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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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The Ambition of Hemp Nation One

Hemp Nation One: A Global Partnership for Sustainable Innovation

In the face of mounting environmental challenges and a growing demand for sustainable solutions, Hemp Nation One emerges as a beacon of hope for a greener and healthier future. This international cooperation, spanning across diverse sectors and geographies, harnesses the power of hemp to revolutionize our economies, enhance well-being, and foster a more harmonious relationship with the planet.

Sustainable Systems and Truly Green Economy

Hemp Nation One envisions a world where sustainable systems are the norm, not the exception. By leveraging hemp’s versatility and resilience, we can transition to a truly green economy, one that prioritizes environmental protection and resource conservation. Hemp’s remarkable ability to sequester carbon, remediate soil, and produce a wide range of sustainable materials positions it as a cornerstone of this transformation.

Circular Systems and Open Knowledge

Hemp Nation One advocates for a circular economy, where resources are utilized efficiently and waste is minimized. Hemp, with its multiple uses and rapid growth cycle, lends itself perfectly to circularity. By promoting the development of innovative hemp-based products and processes, we can break free from the linear economy’s destructive cycle of extracting, producing, consuming, and discarding.

Open knowledge and collaboration are the cornerstones of Hemp Nation One’s success. By sharing information and best practices, we can expedite the adoption of hemp-based solutions across industries and regions. This collaborative approach empowers communities to harness the power of hemp for their own sustainable development.

Ecological Index for Well-being

Hemp Nation One envisions an Ecological Index that measures the environmental impact of our activities and guides us towards a more sustainable future. This index will incentivize businesses and individuals to prioritize practices that enhance ecological integrity and human well-being.

Replacing Polluting Industries

Hemp Nation One aims to replace polluting industries with hemp-based alternatives, creating a healthier and more sustainable environment for all. Hemp’s ability to replace petrochemical-based products, such as plastics and synthetic fibers, will significantly reduce our reliance on environmentally harmful materials.

Diversity of Quality Products

Hemp Nation One celebrates the diversity of high-quality hemp products that can be developed, from sustainable textiles and construction materials to nutritious food and bio-based pharmaceuticals. This diversity will provide a wide range of options for consumers seeking sustainable alternatives to conventional products.

Healthy Economy Powered by Hemp

Hemp Nation One envisions a healthy economy that is not only environmentally sustainable but also socially equitable and economically prosperous. Hemp’s potential to create jobs, generate revenue, and foster innovation will drive economic growth that benefits all.

In conclusion, Hemp Nation One represents a paradigm shift towards a more sustainable, equitable, and prosperous future. By harnessing the power of hemp, we can revolutionize our economies, enhance well-being, and create a healthier relationship with the planet, leaving a legacy of sustainability for generations to come

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Hemp’s Potential in Nuclear Waste Remediation

Hemp for Nuclear Waste Remediation

Hemp, a variety of cannabis sativa, is known to have several industrial and environmental applications. Recent research has suggested that hemp can be used in nuclear waste remediation. The plant’s ability to absorb heavy metals and other toxic substances makes it a promising candidate for phytoremediation of contaminated soils. Hemp’s potential for nuclear waste remediation not only provides a sustainable solution for the storage and disposal of nuclear waste but also helps in reducing the environmental impacts of nuclear waste.

Nuclear Waste and Its Environmental Impacts

Nuclear waste is a highly toxic and hazardous substance that can cause severe environmental damage if not managed properly. The waste is generated from nuclear power production, nuclear weapons production, and research activities. The environmental impacts of nuclear waste include soil contamination, water pollution, and air pollution. Radioactive waste can remain radioactive for thousands of years, making long-term storage and disposal a significant challenge.

Hemp’s Bioremediation Abilities

Hemp has the ability to absorb and store heavy metals and other contaminants from the soil, a process known as bioremediation. The plant’s roots can penetrate deep into the soil, absorbing toxins and pollutants. Once absorbed, these contaminants are stored in the plant’s tissues, making it an effective tool for soil remediation. Hemp’s bioremediation abilities have been demonstrated in several studies, making it a promising candidate for nuclear waste remediation.

Hemp’s Phytoextraction Properties

Phytoextraction is the process by which plants absorb and accumulate heavy metals from the soil. Hemp has been found to have high levels of metal tolerance and can accumulate high levels of heavy metals such as cadmium, lead, and mercury. The plant’s ability to accumulate these metals makes it a potential candidate for phytoextraction, a process that can be used to remediate contaminated sites.

Hemp’s Advantages Over Traditional Remediation Methods

Traditional methods of soil remediation, such as excavation and incineration, can be expensive and harmful to the environment. Hemp offers several advantages over these traditional methods. For instance, it is a low-cost method of soil remediation, and it does not require the use of heavy machinery. Additionally, hemp is a sustainable and renewable resource that can be grown and harvested on-site.

Hemp’s Role in Phytoremediation

Phytoremediation is the process of using plants to remove pollutants and other contaminants from the soil or water. Hemp’s bioremediation and phytoextraction properties make it a suitable candidate for phytoremediation. The plant can be used to remediate contaminated groundwater, surface water, and soil. Hemp’s ability to remediate nuclear waste could provide a sustainable solution for the disposal and storage of radioactive waste.

Hemp’s Effectiveness in Heavy Metal Removal

Hemp has been found to be effective in the removal of heavy metals from contaminated soils. Studies have shown that hemp can remove up to 90% of heavy metals from contaminated soils. These heavy metals are stored in the plant’s tissues, making it an effective tool for soil remediation. Hemp’s effectiveness in heavy metal removal makes it a promising candidate for nuclear waste remediation.

Challenges and Limitations in Using Hemp for Remediation

There are several challenges and limitations in using hemp for soil remediation. One of the challenges is the plant’s ability to accumulate contaminants without becoming toxic itself. Additionally, the plant’s ability to remediate different types of contaminants may vary, making it important to identify the specific contaminants present in the soil. Hemp’s ability to remediate radioactive waste is also limited by the availability of land and regulations around the use of hemp for phytoremediation purposes.

Hemp’s Potential for Radioactive Soil Cleanup

Hemp’s potential for radioactive soil cleanup is significant. The plant’s ability to absorb and store heavy metals and other contaminants makes it an effective tool for the phytoremediation of contaminated soils. Furthermore, hemp can be grown and harvested on-site, reducing the need for transportation and lowering the cost of remediation.

Future Prospects of Hemp in Nuclear Waste Remediation

The future prospects of hemp in nuclear waste remediation are promising. The plant’s ability to remediate contaminated soils and water provides a sustainable and cost-effective solution for the storage and disposal of nuclear waste. However, further research is needed to identify the specific contaminants that hemp can remediate effectively and the optimal growing conditions for the plant.

Hemp’s Role in Sustainable Remediation

Hemp’s potential for nuclear waste remediation provides a sustainable solution for the disposal and storage of radioactive waste. The plant’s bioremediation and phytoextraction properties make it an effective tool for soil remediation, reducing the environmental impacts of nuclear waste. While hemp’s use for phytoremediation is still in the early stages of development, the plant’s potential for soil remediation is significant, providing a promising future for sustainable remediation.

References and Further Reading

  • “Hemp and the Environment.” Ministry of Hemp, 16 Mar. 2020,
  • “Phytoremediation of Heavy Metals: A Review of Recent Advances and Future Prospects.” Journal of Environmental Management, vol. 214, 2018, pp. 20-30., doi:10.1016/j.jenvman.2018.03.012.
  • “Phytoremediation of Soils Contaminated with Heavy Metals: A Review.” Journal of Environmental Management, vol. 181, 2016, pp. 562-572., doi:10.1016/j.jenvman.2016.06.047.
  • “Radioactive Waste.” U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 11 May 2020,
  • “Remediation of Heavy Metal Contaminated Soil Using Hemp (Cannabis Sativa L.) – Preliminary Results.” Journal of Elementology, vol. 26, no. 2, 2021, pp. 363-375., doi:10.5601/jelem.2020.25.3.1989.