Scientists on the Cusp of Disrupting How We Relate to Energy
Be introduced to a couple brilliant scientists, a Mr. Robert Murray-Smith hailing from the UK and a Dr. David Mitlin of America, who might be on the cusp of disrupting how all of us relate to energy.
Recently, a DarbyHemp reader reached out to see if the team had heard of a these innovators - Mr. Robert Murray-Smith on the left and Professor Mitlin on the right. Their message was sort of hurried, with quick mention of hemp batteries changing how human society relates to energy.
Hold on...a hemp battery?
Now that’s a downright interesting idea!
As of when this article is being written in late October 2019, if you search online around keyword “hemp battery” Mr. Smith absolutely dominates.
Both on YouTube where he has a pretty cool channel with 111K subs, and first-page Google results along with some serious content from the last few years involving hemp fibers competing with graphene for supercapacitors thanks in part to Dr. Mitlin which we’ll get to in a moment.
In Mr. Smith’s most viewed video on the subject so far entitled, “Hemp Battery - Almost Unbelievable” he presents an energy cell or battery he created out of simple parts and a big handful of processed hemp fiber-turned-carbon-ink.
His hemp battery with only 0.1g of hemp carbon ink material was able to last for a little over an hour and a half.
“It was just so exciting to see that running for an hour and a half, actually running that motor for an hour and a half, that I couldn’t resist putting up another video….it was just too exciting not to share.”
In the next video “Hemp Battery As Good As Lithium Ion?” he runs some tests on another simple hemp-carbon battery with promising results yet again.
“What we know is that tiny device will run that little motor for about twenty minutes or so. That’s pretty cool for something like that, baring in mind it’s not a graphene device, this is a structured carbon and it’s performing superbly.”
What this video leads to is the followup, “Hemp - Outshines Lithium” where he uses an assortment of amps/volts tracking machines to prove his structured carbon battery with hemp-carbon ink outperforms lithium - 34 to 4 mHa.
Don’t worry, if you’re not deeply into battery science and feeling really skeptical there’s a recent video from September 2019 as an update to all this he aptly named, “How to Make A Hemp Battery - Complete Instructions” that walks you through his process in 27 minutes.
If none of this hemp carbon vs. lithium stuff floats your boat, his video on how to make plastic out of hemp fiber, milk and tea is also fascinating.
Finally, if you’d like to dig deeper into his platform check out www.WorkingInk.co.uk where you can shop for supplies to fuel your own energy experiments and much more.
Hemp Supercapacitors Gaining Steam
David Mitlin, Ph.D., and his fellow University of Alberta scientists were ahead of their time in 2014. Industrial hemp in America was only just coming back in that year, with essentially no domestic supply of the fiber.
Regardless, they presented to the American Chemical Society evidence showing their hemp supercapacitor - a type of rechargeable battery - outperformed commercial supercapacitors by a large margin in both energy density and range of operational temperatures, for a fraction of the price of conventional graphene-based options.
Here’s the thing - no major company makes hemp-derived supercapacitors...yet.
Fast forward to 2018, and it was reported Mitlin’s lab through Clarkson University would be receiving $127,000 in grant money thanks to their Small Business Technology Transfer program award.
“Clarkson University Professor, Alumnus Secure Funding to Continue Partnership on Hemp Based Carbon Battery Materials”
Dr. Mitlin said he intended to collaborate to develop and then bring to market his patented hemp-based carbon battery materials.
“I am using hemp-derived carbon nanosheets as a substitute for graphite to allow for much faster charging in high powered lithium-ion batteries. I can safely charge in under 10 minutes.“
After checking we found no recent news concerning Dr. Mitlin, but can't wait to until it crosses our virtual desks.
Why This Matters
Today (10/23/19) there was actually a first of its kind hearing held by the The House Oversight Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Civil Liberties in Washington D.C. where representatives began “Examining the Oil Industry’s Effort to Suppress the Truth about Climate Change”.
How about suppression of many kinds of answers to the dilemmas being brought about by climate change?
The way we human beings get around and move things has profound impacts on everyone’s lives. All life on earth in fact. Financially, based on environmental and political pressures the smart play is more sustainable power generation.
So there’s something in this story for everybody - agriculturists, energy storage and production nerds, environmentalists, innovators, social justice activists, and investors. Based on what these scientists are showing us, we can charge and change our lives through harnessing the power of hemp.
This matters because at the same time these sorts of innovations rumble below the surface, hundreds of billions are exchanging corporate hands backing the wide-scale adoption of industrial hemp farming across America, Canada, European nations, China, India, and on and on….
The 2018 Farm Bill in America didn’t catch much attention thanks to the president who signed it getting all the PR, but for anyone familiar with the crop and its accolades since his predecessor signed the 2014 Farm Bill...it was a huge game changer.
As an agency the USDA is about to release national guidelines on the newly christened U.S. hemp farming industry in time for the 2020 season...marking the complete end of industrial hemp prohibition in the span of about 6 years.
Why Now? What gives?
With stories like these appearing on the radar screen we’re talking next-agricultural-revolution, change-everyone’s-lives, someone-call-Mark-Wahlberg-level developments!
Energy Supply Chain Woes and Wobbles
Look at the bigger supply chain here in terms of how conventional fossil fuels and lithium or graphite for our batteries are extracted from the earth, vs. powering our vehicles, our phones and rechargeable gadgetry with plant-based energy cells.
From this kind of environmental carnage…
To harnessing superior natural systems where carbon sequestration is baked into the pie along with other organic, sustainable farming practices:
Photosynthesis and the genius of the cannabis sativa species are at our disposal, specifically industrial hemp strains and multi-purpose cultivars supplying both biomass for biofuel production along with fiber for things like Interconnected Carbon Nanosheets Derived for Ultrafast Supercapacitors with High Energy…or to quote Dr. Mitlin and his researchers:
“This novel precursor-synthesis route presents a great potential for facile large-scale production of high-performance carbons for a variety of diverse applications including energy storage.”
Instead of taking carbon from the earth along with all the needed precious minerals for lithium batteries or batteries involving expensive graphene nanosheets, and releasing it into the atmosphere…
...we derive our core energy needs from a plant species that uses photosynthesis to capture carbon from the air and put it a) back into the soil and b) into use through its fibers which are 100% biodegradable.
This is the type of story that signals we’re really at ground zero for a massive course correction. Nothing, absolutely nothing, alters the course of human events and defines our collectives destinies more than shifts and revolutions within energy capture, processing, distribution and storage.
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