriously useful. Many people have begun to take advantage of the environmentally-friendly plant that has been proven to detoxify and regenerate soil, but one man is boldly trying to take hemp out of the ground and put it up in the sky.
Derek Kesek, the founder of Hempearth, has made it his mission to produce the very first airplane made almost entirely of hemp that will run on — you guessed it — hemp-based biodiesel. According to reports, up to 75 percent of the four-seat jet will be made from hemp instead of fiberglass including the pillows, seats, wings and even the outer shell. This move away from standard plane materials may make some nervous, but Kesek insists that hemp is not only safe but may also be more durable.
“Our experts have tested the strength and durability of woven hemp material compared to fiberglass, the traditional material for aircrafts, and determined that in most cases hemp is as strong, or stronger, than fiberglass,” the company’s website states.
There are even more benefits of using hemp compared to fiberglass. Because hemp production is a carbon neutral process, it’s much more ecologically-conscious than making fiberglass, which creates air pollution by releasing styrene into the atmosphere.
“There are many advantages to using hemp,” said Kesek. “This plane project is just our first experiment with industrial hemp and we plan to explore many uses. Once we establish structural testing and information from the hemp project, we will take that and work on the next best implication. The sky may not be the limit.”
A florida-based company called Velocity Inc. has been contracted to construct the aircraft and as soon as the plane is tested for and passes aviation regulations, Kesek plans to take the inaugural flight from Kittyhawk, North Carolina – the same historical location where the world’s first successful flight happened.
So, what’s next on the horizon for the man behind the first hemp plane and his company Hempearth? Kesek has high hopes and big plans for the future, including some ideas that are literally out of this world.
“I want to build a spaceship and be up next to Richard Branson in space with hemp,” he said.
Do you think hemp should be used for more large-scale projects like this? Tell us your thoughts in the comments.