If you’re an advocate of hemp, then you’re aware that hemp comes with a wide range of uses, from medicine to building materials. But you’re probably not aware that hemp can also be used as a supercapacitor. Capacitor refers to a device used in storing electric charge in one or more pairs of conductors that are separated by an insulator. Aside from batteries, a supercapacitor is the second best option when it comes to storing power. Scientists have recently discovered how it’s possible to use hemp for supercapacitor electrodes.
Read on to find out more about the hemp supercapacitors and how hemp can play an important role in shaping the future of green energy.
Understanding More about the Supercapacitor
The most popular way to store energy these days is through a battery. Once you turn the power on, a chemical reaction takes place between the electrodes and electrolytes and this leads to the production of electric energy that powers the appliances and devices that we use every single day. However, batteries rely on electrolytes that could eventually wear out, which is why the batteries must be regularly replaced. Furthermore, batteries tend to take a long time to be fully charged. This is where the capacitors come into play.
Capacitors work differently than a battery. A normal capacitor comprises of two metal plates and there will be a positive or negative buildup on the plates when producing electricity. On the other hand, supercapacitors have a much bigger surface area on their plates and are often coated with porous substances. They work much better than a normal capacitor when it comes to storing power for electricity.
What’s a Hemp Supercapacitor?
Most of the supercapacitors today use graphene, which is a carbon nanomaterial that’s capable of creating electrodes. However, producing graphene is extremely expensive, costing $2,000 for every gram.
Researchers found a chemical alternative in the form of hemp. They discovered a way to process a plant’s woody core into activated carbons by means of chemical activation and hydrothermal processing. The final product is something that could soak more electricity up while offering a much better capacity for energy.
The best thing about this is that the solution requires using a cheaper material that could perform much better than graphene. Moreover, the solution makes use of hemp stems and this is the part that’s usually left unused when processing other hemp products. With the hemp supercapacitor, the entire hemp plant will be used and there won’t be anything left that will go to waste.
More Research is Needed
More research is needed for the hemp supercapacitor. With the recent approval of the Farm Bill, hemp supercapacitor research is expected to take a big leap. When this happens, we will soon be driving vehicles powered by hemp or use hemp-powered mobile phones and home appliances! Indeed, the possibilities for hemp are endless! After the legalization of hemp, a lot of industries are greatly benefiting.