Could Growing Hemp Earn Carbon Credits?

Essay by Eric Worrall

According to the BBC, skilled hemp growers are looking to make money selling their product to the construction industry.

Hemp makes a comeback in the construction industry

By Pedro Garcia

Weary of his life as a computer engineer, in 2010 Elad Kaspin packed his bags and travelled the world.

Mr Kaspin wanted a break from Israel, describing life in the country as complicated. “I knew I didn’t want to live there, in spite of having a good life with a good salary,” he says.

After two years of travelling, he arrived in Colos, a village in southern Portugal, between the towns of Odemira and Ourique. He liked it so much he decided to stay.

He was not the only one. In recent years the region has seen a wave of migrants, attracted by the dramatic, vast and empty plains, a laidback way of life, good weather, and cheap property. 

But that popularity was not generating good, stable jobs. 

So, with the help of childhood friend Palestinian Omer ben Zvi, Mr Kaspin decided to start a company, Cânhamor.

Their idea was to take advantage of Portugal’s relaxation of laws governing the cultivation of hemp, part of the cannabis family of plants.

According to a European Commission report, the carbon sequestering properties of hemp are remarkable.

In just five months one hectare (2.5 acres) of hemp can trap between 9 and 15 tonnes of carbon dioxide.

Mr Kaspin wanted to exploit those properties by setting up his own business making hemp construction blocks. 

With an initial investment of €1m (£880,000; $1m), Cânhamor was formed at the beginning of 2021, and production began a few months later.

Read more:

Hemp fibre bricks might be OK in cold climates, but where I live everything vaguely biological ends up being eaten. A few years ago when my lathe failed, I discovered the local insects had eaten the rubber drive belt. All that was left was reinforcing string which used to be embedded in the rubber.

I regularly spray the accessible electric wires and plastic pipes with bug spray, just to be on the safe side.

The older houses still in good condition in my area are clad in asbestos concrete sheets rather than wooden cladding. Most wooden structures crumble into dust without vigorous treatment and inspections. Somehow owners of older houses are reluctant to remove the asbestos, despite it being a banned building material, because it is so durable. Even Aussie insects haven’t figured out how to eat it.

I think I’ll let someone else try building their house with this new hemp based edible building product.

4.6 10 votes
Article Rating
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
January 27, 2023 2:11 pm

Quite a bit of energy is used for planting, fertilizing, harvesting, drying, processing and transporting hemp. It would be interesting to see what a lifecycle analysis says.

Matt Kiro
Reply to  Scissor
January 28, 2023 5:55 am

Even more if you grow it indoors and have to rely on fossil fuels for your energy.

Reply to  Scissor
January 28, 2023 10:27 am

Hemp fixes nitrogen from the air via symbiotic bacteria. Good as a cover/green manure crop.

January 27, 2023 2:25 pm

If you are growing good hemp all carbon credits are wiped out with the CO2 released from the tanks.

Reply to  doonman
January 27, 2023 2:26 pm

Mostly, hemp is grown outdoors.

Reply to  Scissor
January 27, 2023 3:04 pm

“Good” hemp.

Reply to  doonman
January 27, 2023 4:37 pm


Reply to  Scissor
January 27, 2023 6:18 pm

That’s what the photo in the article is showing.

Reply to  doonman
January 27, 2023 6:29 pm

Yeah, I saw that. It looks like there could be seeds there too.

There is a trend in grows to trim virtually all of the leaves and leave only the buds. Then the plants look naked but it cuts down on wasted biomass.

I forgot to say bro.

Last edited 1 month ago by Scissor
old cocky
Reply to  doonman
January 27, 2023 3:01 pm

Or the bongs.

Reply to  old cocky
January 27, 2023 11:48 pm

Bongs will have to be made of glass, I suppose, because plastic bongs are made with oil, so are not green?

Reply to  Richard Greene
January 28, 2023 2:49 pm

As long as the furnace to melt the glass is powered by windmills and solar panels.

old cocky
January 27, 2023 3:07 pm

That’s similar to straw brick construction using cereal, sorghum, millet, maize, etc straw.
Those have the useful property of also having produced grain.

Interestingly, most cereal crops now use dwarf varieties to maximise the resources going to the head. Stem growth is a waste of water and nutrients, and can cause problems with lodging and tangling.

Rud Istvan
January 27, 2023 3:18 pm

Fun story. On my SW Wisconsin dairy farm, we have a lot of wild hemp (the rope kind, not the MJ kind, thanks to government encouraged plantings during WW2 that wilded). Cows eat the stuff as it matures and spread seeds via manure, so the pastures become infested and require mowing to promote pasture and reduce hemp. (Mowing with a big Brush Hog behind the compact 27hp 4×4 diesel tractor is cheaper and more environmentally sound, when hemp is about 4 feet tall and not yet seed budded, than earlier spot spraying herbicides (from the 25gal ATV mounted spot spray tank used on EVIL field edge invasive burdock) that kills both hemp and the surrounding pasture grasses.)

Who knew Wisconsin dairy farming would be anti carbon neutral? Oh, wait, I forgot about cow methane burps also supposedly contributing to AGW, but only in the lab absence of atmospheric water vapor.

And Eric, there is also something to be said positive about bitterly cold Wisconsin winters. First, that is why my forests produce lots of warming firewood during the summer. Second, the earliest part of our farmhouse is made of hand hewn (squared with an adz) ~12×12 inch chinked oak Timbers (a real log cabin), erected in the 1880’s. Still solid, no termites. Too cold in winter for any termite hives to survive.

Reply to  Eric Worrall
January 27, 2023 4:23 pm

Need to be a bit careful with the sun-lover lifestyle though Eric.

Aussie men account for 42.9% of all the melanoma skin cancer cases in the world.

Reply to  Mr.
January 27, 2023 11:56 pm

As a melanoma survivor, who was once told he had a 25% chance or dying from the disease, in 2001, I know a little about the disease, and could not believe your 42.9% claim.

The link you provided says 5.44% of worldwide male melanoma is Australian men. which is very high, but far from 42.9%

About 0.33% of the world’s population lives in Australia.

Reply to  Richard Greene
January 28, 2023 5:42 am

Are we looking at the same tables in the link?

42.9% of cases is what it says

Go argue your numbers with the WCRF.

Reply to  Mr.
January 28, 2023 12:56 pm

The table says there were 173,844 melanoma cases worldwide in 2020 for men

It then says 9,462 were Australian men

How is that 42.9%?

If anyone is claiming that about 0.165% of the world population — Australian men — account for 42.9% of total male melanoma cases, that is absolutely ridiculous.

Reply to  Richard Greene
January 28, 2023 2:06 pm

AS I said Richard, send a complaint to the WCRF and tell them their statistics are misinformation / disinformation.

(Methinks they will have a response for you).

Reply to  Mr.
January 28, 2023 3:03 pm

I remember reading about melanoma in Australia and that the lifeguards had very few cases, but that the office dwellers who rarely get much sun, then go out and get burned on weekends and holidays, get MUCH melanoma.

Wonder if that is true.

Home much does “sunblock” have to do with the problem? Seems that 70 years ago, the dangers of melanoma was not so prevalent.

Alan Watt, Climate Denialist Level 7
Reply to  Rud Istvan
January 27, 2023 5:05 pm


Hemp is also prized by traditional papermakers as the fibers are long, which makes strong paper. However, getting permission to grow it commercially is more difficult than registering a machine gun. Have you explored trying to sell your “nuisance” crop?

Last edited 1 month ago by Alan Watt, Climate Denialist Level 7
January 27, 2023 3:54 pm

It’s a shame the world has developed an irrational fear of asbestos, as those it had an adult-level case of the cooties. It’s an amazing material and safe mining and handling procedures could certainly have been developed and as well as ways of encapsulating asbestos safely and permanently in final products.

John Hultquist
Reply to  PCman999
January 27, 2023 5:27 pm

Asbestos made great cooking surfaces for pizzas — if I remember correctly. It has been a long time since I baked pizza for spending money. Our slab was about an inch thick and about 4 feet wide. The Julia Child cooking show pulled an episode because of recommending asbestos for a base to cook bread. Then they had to find an alternative.

January 27, 2023 4:55 pm

What a waste of a good product!

January 27, 2023 6:34 pm

If you want your hand-written constitution/charter/treaty to last, better write it on hemp. Seems to last longer than acid-free paper. Hemp is thought to be a better fibre than glass for fibreglass. “All tied up in red tape” stems from the document-binding ribbon being made out of hemp. Three strands of that and you could tow a small car, or hang yourself. When working on reclamation of coal mines, we used to get hemp among the spruce and birch plantings. No it wasn’t planted by “them &^%$ hippies”. Canary seed from 150 years ago coming to the surface and germinating.

Mr Ed
January 27, 2023 6:41 pm

Straw bale construction has been used locally very successfully in my area.

I’ve personally used straw bales for livestock shelters as did my granddad.
Mine were short term in duration 5-6 yrs the let the goats in and let them
eat the left overs…malt barley straw was the best. I’ve seriously considered
doing a straw bale house using with a timber frame core. As far as livestock shelter
they were amazing in thermal terms. Hemp on the other hand….I’d take a pass.

January 27, 2023 7:32 pm

Cellulose insulation is nothing more than ground up news paper. The terminates and other bugs would love it except that it’s treated with boric acid which pretty well shuts down the bug population before it gets started. I am not sure how the bricks would hold up to water as we are pretty familiar with adobe here. You either have to shield it from the weather or layer another coat on the building yearly. What they would do with block of hemp, I am not sure.

Reply to  Dena
January 28, 2023 3:07 pm

And the borax also helps with its fire retardant properties.

Peta of Newark
January 27, 2023 7:57 pm

That crack of Einstein’s about ‘infinite stupidity‘ comes to mind – where do you even start to unravel garbage like this?
Trouble is, the folks propelling it are just children and sooooooo enthusiastic, it’s an awful thing to burst their bubbles
(Is that where Mr Trump came unstuck, he was just **too** honest)

Because everything that’s being done to avert a Climate Crisis, are all the very things that would actually create one
everything is wrong, complete insanity rules

I liked Portugal from my brief visits. I was gonna go there and grow sunflowers.
Certainly coz they’re pretty and the wild birds love eating the seeds (people do if they love getting Cancer) but the left-over stalks would make epic Hugelkulturs and actually really do something for the hapless and utterly misunderstood Climate

abolition man
January 27, 2023 8:05 pm

Didn’t Cheech and Chong already test this out in their hilarious “Up In Smoke?” This might give a whole new meaning to “burning down the house!”

January 27, 2023 11:46 pm

This is another Eric Worrall article I recommend on my daily list of the best climate science and energy articles I’ve read each day. In the first four days of my new blog. Worrall has a perfect record — every article of his has been recommended:

Honest Climate Science and Energy

If growing hemp is being considered, why not make big money growing the version that gets people high?

The Climate Howlers seem to be against CO2 emissions, but they somehow consider burning wood to be “green” in Europe. And wood is not even colored green.

That evil marijuana, however, is colored green, or so I have heard, and Climate Howlers seem to like burning that weed. Based on the Climate Howler nonsense they spout, they must burn a lot of it.

So why not grow marijuana for carbon credits?

Mr Ed
Reply to  Richard Greene
January 28, 2023 7:47 am

“So why not grow marijuana for carbon credits?”

I came across something on weed shops the other day that was interesting
to me that involved the money side of the deal. On the federal level they
can’t deposit their money in a bank due to federal law prohibiting that. So
instead the keep the cash in a safe on site till an armored car comes around
and picks up said cash and takes it the the Federal Reserve where it is converted
to BitCoin……We just went through the first year of recreational weed in MT
this year and the revenues reported were at $300million of which the state
takes a big cut. So it looks like a Hunter Biden/Mexican cartel money laundering
operation…at least to me..I sold a big lot of livestock a couple of years ago
to a guy in the midwest that I didn’t know. Always a cash deal. But he
offered to pay in bit coin. I bet he has a grow operation on the side. No I didn’t
do the bitcoin but I left a ton of cash on the table by doing so.

January 28, 2023 2:09 am

Rain is why God invented Colorbond steel-
and Duragal for its runoff locations-
Good luck with that Mastotermes darwiniensis-Gia et al.

The story of Three Little Pigs was necessarily condensed down and simplified for the kiddy audience vis a vis the heady tomes for grown-ups which are always focussed on the sustainability of their occupants-

Bong along with the Rennaissance of the 3LP genre in our unis younguns but best tuck up in bed sustainably at mummy and daddys while you’re working it out.

John the Econ
January 28, 2023 7:45 am

Hemp saves the world, again. This idea that the hippies have been trying to sell since literally as long as I can remember never dies. It’s literally like a religion to these folk. They’ll rationalize literally anything to justify growing it.

January 28, 2023 8:12 am

I can attest to the fact that hemp growers have been selling their product to construction workers for many, many years now.

Reply to  jvcstone
January 28, 2023 3:17 pm

Working on the hotel tower of the Mirage way back when, you could not spend much time in the stairwells above the floors where the sheet rockers were working without getting stoned.

The chimney effect works well in stairwells when the upper floors are still not completed.

January 29, 2023 4:23 am

So a bit like the bright idea of using soya in the insulation of electrical wiring used in cars. Not so good when they are parked up outside waiting to be sold as the mice love it.

old cocky
Reply to  gezza1298
January 29, 2023 12:18 pm

The mice and rats love plastic as well. And thin strands of copper 🙂

%d bloggers like this:
Verified by MonsterInsights