Batteries of the future could be made from Hemp
Dr. David Mitlin & his team at the Clarkson University have developed carbon nano sheets very similar to graphene from leftover fibres in hemp plants. Up until now graphene use has been widely anticipated as the best supercapacitor but the material is incredibly expensive to produce. Creating graphene like material from hemp is cheaper and could lead to rapid advancements in power electronics.
Dr. Mitlin speaking at the AMC American Chemical Society meeting in 2014 about experimenting with different types of bio-waste:
“With banana peels, you can turn them into a dense block of carbon – we call it pseudo-graphite – and that’s great for sodium ion batteries,”
“But if you look at hemp fibre its structure is the opposite – it makes sheets with high surface area – and that’s very conducive to supercapacitors.”
Growing industrial hemp is cheap in comparison to producing graphene and has little – to no impact on the environment so tech firms could lower their carbon footprint by going ‘green’ as consumers become more conscious of their buying choices.
“Obviously hemp can’t do all the things graphene can,” Dr Mitlin admits.
“But for energy storage, it works just as well. And it costs a fraction of the price -$500-1,000 a tonne.”
“We’re making graphene-like materials for a thousandth of the price – and we’re doing it with waste.”