Hemp Batteries Are More Powerful Than Lithium and Graphene

Is there anything hemp can’t do? A year after hemp became legal to grow in the United States, we’ve seen its power to make better clothing, better buildings and better medicine.

Hemp is an incredibly versatile crop. Not only can it be used for industrial purposes, clothing, food, and paper, but research suggests hemp batteries are even more powerful than lithium and graphene.

For those who are unaware, graphene is a unique synthetic carbon material that is lighter than foil, as well as bulletproof. The main limit to using it is feasibility. Fortunately, hemp costs one-thousandth of the price of graphene.
experiment, the team, led by Dr David Mitlin of Clarkson University, New York, “cooked” leftover bast fibre — the inner bark of the plant that typically ends up in landfills — into carbon nanosheets. The process is called hydrothermal synthesis.

The fibers were then recycled into supercapacitors, or energy storage devices which have changed the way electronics are powered. Conventional batteries store large reservoirs of energy and drip-feed. Supercapacitors, on the other hand, rapidly discharge their entire load. As a result, the latter is ideal in machines that require sharp bursts of power.

The experiment was conducted by Robert Murray Smith and was discussed on his relatively popular YouTube channel. Smith began by observing a Volts by Amps curve of both the hemp and lithium batteries. Surprisingly, the power underneath the hemp cell was a value of 31 while that of the lithium cell had a value of just 4.

Smith doesn’t claim to have proven anything. Rather, he says the results of the experiment simply show the performance of the hemp cell is “significantly better” than the lithium cell. Watch the video below:

This discovery isn’t new. In 2014, researchers in the US found that waste fibers  “shiv”  from hemp crops can be transformed into “ultrafast” super capacitors that are “better than graphene.”

Now, there’s something else hemp appears to be better at – making batteries.

Most auto batteries today are made from lithium-ion, an expensive, quickly disappearing material.

A team of American and Canadian researchers have developed a battery that could be used in cars and power tools using hemp bast fiber – the inner bark of the plant that usually ends up in landfill.

They “cooked” the woody pulp and processed them into carbon nanosheets, which they used to build supercapacitors “on a par with or better than graphene” – the industry gold standard.

Graphene is a synthetic carbon material lighter than foil yet bulletproof, but it is prohibitively expensive to make.

“People ask me: why hemp? I say, why not?” inventor David Mitlin tells the BBC.

“We’re making graphene-like materials for a thousandth of the price – and we’re doing it with waste.”

Mitlin, a chemical engineer, first published a description of his team’s battery in the journal ACS Nano in 2014.

More recently, a YouTuber put the hemp battery to the test against a lithium-ion battery and found it to be 8 times more powerful!

Tesla’s new million-mile battery is made from lithium-iron phosphate, which is supposed to last twice as long as conventional lithium-ion batteries.

While more abundant and cheaper than lithium-ion, lithium-iron-phosphate still can’t compete with the apparently far-more-powerful (and renewable) hemp!