Thanks to hemp, researchers at Bemp Research Corp. have produced a lithium-sulfur battery that is more recyclable, more cost-effective, and more powerful than lithium-ion batteries.
Instead of using heavy metals like cobalt or nickel, the business uses carbonized hemp to create batteries that are lightweight and robust. While academics across the world have been exploring methods to utilize graphene to create better EV batteries, the material is currently too pricey for widespread manufacturing.
“Hemp is a superior, less expensive alternative. The endurance of hemp can enable the cathode to resist hundreds of contraction and expansion cycles, according to Son Nguyen, founder of Bemp Research, in an interview with EnergyTech. “The porous nature of hemp can assist prevent polysulfides from reaching the anode.”
The usage of hemp also means that these batteries may have a less environmental effects. Professors from Northwestern University who are not affiliated with Bemp Research discovered that cobalt mining had particularly negative effects on local people, including an increase in violence, food, and water insecurity, and health issues.
The working conditions are frequently immoral and hazardous. Mining for heavy metals, such as cobalt, can also harm the land, water, and air, taint food sources, and raise the likelihood of respiratory and reproductive health problems.
Bemp Research said that their LiS/B4C-hemp batteries require only one heavy element, lithium. B4C-hemp refers to a boron carbide manufactured from hemp. This also implies that the batteries are far less difficult to recycle than lithium-ion batteries.
“Sulfur is fairly plentiful. Boron is also reasonably abundant, with the largest boron mine being in California, according to Nguyen. Additionally, we have a strategic alliance with Delta Agriculture, the largest hemp grower in the United States. Delta Agriculture emphasizes that hemp is a legal product that uses minimal water, has no chemicals, and sequesters more carbon than forests.”
In an interview with EnergyTech, the business highlighted that employing a plentiful crop like hemp and other elements that are more readily available than heavy metals may ease supply chain concerns, reduce production costs, and provide safer batteries in the case of damage.
According to Nguyen, the LiS/B4C-hemp battery is safer than lithium-ion batteries because it is less prone to catch fire if it is damaged.
According to studies, the batteries may be charged in as little as 20 minutes and are predicted to last 100,000 miles or longer when charged slowly. The team anticipates widespread manufacturing by 2026, and the batteries will be ideal for heavy-duty electric trucks and electric aircraft.
What is Hemp?
Hemp is a type of plant from the Cannabis Sativa family. People often think of hemp in the same way they think of marijuana, which is another strain of the same species. Even though they come from the same plant species, they are different types of cannabis.
The two are different in how they are used, what chemicals they contain, and how they are grown.
Hemp is grown to make a wide range of things, such as dietary supplements, foods and drinks, personal care products, fabrics and textiles, paper, building materials, and some other manufactured and industrial goods.