The chemistry landscape is changing faster than ever before. Noah Chemicals makes it our business to understand what’s happening both globally and at home, using that information to ensure a professional, seamless process for our customers.
Here are four recent news stories our team is keeping an eye on.
- Stemming the Plastic Crisis
Plastic pollution, particularly in the ocean, is nearing mission critical. By 2050 the world’s oceans will contain more plastic than fish…is chemistry the solution? Both sides of the so-called “plastic crisis” are turning to chemistry for answers. Bio-based plastics made of materials like hemp are being improved upon every year. They soon may be a viable replacement for traditional single-use plastics such as polypropylene, and they biodegrade exponentially faster. On the cleanup side of the coin, R&D continues on products and processes that can convert potentially-hazardous plastics into something usable, like oil.
- A Solar BreakthroughNanoparticles, an already a highly-visible sector of commercial chemistry, are being touted as the next big thing in solar energy. Scientists at the Berkeley Lab recently demonstrated how coating nanoparticles in organic dyes enhances their ability to capture near-infrared light that’s typically missed by light-detecting solar technologies. The breakthrough opens the possibility that current generation solar tech could be improved upon to convert exponentially more light into solar energy than current limits allow. Research is focusing on how the lanthanide metals found in nanoparticles react specifically with the dyes, and how that reaction could even be used in other applications such as deep-tissue imaging.
- Preserving Rare Earth Elements
Rare earth elements, also known as “technology minerals” or “green tech metals,” are in hot demand. Used to produce everything from smartphones to hybrid vehicles, there is growing concern that in the coming years compounds like lanthanum, neodymium, and europium will become harder and harder to source, particularly as end-users like China ramp up electronics production. Initiatives are taking shape to combat the looming crisis like a push towards developing more effective recycling capabilities as well as a better solution to regulating supply and demand within the ever-growing industry.
- Chemicals Industry Legislation
It’s no secret that U.S. regulatory policies regarding chemical manufacturing and supply have changed drastically over the past decade, and even the past year. An uncertain climate within the sector creates challenges for chemical suppliers both in terms of safety and compliance. Regulations on everything from government contracts to tariffs to chemicals safety should be expected to play a huge role in how suppliers can develop sustainable, profitable business models moving forward.
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