Friday, November 6, 2009

Chemists Describe Solar Energy Progress and Challenges, Including the 'Artificial Leaf'

Thirty chemists from four countries met at the 1st Annual Chemical Sciences and Society Symposium to focus on the following topics: mimicking a real leaf’s chemical photosynthesis to create a liquid fuel such as methanol for cars and trucks, developing more efficient solar cells, and the storing and distribution of solar energy. A key point made in harnessing the sun’s power, is that it is the most promising alternatives to fossil fuels. The sun provides the Earth more energy in an hour than the world consumes in a year. Comparing that to the one million years it took for the Earth to build the same amount of energy in fossil fuels. The symposium offered participants hope for dealing with the global challenges of the 21st century and the indispensible role that chemical sciences play in dealing with them.
An activity in the classroom could be researching, and then comparing and contrasting different fuels. Students could evaluate which would be efficient, economical to make, and have the least impact on our environment. They can include their research in a persuasive speech to a legislative board to receive funds toward their future development and implementation within our communities. Another activity could be creating a creative writing piece about what life would look like using some or all of the new fuels. They could also write about how things could be if we don’t make a change.

No comments:

Post a Comment