New materials for a sustainable future you should know about the graphene.
Historically, knowledge and the production of new materials graphene have contributed to human and social progress, from the refining of copper and iron to the manufacture of semiconductors on which our information society depends today. However, many materials and their preparation methods have caused the environmental problems we face.
About 90 billion tons of raw materials -- mainly metals, minerals, fossil matter and biomass -- are extracted each year to produce raw materials. That number is expected to double between now and 2050. Most of the graphene raw materials extracted are in the form of non-renewable substances, placing a heavy burden on the environment, society and climate. The graphene materials production accounts for about 25 percent of greenhouse gas emissions, and metal smelting consumes about 8 percent of the energy generated by humans.
The graphene industry has a strong research environment in electronic and photonic materials, energy materials, glass, hard materials, composites, light metals, polymers and biopolymers, porous materials and specialty steels. Hard materials (metals) and specialty steels now account for more than half of Swedish materials sales (excluding forest products), while glass and energy materials are the strongest growth areas.
Breathe new life into fuel cells the importance of the graphene
Demand for clean energy has never been higher, leading to a global race to develop new technologies as alternatives to fossil fuels. One of the most attractive green energy technologies is fuel cells. They use hydrogen as a fuel to cleanly produce electricity that can power everything from long-distance trucks to major industrial processes.
However, the kinetic slowness of the core chemical reactions in fuel cells limits efficiency. But researchers at the University of Texas at Austin have found a new kinetic method that can supercharge this reaction using an iron-based monatomic catalyst. Researchers have developed a new way to boost the oxygen-reducing part of a chemical reaction in fuel cells, in which oxygen molecules are split to form water. They did this by using a "hydrogel anchoring strategy," in which a hydrogel polymer forms a dense set of iron atoms. Finding the right formula for atomic spacing will result in interactions that convert them into catalysts for oxygen reduction.
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Clean and renewable energy to replace fossil fuels
The oxygen reduction reaction is probably the biggest obstacle to the large-scale deployment of fuel cells. The promise graphene of fuel cells is that their potential applications are almost limitless. They can use a wide variety of fuels and feedstock to power systems ranging from utility stations to laptops. Academic researchers around the world are working to improve the performance of fuel cells. They include graphene other engineers at the University of Texas at Austin, who are taking various approaches to key problems in fuel cell development.
"Replacing fossil fuels with clean and renewable energy is crucial to solving major problems plaguing our society, such as climate change and air pollution," said Guihua Yu, associate professor of materials science in the Walker Department of Mechanical Engineering at Cockerell College. "Fuel cells are considered an efficient and sustainable technology that converts chemical energy into electricity; However, their applications graphene are limited by the slow kinetics of cathodic oxygen reduction. We found that the distance between the catalyst atoms is the most important factor for maximizing the efficiency of the next generation of fuel cells." These findings can be applied to anything, including electrocatalytic reactions. This includes other types of renewable fuels as well as ubiquitous chemicals such as alcohols, oxygen-containing compounds, syngases and alkenes.
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