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Living Green - A potential energy revolution from hemp.
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Friday, July 8, 2016
I have written about the miracles of hemp in Living Green before. Personally, I think it is a crime that hemp has been illegal to grow in the United States for so long. We are decades behind in research.
As hemp makes a comeback in the U.S. after a decades-long ban on its cultivation, scientists are reporting that fibers from the plant can pack as much energy and power as graphene, long-touted as the model material for
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Supercapacitors are energy storage devices that have huge potential to transform the way future electronics are powered. Unlike today's rechargeable batteries, which sip up energy over several hours, supercapacitors can charge and discharge within seconds. But they normally can't store nearly as much energy as batteries, an important property known as energy density.
One approach researchers are taking to boost supercapacitors' energy density is to design better electrodes. A team headed by David Mitlin, Ph.D. has figured out how to make them from certain hemp fibers - and they can hold as much energy as the current top contender: graphene.
"The key advantage is that our electrodes are made from biowaste using a simple process, and therefore, are much cheaper than graphene."
His process uses hemp bast fibers. The fibers come from the inner bark of the plant and often are discarded from Canada's fast-growing industries that use hemp for clothing, construction materials and other products. The US could soon become another supplier of bast.
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