Cranial Voyages with Bookworm #3 – Small Solution to the Big Problem of Climate Change?

Drastic changes in our lifestyle.

Big policy changes.

Action on a global scale.

That’s usually what comes to mind when we speak about solving a problem like climate change.

However, lo and behold mankind has come up with a possible solution for the mess we created.

Brand new research from scientists working at Rice University in Texas has opened up huge possibilities for science. They discovered a way to create gases from liquids without heating up the whole container of liquid to a boiling temperature.

Wait. That doesn’t make any sense. You have to heat up a whole pot of water to get steam right?

Turns out there are nano particles that can absorb large amounts of sunlight. These nano particles are so small, that their diameter is smaller than the wavelength of light. Because of this, they can absorb most of the energy a wave of light holds. In fact they absorb so much light energy, they boil the water around them and creates steam.

So why is this ground breaking?

This research, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, could possibly help with a range of global issues. Ocean water desalination may actually become energy efficient and economically viable.  Industries could cut down on energy costs drastically. And of course, this would absolutely reduce the cost of producing electricity.

And the nano particles are not used up so we can re use them over and over to create cheap energy! Hurrah!

The Stats

Just by adding the nano particles to water and putting the solution under sunlight, steam was produced in 5 to 20 seconds.

This new technology has an overall energy efficiency of 24%  compared to photo-voltaic solar panels which have an overall energy efficiency of 15%.

In fact, when using the nano particles to distill alcohol from water, the result was more effective than the conventional boiling technique!

Special Thanks to CBC News and the Washington Post


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