Category: Chemistry

Quantum Dots

Quantum Dots

Quantum Dots

02/24/19

“What is the next big revolution in semiconductors?”

 

Semiconductors technology is going through a revolution. Nanosize semiconductor materials known as Quantum Dots which can give off light when illuminated are starting to be developed. Their small size allows them to be much more efficient than typical semiconductors and can give off a broader range of lights.

 

Image credit i.ytimg.com

High-level Radioactive Waste

High-level Radioactive Waste

High-level Radioactive Waste

02/20/19

“What is the byproduct of nuclear energy?”

 

Nuclear energy is one of the promising power sources for the decarbonized future. However, like everything in this world it comes with serious consequences. The spent Uranium fuel rods will still give off enough radiation to kill a person for a quarter of a million years, meaning that this High-level Radioactive Waste must be contained somewhere.

 

Image credit http://www.world-nuclear.org

Methanol Fuel

Methanol Fuel

Methanol Fuel

02/18/19

“What is a more optimal fuel than gasoline?”

 

While gasoline is the most widespread vehicle fuel in the world, recent advances in science and technology have created competitors. One in particular comes in the form of Methanol Fuel. Methanol fuel is synthesized from carbon dioxide and hydrogen burns cleaner and is cheaper to produce sustainably than ethanol. Since it does not produce a thick cloud of smoke upon use, it is often used in racing applications. Although methanol is less toxic than petroleum, there exist very few methanol refueling stations, it is commonly found in a mixture with other fuels.

Image credit https://toxtown.nlm.nih.gov

Cellulosic Ethanol

Cellulosic Ethanol

Cellulosic Ethanol

02/13/19

“How can we make potentially more sustainable fuels from plants?”

 

Fuel is the most common energy storage method in the world. Whether it is used in consumer vehicles, aircraft, or submarines, fuel seems to be present. However, the common petroleum or natural-gas derived fuel is quite disastrous for the environment, being one of the leading causes of greenhouse gas generation. So how can we make a cleaner substitute? Well, what if we were to instead make fuel from the stringy-fiber of a plant? This is known as Cellulosic Ethanol and has the potential to be a paradigm shift since it would not compete with existing food crops and does not emit greenhouse gasses. However, if land usage is implemented into the lifecycle analysis, then Cellulosic Ethanol is more destructive due to its intense water and land usage.

 

Image credit wi-images.condecdn.net

The Works of Marie M. Daly

The Works of Marie M. Daly

The Works of Marie M. Daly

07/09/19

“Why is the work of Marie M. Daly (the first Black American Woman to receive a Ph.D. in Chemistry in the United States) so important?”

 

During her lifetime, Marie M. Daly was a prolific scientist. Trained as a Biochemist from Columbia University, she sought to understand the fundamental workings of the human body. During her career, she uncovered many of its secrets such as methods for the fractionalization of nuclear material to separate the essentials of a cell into its various components, The role of ribonucleoprotein in protein synthesis (which was later used in Watson and Crick’s discoveries of DNA structure), as well as work on cholesterol, hypertension, and creatine. In short, The Works of Marie M. Daly are paramount to our collective understanding of human biochemistry.  

 

Image credit Balis, M. E., Samarth, K. D., Hamilton, M. G., & Petermann, M. L. (1958). Role of the ribonucleoprotein particle in protein synthesis and the effects of growth hormone. Journal of Biological Chemistry233(5), 1152-1155.

Why Hydrogen Fuel Cells Work for Heavy Trucking

Why Hydrogen Fuel Cells Work for Heavy Trucking

Why Hydrogen Fuel Cells Work for Heavy Trucking

02/05/19

“Why might hydrogen fuels cells be the future of heavy trucking?”

 

In order to decarbonize heavy trucking freight transport, the replacement system needs to have high energy density and low weight so it doesn’t bog down the cars on their long rides. This way Hydrogen Fuel Cells would be perfect due to satisfying both of these. This is Why Hydrogen Fuel Cells Work for Heavy Trucking.

Recycling Rare Earth Minerals

Recycling Rare Earth Minerals

Recycling Rare Earth Minerals

01/28/19

“How can we reuse rare earth minerals?”

 

Rare Earth Minerals are vital for the operation of distributed energy technologies. But their extraction process is extremely pollutive and their supply is limited. But what if were to simply reuse them from old products? This way, we can increase the availability of their supply and help create a circular economy. As a result Recycling Rare Earth Minerals can be of great use to the world.

Image credit https://climate.nasa.gov