Did you ever think that it could be possible to generate power with a hemp plant? Sounds bizarre, right?
Research and experiments have proven that the hemp plant CAN be used to power your homes and cars efficiently.
It all began in 2013 when a few scientists found out that the raw bark from the hemp plants could be processed into activated carbons through hydrothermal processing and chemical activation. Usually, hemp bark is that part of the plant which is unused and discarded as a waste material into landfills when hemp processing is carried out for other work. However, it was seen that hemp has more capacity to store electricity, and it can provide more energy at just a fraction of the price of batteries like lithium.
What Is A Super Capacitor?
Supercapacitors are a great alternative to store energy efficiently apart from the traditional electrical energy storage method. It is the best option for storing power after batteries being the first. However, this scenario will change soon as scientists have discovered how hemp can be used in supercapacitor electrodes.
The supercapacitors today are solely made from graphene, but graphene is quite an expensive material. Actually, it is super expensive when compared to hemp. However, graphene is a carbon nanomaterial that is considered one of the ideal materials for supercapacitor electrodes. The significant advantage is that the hemp electrodes are completely made from bio-waste through a simple and efficient process. Thus, it is a much inexpensive alternative to graphene.
How It Happens
Dr. Mitlin, the inventor of these batteries, says that you can actually do many interesting things using just bio-waste. The trick here is to alter the right plant fiber to the ideal electronic device based on their organic structures, and you're good to go. For instance, banana peels can be turned into pseudo graphite by turning it into a dense carbon block; this can be great for sodium-ion batteries.
Similarly, if you take a look at the structure of the hemp fiber, it is quite the opposite of the banana peel. It actually develops sheets with a high surface area, which is favorable for supercapacitors. Thus, the first step toward the development of hemp batteries begins.
It starts with the process of hydrothermal synthesis followed by dissolving semi-cellulose and lignin. This leaves a pseudo graphene structure on the carbon nanosheets. These sheets are then fabricated into electrodes, and an ionic liquid is added as the electrolyte. Dr. Mitlin's team prepared supercapacitors from hemp that could be operated on a wide range of temperatures with the energy density quite high. This capacitor performed on the way better level than graphene.
Growth of Hemp
Although there are alternative barriers to the process, and hemp cannot do everything that graphene can, it is quite an inexpensive alternative to graphene.
The hemp crop is largely cultivated in China. However, in most hemp processing facilities, the hemp plant's bark is just a waste product that can easily be taken away. People are even willing to pay you for taking away the bio-waste. Using this to your advantage, you can take hemp technology to another new level. Hemp is a revolution in the battery industry, which will provide more energy, but it is a more sustainable alternative to regular graphene batteries.
Are you ready for this new and fantastic development where a plant known for its adverse effects is now going to be a breakthrough innovation in our world?
The hemp version is not only better in performance, but also a thousand times cheaper. Using hydrothermal synthesis, the scientists transformed leftover bast fiber into carbon nanosheets