Hello again!

Hello again, to whoever may read this blog! I have been taking a break for a while from writing in this since I graduated from Western this past June. I’m entering the frightening and difficult world of finding a job as a recent college grad.

This morning however, I was reading an article on Gizmag about solar energy storage and decided this was something worth reporting on. If you want to read it yourself, it isn’t very long and not terribly scientific: http://www.gizmag.com/chemical-nanotube-solar-energy-storage/19228/

The summary of the article is this: scientists at MIT have found a way of better storing solar energy for later use. Awesome. We need to advance the technologies of solar energy or people will continue to dismiss it as an unreliable alien method of energy capable of only powering one measly light in your home if you’re lucky and the sun is shining hot and bright. The method that scientists have found is to use carbon nanotubes combined with a chemical compound called azobenzene. And this got me thinking about where I have heard of chemicals containing Benzene. Benzene compounds are used in soft drinks, agricultural pesticides, and various other things. They are known carcinogens and have been connected to organ failure and disruption of the endocrine system. I’m not entirely sure from the article how this chemical would be stored, what the risk of exposure to humans would be, but it doesn’t seem like a very environmentally friendly method for trying to enhance a form of energy designed to reduce our impacts upon the ecosystem. Another issue would concern disposal. If this chemical were to be contained in a battery like storage device, most likely, that device does have an expiration date. So what happens to that product when it is no longer usable? Into the dump? Will this chemical leach out of its container and contaminate the surrounding ecosystem?

Now, I’m no expert (yet!), so I couldn’t go making suggestions for what to do. I just feel strongly about certain things NOT to do. Maybe with more research and education I could begin to hypothesize my own method of storing solar energy. Because there is no arguing that it is a vital piece in allowing us to better use energy derived from the sun. I know that scientists do their best, but surely this isn’t the right direction in “green chemistry”.

That’s all for today. Take care.

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