Could hemp-based batteries change how we store energy?

Published Jun 25, 2023 09:00 a.m. ET
Unsplash / Kumpan Electric

As our need to find more sustainable eco-friendly energy solutions intensifies, researchers and innovators all over the globe are looking at several less conventional materials, one of which is hemp.

This particular variety of cannabis is most well known for its potential applications across various industries to replace materials we know are terrible for the environment like plastic, but in recent years hemp based batteries have become an exciting topic that’s worth exploring.

So far testing results are promising which means that we could soon see hemp batteries being used as a great alternative to more traditional methods of energy storage. In this article, we’ll look at the concept as a whole, to explain whether or not they could truly be the solution for a better, brighter, more sustainable future.

Understanding hemp's full potential

Hemp is an amazing plant that can be used in many different ways. Everything from textiles and biofuel, to packaging, art and even construction materials can be made with hemp fibers.

Due to the strength, durability and high cellulose content of hemp fibers, this plant is also a great potential alternative that could also be used to replace less eco-friendly materials we currently use in numerous modern energy storage applications.

This isn’t just a hopeful theory either. Scientists and researchers are already diving into the properties of hemp derived materials and testing the potential of hemp based carbon nanosheets and electrodes.

Advantages of hemp-based batteries

Traditional energy storage options have worked for decades, so the idea of such a big change and the expense it would bring concerns some people, but with so many new and exciting advantages of hemp derived batteries to consider, it’s important for society to see the bigger picture.

Hemp is a material that’s both renewable and sustainable. These crops require minimal water or pesticides to thrive, and with such a short lifecycle it’s reasonable to expect multiple harvests each year, making it an efficient resource choice too.

Hemp based batteries are also lightweight, cost effective to make, and their creation, use and disposal has a significantly lower negative impact on the environment than conventional batteries.

The key is carbon nanosheets

All of the aforementioned advantages are great, but the key reason hemp batteries are gaining so much attention is due to the success of tested carbon nanosheets that were made using hemp fibers. Nanosheets are incredibly effective at conducting electricity, and they boast a large surface area, both qualities that are necessary for materials used to make battery electrodes in high performance batteries.

With excellent conductivity, a bigger than average surface area, and a unique structure, carbon nanosheets transfer electrodes quickly and efficiently, allowing batteries to store more energy and charge faster than most of the conventional storage solutions we rely on today.


Potential applications

Hemp based batteries could be useful in almost every industry, from renewable energy storage to portable electronics, and even off grid energy systems. Since they’re so lightweight and compact, they could also improve many of the systems we currently have in wearable tech, remote energy circuits, and electric vehicles.

Environmental benefits

We already mentioned a few of the ways cultivating hemp is a more sustainable, eco friendly option compared to other crops, but there are more benefits for the environment to consider. Like how hemp plants are able to absorb carbon dioxide as they grow which could potentially reduce the amount of greenhouse gas our modern society creates every single day.

Switching to hemp based batteries can also help to reduce our reliance on non-renewable sources of  energy bringing us one step closer to a cleaner, brighter, greener future.

Challenges and the future

Hemp based batteries are certainly promising, but there are many barriers that still stand in the way. The technology itself isn’t perfect yet, implementing a change of this magnitude isn’t going to be easy, and some areas still maintain strict laws surrounding hemp cultivation, processing, and use.

We need a better understanding of the scalability of hemp-based battery production, to ensure consistent product quality, and optimizing manufacturing processes will require far more research and development to perfect. People must also wholeheartedly support the widespread adoption of hemp based energy alternatives so increasing public awareness is also a crucial part of the equation.

In conclusion

Hemp batteries are an exciting development that could be evolutionary for the field of energy storage. They’re renewable, cost effective, environmentally friendly and a promising alternative to the conventional batteries we use today. However, there is still plenty of work to be done before we can fully harness the potential of this amazing technology.

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