Gold in Demand for Environmental Cleaning Energy Production
Gold is an investment as well as money, but gold is also increasingly in demand for environmental and energy production applications. In 2011, new catalytic converter technology utilizing gold was introduced to the market. Catalytic converters remove pollutants from automobile exhaust. They are made from a heat resistant substrate, with a large internal honeycomb structure covered with a thin coating of tiny particles of metal.
According to the World Gold Council, research has shown that a stable and effective formulation can be obtained using a combination of gold, palladium, and platinum. Cleaning up auto emissions is just one of several new ways the yellow metal is helping clean up the environment.
Gold is an important component in the development of renewable energy sources. Researchers at Stanford University have developed a gold-based sheeting shown to improve the performance and efficiency of solar panels. Gold nanoparticles have also been shown to increase solar panel performance. Gold-based materials show promise in the search for new, more effective fuel cell catalysts.
Groundwater contamination creates significant problems in industrialized areas. Chemical catalysts provide one of the most efficient and cost-effective ways to manage such pollution. The chemical process breaks down contaminants into their component parts.
Researchers from Rice University, Stanford University, and DuPont Chemicals use this approach to tackle chlorinated compounds, pollutants resulting from a range of industrial activities. Led by Professor Michael Wong at Rice, researchers have developed a gold and palladium catalyst that removes chlorinated compounds from water in laboratory conditions. This catalyst underwent a successful trial at a pilot plant installed at a polluted site in Kentucky in 2014.
The “Green” Future of Gold
Much like the industrial uses of silver, the demand for gold for environmental cleaning technology, energy production, and other high-tech applications will only continue to grow in the future. This demonstrates the multi-faceted value of gold.
You probably don’t need to buy gold in order to build a solar panel, but you can certainly benefit from the yellow metal’s historical wealth-preserving properties. – Peter Schiff
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