Silver is expected to play a significant role as the “green economy” evolves. The Silver Institute recently participated in a panel discussion titled “Silver’s Role in the Green Economy” at the London Bullion Market Association’s Global Precious Metals Conference in Barcelona, Spain.
This is one of several silver-related stories in the latest edition of Silver News published by the Silver Institute.
Silver Institute Chairman Phillips Baker emphasized that silver is a vital component in solar panel production and demand is expected to increase significantly in the coming years. While there are efforts to replace silver with less expensive substitutes, Silver Institute technical director Trevor Keel said that silver remains the critical ingredient in making solar panels functional, and it will remain so for quite some time.
The panel also discussed the growth of the electric vehicle (EV) market, noting US demand in the first quarter of this year increased by 56% over the same period in 2022. Dr. Keel added that as the complexity of EVs continues to evolve, more silver will be required for their functionality.
Whether you believe the climate change narrative or not, the green energy revolution is here to stay and it will likely have significant impacts on the silver market moving forward.
The latest edition of Silver News also highlights some other fascinating technological advances utilizing silver. Here are some highlights.
- A team of University of Houston researchers have developed a prototype of a fully stretchable, silver fabric-based lithium battery. This flexible battery can twist and contort along with the fabric itself.
- Scientists at the Korea Institute of Industrial Technology say that a new method involving zapping silver nanowires with microwaves yields a low resistance, distortion-free product that will increase the usage of silver nanowires in many medical and sports wearable devices. The researchers said, “This innovative process effectively reduces the sheet resistance of the silver nanowire transparent conductive film without causing any thermal distortion to the [plastic] substrate.”
- Scientists have developed a highly sensitive electrochemical sensor for ammonium in water samples that relies on the incorporation of silver nitrate into a carbon paste. Ammonium pollution in water poses a threat to the ecosystem and human health.
- Engineers in Wales have come up with a recyclable silver ink that makes it possible to recycle the packaging it is used on. While printed electronics can be added to packaging to increase functionality like monitoring through Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) tags – for inventory or theft control – they can make recycling of the packaging material difficult or even impossible.
- Scientists at Tver State University in Russia claim that their antibacterial gel combining silver and amino acids is 100 times more effective at killing germs than current silver-based drugs such as those used for burn wounds.
- In most cases, you want to speed up chemical reactions – such as when producing another commercial chemical or substance – by using a catalyst. But if the process moves too quickly, you can lose control. Also, the catalyst gets used up more rapidly so the activation becomes costly. Russian scientists have found that a mixture of iodine-derived organic salts and silver can reduce total catalytic activity on demand, giving the operator more control and the process more predictability, resulting in lower overall costs for catalysts.
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