Friday, January 27, 2012

Silver in Green Technology

Silver is increasingly used in green technology. Unlike gold, which is used primarily for jewelry, investment and asset storage, silver has a variety of uses and as technology advances more and more use is found for silver in industry and notably now in green technology.

Solar energy is a good example. This is an expanding industry as we turn our attention to more efficient energy sources in order to reduce our carbon footprint on the world.

Silver is used as a primary ingredient in the photovoltaic cells that assimilate the sun’s rays transforming them into energy. In fact 90 % of the crystalline silicon photovoltaic cells (the most common cell) uses silver paste and, according to the Silver Institute, over 100 million ounces of silver are expected to be used in the production of solar energy cells in 2015.

Silver is also used in water purification. Silver is used in water purifier filters to prevent the build up of bacteria and algae and so remove chlorine, trihalomethanes, lead, particulates and odor. The catalytic action of silver, in conjunction with oxygen is a powerful sanitizer virtually eliminating the need for the use of corrosive chlorine and is being used more and more in purification plants. Silver ions are now being ised in preference over the earlier traditional chlorine in many water systems including pools, spas hospitals and community water systems.

A new technology that has arisen also is invisible silvered windows. This is a special transparent coating of silver giving thermal windows the ability to reflect the hot sun and help to retain inner heat inward.

This is an expanding technology also with 250 million square feet of silver coated glass now used in homes across the US. The “low E Squared” double pane windows reflecting up to 95 percent of the suns rays. Is a popular example and there are others.

There are many other areas where silver can and is being used in green technology and the demand for silver is, as a result, only going to increase exponentially in the coming years.

The United Nations adopted the definition of sustainability as:

"Sustainable development meets the needs of the present without compromising future generations' ability to meet their own"

And silver in green technology is doing just that.

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