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Imagine that natural, old-fashioned hemp may be the ticket to our energy future. Researchers have demonstrated that an efficient carbon electrode can be made by simply by heating hemp bast fibers in a two-stage process.
The resulting substance holds as much energy as graphene, but is much cheaper to make. It’s much more tolerant of temperature extremes, too, and can survive anything from freezing conditions to a scorching 200F. It’s easy to see the potential impact.
Graphene is already being tested for both regular batteries and supercapacitors, which charge up almost instantly and don’t degrade; it’s feasible that future electric cars and mobile devices could have affordable, hemp-based energy packs that top up within seconds.
The technology might also be used as a graphene substitute in other areas, such as solar cells and touchscreens. It’s not just a proof of concept, either — a small Canadian firm is working on scaling hemp electrode production, and US production is increasingly realistic as legal hemp production expands. You may eventually carry a phone powered by the same plant used to make your handbag. Who knows!