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Science

Possible Graphene Alternative Made From Hemp Waste 212

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the natural-alternative dept.
MTorrice writes "A low-cost chemical process can turn hemp fiber into carbon nanomaterials. Researchers used the materials to make devices called supercapacitors that provide quick bursts of electrical energy. Supercapacitors made with the hemp nanosheets put out more power than commercial devices can." According to one of the authors, "Hemp bast is a nanocomposite made up of layers of lignin, hemicellulose, and crystalline cellulose ... If you process it the right way, it separates into nanosheets similar to graphene." Perhaps the process could be applied to related plants (hops?) too.
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Possible Graphene Alternative Made From Hemp Waste

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    If only pot were legal, and free, we could all just sit around getting high all the time and the world would be a better place. Government will provide what we need by taking it from evil rich people.

    Yay, free pot!

    • by KGIII (973947) on Wednesday May 15, 2013 @02:03PM (#43733771) Journal

      Pot. Is there anything it can't do? /might be a little high right now actually

      • by isorox (205688) on Wednesday May 15, 2013 @02:41PM (#43734105) Homepage Journal

        Pot. Is there anything it can't do? /might be a little high right now actually

        It can't call the kettle black.

        • by Jeremiah Cornelius (137) on Wednesday May 15, 2013 @05:17PM (#43735301) Homepage Journal

          Tech epicenter moves from Santa Clara to Humboldt county.

          "Dude! Where's the check for our startup money. The guy from ImpossibleVentures was here, and I KNOW I put the cheque SOMEWHERE!"

        • by KGIII (973947) on Wednesday May 15, 2013 @10:21PM (#43737473) Journal

          LOL True. It can't do that.

          Anyhow... I'm THAT guy. The guy that smokes and doesn't actually think that legalizing it will solve all the world's problems. I'm in favor of legalization and think that it would help solve *some* problems however. It is legal for me to smoke and grow now but I still think it should be legalized and subject to reasonable taxation.

          In case you're curious, I got my card because I have issues sleeping. I still have plenty of trouble sleeping but now I get to smoke weed legally. It hasn't helped though it does ease the paranoia to imbibe legally.

          I figure it would help lower budgets and stop us from incarcerating people for that particular victimless crime.

          • by kilfarsnar (561956) on Thursday May 16, 2013 @09:53AM (#43740377)
            Legalizing marijuana and hemp would actually solve a lot of problems though. As you say we could stop locking all these people up for a mostly harmless activity. But it would also open up hemp as an industrial resource. As I'm sure you know hemp is useful for all kinds of stuff from textiles to paper to seed oil and meal. It grows fast and has little need for pesticides. But we can't grow it domestically because of our stupid prohibition.
    • by interkin3tic (1469267) on Wednesday May 15, 2013 @02:05PM (#43733803)
      Plot twist: Marijuana summons Cthulhu to destroy the world. The "assholes" knew this whole time, they genuinely were acting in our best interests. Had they told us the reason why they wanted it illegal, we'd laugh them off. They were hoping we could get to the point where we could fight back, sometime in 2050, but no, the dirty hippies won and we were no match for the ancient ones.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Molochi (555357)

        You laugh, but marijuana in larger doses is said to induce "paranoia" and "hallucinations". However, these are just the codewords the government use to hide the fact that your pineal gland is being stimulated and re-activated. Anyone that has seen the documentary From Beyond, can imagine what will happen if this drug reached a critical mass of use and lowered The Veil that that separates THEM from us.

  • Great! (Score:5, Funny)

    by nospam007 (722110) * on Wednesday May 15, 2013 @01:26PM (#43733361)

    My ashtray is full of carbon nanomaterials stemming from hemp products.

    Am I rich now?

  • by geoskd (321194) on Wednesday May 15, 2013 @01:37PM (#43733463)

    They did in fact create a system that puts out more instantaneous energy per unit weight, but that is not the improvement that super capacitors need. They have improved gravimetric power density. The two measures that need improvement to make super capacitors more useful are gravimetric energy density (how much energy can it store in a given weight), and volumetric energy density. How much energy can it store in a given volume. Without significant improvements in those two areas, super capacitors cannot make significant inroads against batteries.

    It should also be noted that super capacitors already have better power density than chemical batteries by a wide margin, and are more than sufficient to replace I.C. engines and gasoline in that respect.

    • It should also be noted that super capacitors already have better power density than chemical batteries by a wide margin, and are more than sufficient to replace I.C. engines and gasoline in that respect.

      On the other hand they don't provide yet another excuse to incorporate hemp into yet another product or process. I consider hemp to be a sort of "wonder" material, as in, "I wonder what they'll try to put hemp in next just because they can.*" Oh, look! Another item with hemp in it! Surely US hemp policy must be changed now! No doubt it is a useful material, but it is easy to get the impression that hemp advocates are trying just a little too hard. It's also funny how the hemp advocacy often seems to r

      • by Splab (574204) on Wednesday May 15, 2013 @04:19PM (#43734813)

        The thing about hemp is it is bloody robust, you don't need GMO plants, you don't need nasty chemicals to make them grow - Earth, water and some sun and you are good to go.

        Making stuff out of hemp is a very eco friendly thing to do. (And you don't need to use the smoke-able hemp)

    • They did in fact create a system that puts out more instantaneous energy per unit weight, but that is not the improvement that super capacitors need. They have improved gravimetric power density. The two measures that need improvement to make super capacitors more useful are gravimetric energy density (how much energy can it store in a given weight), and volumetric energy density. How much energy can it store in a given volume. Without significant improvements in those two areas, super capacitors cannot make significant inroads against batteries.

      It should also be noted that super capacitors already have better power density than chemical batteries by a wide margin, and are more than sufficient to replace I.C. engines and gasoline in that respect.

      Yes but do they have the correct price to manufacture to beat internal combustion; and is it scalable; how much will it cost to shove out a 100 million super capacitor powered cars; do we currently have the supply of materials needed to supply the automotive industry; How much will the patent licensing cost? The patents of internal combustion have expired decades ago. Then you have the cost of building a power distribution infrastructure, charging stations, power transportation (improvement to the power gri

  • by jfengel (409917) on Wednesday May 15, 2013 @01:46PM (#43733583) Homepage Journal

    The wiki link to "bast" refers to a dozen species that produce basts, including flax, wisteria, mulberry, and kudzu.

    Is there a reason to go for hemp in particular, aside from the usual hemp-will-solve-everything? Flax is also produced in industrial quantities. TFA doesn't mention why they chose hemp bast.

    Look, I'm all for legalized weed and hate the propaganda that makes it out as a devil drug, but I'm not any bigger fan of exaggerations about the wonders of hemp. At least on this web site, it would be nice to look at actual data, rather than who can out-propagandize everybody else.

    • by Darinbob (1142669)

      Yes there are other plants, but they're boring and do not serve as a backdoor totally-innocent-don't-look-at-me-like-that way to get marijuana legal. Every time there's a known stoner advocating for hemp it sets back the movement.

  • Ugh, potheads (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Zadaz (950521) on Wednesday May 15, 2013 @01:57PM (#43733721)

    For all I know this is valid scientific research. But I can't even be bothered to find out because potheads have stigmatized hemp. "Dude, do you know hemp is 85% more efficient biomass than bacon?" "You know that hemp fibers can be turned into inferior yet expensive paper, right?" "Hemp-o-lene, it's either hemp biofuel or something you jump on." Which all are quite obviously thin excuses to grow more "medicinal"* hemp.

    And hemp is a pretty great material, but every time I see an article that talks about a new industrial use I can't help thinking it comes from the same people who giggle when they hear "420" and snerk when they mention how they're into 'hydroponics'.

    Seriously folks, if you want me to take you (hemp or pot smokers) seriously you need to clean up your game. Don't smoke a bowl on April 20th, instead bring to my attention how we really don't know the medical properties of cannabis because of government overregulation (or whatever, anything that has real promise to someone who has no interest in smoking pot.)

    *Medicine is sold at drug stores, not in shadowy places with a bouncer at the door and punny names like "Grass Roots Clinic" or "Foggy Daze Dispensary".

    • Re:Ugh, potheads (Score:5, Informative)

      by WillgasM (1646719) on Wednesday May 15, 2013 @02:31PM (#43734033) Homepage
      Hemp's illegal because weed's illegal. But why's weed illegal; because someone long ago wanted to make hemp illegal. They had controlling share of an opposing market and wanted to eliminate the competition. Here we are decades later wishing to make hemp legal again, but we can't because apparently people still believe jazz musicians are trying to corrupt our white women. Forget the hempen trojan horse; I don't want pot legalized on a technicality. By default, pot should be legal unless someone can give me a valid reason to ban it. The reason it's illegal today is the same root reason it was banned in the first place: there's a powerful industry that makes money from pot being illegal. The paper/textile industries agenda has been replaced (and dwarfed) by our private prison system. "because we'll lose money" is not a good reason to impose regulation. I shouldn't have to defend pot because I've yet to see a valid attack.
  • by tekrat (242117) on Wednesday May 15, 2013 @02:38PM (#43734073) Homepage Journal

    So since William Randolph Hearst demonized Hemp and forever tied to to Pot, it's been illegal to grow in the USA. You do realize that in most of the free world, you can walk into a grocery store and still buy products made from Coca leaf?

    And yet in the "land of the free" almost everything is banned. Except guns. And you need those in case the government "takes away your rights". I hope you see the tremendous irony there.

  • Reminds me of a story from ITER (giant tokamak being built in the south of France), where they used low-tech coconut shells to solve a really high-tech problem. Sometimes Nature provides us with solutions that work better than anything man-made.

    They need to build cryocoolers to remove helium and contaminants from the reactor, and the best material they've tested so far, came from burnt shells of coconuts imported from Indonesia. So the EU has been busy stockpiling enough coconuts to last the lifetime of IT

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