Scientists say that in the future, far into the future, the Sun will heat the Earth so much that it will be impossible to continue living on the planet. However, until that moment arrives, this star becomes one of our best options to get energy. The new project we are talking about has been published in ACS Omega and it is promising.
very special stones
It was to be imagined that not just any rock would do, but that the studies that have been carried out have discovered that certain materials have the energy capacity thanks to which many experts are rubbing their hands. The specific varieties of rock we are talking about are soapstone and granite, although fortunately, they are stones that are found throughout the world and are not exactly strange. But how will they be used?
What the scientists say they have discovered is a new process that they have called concentrated solar energy, implying that the sun would charge the rocks and that this energy could then be used for different processes. Among the examples given by the team leading the investigation, mention is made of what worries us all the most: generating electricity. This system could carry out the process and thus become a new, very ecological method of obtaining energy. In addition, they also mention other applications, such as carrying out food drying processes.
There is still a lot to investigate
The main obstacle facing the team, made up of Lilian Deusdedit Kakoko, Yusufu Abeid Chande Jande and Thomas Kivevele, is that not all rock specimens are valid for the process. Some of the granite and soapstone rocks have been found to be useful, while others are not. At the moment, the ones that have met the objectives are those that have been found in different parts of Tanzania, but it should not be ruled out that stones from other parts of the planet are also useful.
The theory currently held by those responsible for the investigation is that what makes these rock specimens useful in the experiment are the climatic conditions that have formed them. Therefore, they would have to continue working to reach definitive conclusions that allow them to find in an easier way the rocks that could be used in terms of absorbing solar energy.
The valid specimens that they have analyzed have some components inside that would explain the reason why these rocks could be good recipients of energy. For example, the soapstone that has been analyzed has a large volume of magnesite, which may be key when it comes to guaranteeing the high level of density that these rocks have and their efficient thermal capacity. In the case of granite, silicon oxides have been found, whose presence in the composition provides great strength and resistance.
Once they had collected enough samples that indicated they could be used in their project, the team subjected them to an endurance test with temperatures of more than 900ºC. Some of the samples held up so well that They didn’t suffer any kind of damage., not even a small opening. In some cases, the granite was detached from the surface, while in the transmission of heat, soapstone provided more successful results. Now what the researchers want is to see how they can apply this knowledge and the way in which each type of stone reacts to temperature. Because although soapstone is more efficient than granite, they assure that the latter would be a rock that could be applied in the same way and that it could even be more recommended for low-power uses.
It is still early to imagine a future in which that the rocks provide us with all the energy necessary to have electricity at home, but this research looks very good and aims high as an idea that could change the world.