Hemp Waste Valorization as Biofuel and Cement Replacement in Cement and Concrete Production


The growing interest in industrial applications of the hemp plant requires alternative solutions for disposing of hemp waste. At the same time, the concrete industry is seeking ways to reduce its environmental impact, which could be realized by partially replacing Portland cement with more sustainable materials. In this study, a two-step valorization strategy of hemp waste is explored, including the use of hemp waste as biofuel and the addition to concrete of the biofuel by-product, hemp ash, as partial cement replacement. Hemp waste was incinerated in a muffle furnace at different combustion regimes and the residual hemp ash was analyzed before being added to some concrete mixes. Concretes with different hemp ash replacements (5–25% by cement weight) were tested for compression strength, air content, workability, and water absorption. Results showed that hemp ash has the potential to be added to concrete as a filler to reduce environmental impact and costs at 5% cement replacement.

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Dr. Zanotti acknowledges the support of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC, Grant Number: EGP 533732-18). The Authors would like to acknowledge the contributions of Mr. Ivan Casselman, Mr. Ryan Ko, Mr. Spencer Behn, and Mr. Kumayl Rashid in the preparation of the hemp ash, and the casting and testing of the concrete cylinders used in this study.

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Correspondence to Cristina Zanotti.

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Pargar, F., Talukdar, S., Pal, K. et al. Hemp Waste Valorization as Biofuel and Cement Replacement in Cement and Concrete Production. Waste Biomass Valor (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12649-020-01051-z

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  • Hemp biomass
  • Biofuel
  • Hemp ash
  • Supplementary cementing materials
  • Cement
  • Concrete
  • Incineration