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The need to develop super capacitors

iHemp Washington
‘The center of all things hemp’
The need to develop super capacitors

With over 500,00 uses for the hemp plant claimed it may come as no surprise that none of the plant need go to waste. Researchers are using so called waste fibres and fines from the decortication of the stem to create lower-cost energy storage.

Alternet Systems, a company dedicated to energy storage and EV tech, has purchased land in New York to grow and process hemp as a component in supercapacitors, a form of energy storage that can be charged much faster than lithium-ion or any other type of battery.

Using hemp for energy storage

In February 2019, Alternet Systems hired David Mitlin, a professor at New York’s Clarkson University who has been researching hemp for energy storage for years. Mitlin’s research uses hemp bast, the bark of the hemp plant and a waste product during hemp production, as a replacement for graphene, a much more expensive material, in supercapacitors.

Because of its strength and light weight, manufacturers use graphene, a material composed of an atom-thick layer of carbon, to create nanosheets for capacitor electrodes.

However, it’s quite expensive. The hemp bast Mitlin uses is much cheaper than graphene and, on top of that, Mitlin says their hemp supercapacitors have been able to store 12 watt-hours of energy per kilogram – over 2x as high as conventional supercapacitors.

By heating the hemp bast for 24 hours at 350 F, then adding even more heat afterwards, Mitlin found they can turn the bast into carbon nanosheets, just like the conventional graphene nanosheets.

In a 2014 interview with American Chemical Society, Mitlin noted: “We’re past the proof-of-principle stage for the fully functional supercapacitor,” he says. “Now we’re gearing up for small-scale manufacturing.”

Elon Musk, always the visionary, predicted that supercapacitors, not hydrogen, would be the breakthrough for electric vehicles.

“Ultracapacitors charge and discharge in seconds, have a lifetime of up to 500 times that of lithium-ion batteries, and are highly reliable.”

Supercapacitors charge quickly, but can’t store much energy

Like lithium-ion batteries, supercapacitors are able to store electricity, though each has its own unique benefits and drawbacks that limit their applications.

Li-ion batteries enjoy fantastic energy density, meaning they’re able to hold large amounts of electricity at one time – about 100 to 200 watt-hours per kilogram. They’re also relatively inexpensive, making lithium a good complement for renewable energy systems.

However, lithium-ion batteries aren’t perfect. They take a long time to recharge. They suffer from a limited lifespan due to the wearing down of internal components. And while they can store lots of electricity, they can’t provide a lot of power in a single instant.

Supercapacitors, on the other hand, can charge in seconds and provide huge amounts of power instantaneously. They enjoy almost limitless lifecycle, as there are no internal components that break down, and they can charge and discharge in much wider range of temperatures.

However, supercapacitors have been left on the sideline due to extremely high cost and low energy density. While lithium-ion batteries can hold 100 to 200 watt-hours of electricity per kilogram, supercapacitors can only hold about 5 watt-hours per kg.

This makes supercapacitors worthless as energy storage for renewable systems, as they can’t hold enough energy to really be useful. However, in situations where short bursts of high energy are needed, supercapacitors are the perfect fit. For example, supercapacitors in hybrid buses equipped with regenerative braking are able to quickly harness that energy produced during braking, then immediately release it seconds later to help the hybrid bus accelerate.

Like in the hybrid buses above, supercapacitors work best when paired with a primary energy source, like a gas-fueled engine or batteries. The engine or battery provides the consistent power, and the supercapacitor provides short bursts of high power when needed.

Are supercapacitors the next step in energy storage?

If we were able to increase the energy density of supercapacitors -and decrease the cost-so they were on par with lithium-ion batteries, they could change the face of electric industry. We’d have extremely flexible energy storage with near-endless lifespan. Talk about cost-effectiveness!

Obviously, the allure is enough to peak serious investment in the technology. Energy storage and EV tech companies and researchers are actively trying to solve these supercapacitor issues. Alternet Systems is hoping Mitlin can help bring down the cost (and increase the energy density) of supercapacitors by replacing the expensive graphene with low-cost hemp bast fibre.

Link: Hemp – batteries 

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10 Reasons to swith the production economy to hemp

1. Sustainability and Environmental Benefits

Hemp is a remarkably sustainable crop, requiring minimal water, pesticides, and fertilizers compared to conventional crops. Its rapid growth cycle allows for multiple harvests per year, further enhancing its sustainability.

2. Economic Diversification and Job Creation

The cultivation, processing, and utilization of hemp can generate significant economic opportunities, creating new jobs and businesses in various sectors, including agriculture, textiles, construction, and biofuels.

3. Resource Efficiency and Waste Reduction

Hemp can replace a wide range of environmentally harmful materials, such as conventional plastics, paper, and cotton, reducing our reliance on these resources and minimizing waste generation.

4. Soil Regeneration and Improvement

Hemp has the remarkable ability to improve soil health by replenishing nutrients and organic matter, making it a valuable tool for sustainable agriculture.

5. Environmentally Friendly Building Materials

Hempcrete, a composite material made from hemp fibers and lime, is a sustainable and eco-friendly alternative to conventional building materials, offering excellent insulation, soundproofing, and fire resistance.

6. Natural and Sustainable Personal Care Products

Hemp-based personal care products provide a gentle and natural alternative to conventional products, offering skin and hair care benefits without harsh chemicals or environmental impact.

7. Nutritious and Sustainable Foods

Hemp seeds are a rich source of protein, fiber, and essential fatty acids, making hemp-based foods a healthy and sustainable addition to our diet.

8. Circular Production Streams and Waste Reduction

Hemp’s versatility allows for a wide range of applications, reducing the need for single-use plastics and other disposable materials, promoting circular production streams.

9. Innovative Applications and Research

Hemp offers a wealth of potential applications across various industries, from textiles and construction to pharmaceuticals and biofuels, fostering innovation and research.

10. Contribution to a Cleaner and Greener Planet

Switching to sustainable hemp production can significantly reduce our environmental impact, promoting a cleaner and healthier planet for future generations.

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Funding Ship R&D: Crowdfunding and Legal Considerations

Funding Ship R&D

Developing the latest technology for ships can be expensive, which is why many companies turn to crowdfunding as a way to raise funds for research and development. Crowdfunding is a way to raise money from a large number of people to finance a project or business venture. With crowdfunding, a company can reach a broad audience and receive small donations from many individuals. However, there are legal considerations that must be taken into account when using crowdfunding to fund ship R&D.

Crowdfunding Fundamentals

Crowdfunding is a way for individuals or companies to raise money from a large number of people, typically through an online platform. These platforms allow companies to post their projects and invite people to donate to help fund them. Crowdfunding typically works on a rewards-based system, where individuals who donate receive a reward or incentive based on the amount of money they contribute.

Crowdfunding can be used for many different types of projects, including ship R&D. A company can use crowdfunding to raise funds for researching and developing new technologies for ships, such as eco-friendly propulsion systems or advanced navigation systems.

Pros and Cons of Crowdfunding

One of the main benefits of crowdfunding is that it allows a company to reach a large audience and receive small donations from many individuals. This can be particularly useful for ship R&D because the costs of research and development can be high.

However, there are also some drawbacks to crowdfunding. One potential issue is that it can take a lot of time and effort to create a successful crowdfunding campaign. Additionally, a company may be required to give away equity in their company or offer other incentives to attract donors, which can dilute ownership and control.

Legal Considerations for Crowdfunding

When using crowdfunding to fund ship R&D, there are a number of legal considerations that must be taken into account. One of the most important is ensuring that the crowdfunding campaign complies with all applicable securities laws.

In the United States, for example, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) regulates the sale of securities, including crowdfunding. A company must comply with SEC regulations when raising funds through crowdfunding to ensure that they are not violating any rules.

Protecting Investors with SEC Regulations

One of the main reasons for SEC regulations is to protect investors. When investing in a crowdfunding campaign, individuals are putting their money at risk. Regulations help to ensure that investors have access to accurate and complete information about the company and the investment opportunity.

To comply with SEC regulations, a company must provide detailed information about the investment opportunity, including financial statements, business plans, and other relevant information. The company must also provide periodic updates to investors about the use of funds and the progress of the project.

Other Legal Considerations for Crowdfunding

In addition to SEC regulations, there are other legal considerations that must be taken into account when using crowdfunding to fund ship R&D. These may include tax laws, intellectual property laws, and consumer protection laws.

A company should consult with a lawyer to ensure that they are complying with all relevant laws and regulations before launching a crowdfunding campaign. Failure to comply with applicable laws and regulations can result in legal consequences, including fines and penalties.

The Role of Intellectual Property

Intellectual property (IP) is a critical consideration when developing new technologies for ships. IP rights can include patents, trademarks, and copyrights, and they are essential for protecting the company’s investment in R&D.

A company should conduct a thorough IP analysis before launching a crowdfunding campaign to ensure that they have adequate protection for their technology. This may involve filing patents, trademarks, or other forms of IP protection to prevent others from using the company’s technology without permission.

Protecting Your IP During Crowdfunding

When launching a crowdfunding campaign, a company should take steps to protect their IP. This may involve using non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) to prevent investors from sharing information about the technology with others.

A company should also ensure that their crowdfunding campaign does not disclose too much information about the technology, which could jeopardize their ability to obtain IP protection. Working with a lawyer can help to ensure that a company’s IP is protected during the crowdfunding process.

Navigating Patent Law and Crowdfunding

Patent law can be particularly complex when it comes to crowdfunding, as the crowdfunding process can involve disclosing information that could impact the company’s ability to obtain a patent.

A company should work with a patent lawyer to ensure that their crowdfunding campaign does not disclose too much information about the technology, which could jeopardize their ability to obtain a patent. The patent lawyer can also help to ensure that the company’s patent application is in order before launching the crowdfunding campaign.

Best Practices for Crowdfunding Success

To ensure a successful crowdfunding campaign, a company should follow best practices, including setting realistic funding goals, creating a compelling campaign page, and communicating regularly with investors.

A company should also be transparent about their progress and use of funds, providing regular updates to investors to keep them informed. Finally, a company should be prepared to answer questions and respond to inquiries from potential investors to build trust and credibility.

Conclusion: Crowdfunding Ship R&D

Crowdfunding can be a useful tool for companies looking to fund ship R&D. However, there are legal considerations that must be taken into account to ensure a successful campaign. By following best practices, working with a lawyer, and protecting their IP, companies can use crowdfunding to raise funds for ship R&D while complying with applicable laws and regulations.

Resources for Crowdfunding and Legal Support

There are a number of resources available to companies looking to use crowdfunding to fund ship R&D, including crowdfunding platforms, legal resources, and IP lawyers. Companies should conduct thorough research to find the best resources for their needs, and work with qualified professionals to ensure that their crowdfunding campaign complies with all applicable laws and regulations.