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Hemp could make its way into future battery tech, better and cheaper than graphene

According to a team of scientists, hemp could be used in future battery technology. Interestingly enough, it's just as (or slightly more) effective than graphene, but much cheaper.
By
August 13, 2014
hemp-battery

As smartphones have evolved we’ve seen processors go from single-core to as high as octa-core configurations, and there have even been several Android devices that have pushed the boundaries of RAM up to 3GB. Other areas of innovation have included display sizes and resolutions, new sensors and the list goes on. One area where innovation has arguably been a bit lacking? Battery life.

We’ve already talked more than once about new technologies and materials that hope to give us the ability to leap ahead when it comes to battery life such as graphene or even a lithium-ion electrode that will apparently allow conventional Li-ion batteries to hold a charge 10 times greater than current batteries. Now here’s one more potential method, and it’s a material that you probably wouldn’t have thought twice about: hemp.

Heated up hemp fibers can essentially be used for the creation of supercapacitors that are able to store just as much energy as graphene, at less of a cost

Industrial hemp, marijuana’s non-psychoactive cousin, is generally used for the creation of wax, paper and rope, but yesterday at the American Chemical Society’s national meeting a team lead by David Mitlin, an engineering professor at Clarkson University, heated up hemp fibers in a two-stage process that essentially allows for the creation of supercapacitors that are able to store just as much energy as graphene, or even perhaps slightly more. Even more importantly, the process is significantly cheaper than utilizing graphene.

Right now it’s still early days for these ‘supercaps’, but Mitlin and others do believe that the technology has a place in next-gen battery technology. In fact the professor behind the project has already started a spin-off company called Alta Supercaps in the hopes of commercializing the effort and expanding it into new areas. Bottom-line, although it’s probably a long ways off, there could be a time when our mobile devices are in fact powered by hemp.