I am a strong believer in renewable energy, but it’s not a free lunch.  Significant amounts of energy has to be used to change quartz sand to silicon.   Silane gas produced during the manufacturing process is extremely explosive, and explosions occur.  Another risk is that we currently have no safety masks that can prevent all silicon dust particles, called Kerf,  passing through to the wearers lungs.  To clean the reactors producing silicon, sulphur hexafluoride is used, a gas which is 28,000 times more climate warming than CO2.

We are almost able to produce the battery quality we need to store solar energy, but for these we need Lithium, at present we use energy to produce this from rocks that have been in marine contact, but research is moving towards removing this direct from seawater using dialysis.

It has all the overtones of medieval alchemy, a  mystic quest!


Soon we shall all be Gods —

so quickly since we left the trees.

Our grail is to reap the Sun’s rage,

the wind’s whistle, the sea’s surge.


First,  we must gather the desert,

burn  its grains  beyond  their being.

Pure, purest silicon,  to be cast as wafers

 we can tailor for our ravenous needs.


But beware of Kerf, the dust that kills,

avoid Silane’s spontaneous  blasts.

Cleanse with Hexafluoride of Sulphur,

malodorous fumes that heat the Earth.


‘Here be Dragons’ in unknown frontier,

and when we toil to bank the light

the task darkens with lightest Lithium,

 for we must boil the sea to drive it out.


Sly Lithium is the reactive lurker,

never found alone, it thinly smears

saline surfaces or the face of rocks,

which we have recently learnt to loot.


We conjure blindly in this  mythic world

confidently forging  our solar snares

gathering our star’s furious death throes

to bind them in dungeons of Lithium-ion.



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