Gold, Silver, and Copper Could Be Vessels for Green Energy
Quantum chemists believe that gold, silver, and copper could be promising candidates for hydrogen storage.
This has huge implications for green energy, as hydrogen is incredibly volatile and challenging to store at ambient temperatures. Dr. Cristina Trujillo, a research fellow at Trinity College Dublin’s School of Chemistry, said in an interview with phys.org, "Among the greatest challenges facing humanity is the growing need to stop global warming… For decades now many research groups across the world have put their efforts into this issue. One of the most studied alternatives has been hydrogen as a clean and CO2-free energy source, but it presents multiple problems due to its reactivity, and low density and stability. Our contribution here—made via quantum chemistry techniques—has been to show that gold, silver and copper hydride complexes are very likely to effectively retain hydrogen in a stable manner. We hope that this work will have multiple applications in time to come."
Dr. Trujillo’s team has been examining compound-bonding interactions for years. Her team has been investigating regium bonds, which refer to interactions between copper, silver, and gold nanoparticles and electrons of other materials.
According to Tore Brinck of the KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, “Chemists tend to think that bonding and interactions of metals and metal nanoclusters are very different from those of normal molecules. It is important to see the similarities, so that we can use knowledge from traditional chemistry in the design of a better catalyst.”
Precious metals have been in something of a holding pattern of late. They’ve gone up and down quite a bit this summer without much change overall. With the threat of inflation and general market uncertainty in the air, many investors have been anticipating a breakout for gold for months. However, as the world navigates the COVID variants and climate change, it has been hard to for precious metals to gain purchase.
Silver’s environmental applications are already well known, as the metal is key component in 5G towers, solar panels, and EVs. Gold, meanwhile, has had some interesting scientific applications itself. If gold and silver can contribute further to environmentally friendly technology, their long-term prospects will only brighten. Investors have an opportunity to make a run on precious metals while they are in stasis. The Sprott Gold Miners ETF (SGDM) offers active exposure to gold and silver miners, while the Sprott Junior Gold Miners ETF (SGDJ) tracks junior gold miners.
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