Hemp Waste into New Energy Storage

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Our Thursday green news brings you the latest on green architecture, climate change, energy and communities:

hemp, green energy, clean energy, green ambitions

Photo courtesy of by Edward the Bonobo via Flickr

  • Hemp waste into new energy storage: According to a new research recently published in the journal ACS Nano and presented by Dr. David Mitlin at the 248th National Meeting and Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS), waste fibers from construction hemp can be re-purposed into new-generation of energy storing devices or supercapacitors. These supercapacitors offer a huge advantage over conventional batteries and larger energy storage devices because they can be charged and discharged in seconds, which represents a significant advantage for many technologies such as cars. Currently, the best material used for electrodes that would allow larger energy density rate is graphene, however using graphene to create a supercapacitor would be incredibly costly. As Dr Mitlin explains: “That’s where hemp might offer a significant advantage. We’re making graphene-like materials for a thousandth of the price — and we’re doing it with waste.”
  • The world’s biggest companies are investing in recycling: The Closed Loop Fund is an initiative of a group of large companies (including Colgate Palmolive, Coca-Cola, Goldman Sachs, Johnson & Johnson, Keurig Green Mountain. PepsiCo and the PepsiCo Foundation, Procter & Gamble, Unilever and Walmart and the Walmart Foundation) to invest in a recycling infrastructure and in bringing more recycled materials back into manufacturing supply chains. It also aims to inspire and boost recycling efforts in the United States. Although collections of recycled materials in the U.S. have significantly increased-recycling  of municipal solid waste have more than doubled in the last 22 years (from 16 percent to 34.5 percent in 2012), many valuable materials are still being wasted, according to the most recent U.S. Environmental Protection Agency figures. That represents a massive business opportunity, according a 2012 report from As You Sow. For example, Walmart’s pledge to eliminate 20 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions by the end of 2015 includes a strategy to increase the amount of recycled content in its plastic packaging and products. As Rob Kaplan, Walmart’s director of product sustainability explained: “Anytime we do that, we reduce greenhouse gases and save costs because it’s less expensive to re-refine plastics compared to extracting virgin petroleum from the ground. However, there are inefficiencies in the system that don’t always allow those economics to work.”
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