Climate change is upon us. It needs to be addressed and be a priority. Searching for sources of alternative energy is an important topic and there is an important mineral that can potentially make a huge difference for future generations.
For several years now, I enjoy getting business advice from CVMR Corporation (CVMR) CEO Kamran Khozan. His firm CVMR has a nanotech and metallurgical expertise in Graphite and Graphene. Graphite which is also known as meta-anthracite is considered to be the highest grade of coal. CEO Kamran has been working through his firm on impact innovations specifically in the graphite industry, something that I had never expected has applications in the field of alternative energy. It is ironic to think that something as dirty as coal can be used for clean technology.
CVMR announced last year that it had developed two new ways of producing Graphite and Graphene. First is by way of Anthracite beneficiation using far less energy in the operation than current processes require, and second is by cracking methane gas. The company recently announced that it has developed sponges, blocks, flakes and powders made of graphite that can be utilized in several industrial applications. It can endure heat up to a maximum of 3,000° C, and under the right conditions could even store and absorb it. Graphite is also very difficult to ignite. It is especially useful to different industries because they are flame retardant; chemically inert; strong and stable at high temperatures; can absorb vapors, gases and radio waves; resistant to corrosion and chemicals; has a high electrical and thermal conductivity; self-lubricating; and possesses the flexibility of filaments and stiffness of solids.
It could be the perfect alternative to Silicon or CIGS (copper-indium-gallium-selenide). Most of us know that Silicon and CIGS are two of the materials that can convert solar power into heat energy. Compared to Silicon or CIGS, graphite is cheaper as it is commonly used for our pencils. Think of the possibilities and advantages of using graphite instead of silicon or CIGS in the production of a solar power receptor.
CVMR, in cooperation with its sister company, M-Power Corporation, has also invented a series of electricity generating units that can provide electricity from solar heat, using graphite blocks as heat collectors and storage units. This is a true paradigm shift in generating electricity from the sunlight and even from the ambient air in certain places. The units have no moving parts, use graphite to collect heat and convert it to energy without any noise, or other kinds of pollution. This is truly a game changer in the field of renewable energy.
New sources of graphite are continuously being discovered. There are prospective high-quality resources in North America and Sri Lanka. Other countries that can also be new sources are Africa, Indonesia and Australia.
Experts forecast that the consumption of Graphite, in all its forms, will increase by 2020. It was also predicted that there will be a continued shift in the graphite market. Although these predictions are something to look forward to in the coming years, we have to remember that one mineral could only do so much for our planet. We have to dig deeper, figuratively and literally, to find more and alternative sources of energy.
Image credit: Henk Caspers/Naturalis Biodiversity Center [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons