10-year-old discovers molecule that could be used for energy storage

10-year-old discovers molecule that could be used for energy storage

February 7, 2012 0 By Stephen Vagus

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Science is a field fraught with complexity.

Like a maze, science can be filled with dead ends that make it difficult for researchers to find the answers to some of the world’s most mysterious problems. Though science is, indeed, complicated, breakthroughs are sometimes in the places where they are least expected. In Missouri, 10-year-old Clara Lazen has proven this to be true. She discovered a molecule that scientists never though existed. The molecule can, potentially, store massive amounts of energy, or release this energy to cause explosions.

Lazen discovered the molecule, called tetranitratoxycarbon, during a chemistry lesson in school.

Lazen was not alone in her efforts, of course, as her teacher, Kenneth Boehr, lended her a helping hand. Boehr contacted Robert Zoellner, a professor of chemistry at the Humboldt State University in California, regarding the discovery. Together, the three wrote and published their findings in the Computational and Theoretical Chemistry journal.

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Clean Energy Quotes To Remember - “For example, a breakthrough in better batteries could supplant hydrogen. Better solar cells could replace or win out in this race to the fuel of the future. Those, I see, as the three big competitors: hydrogen, solar cells and then better batteries.”

- Bob Inglis, Politician

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If the molecule can be stabilized by a chemist, it could store large amounts of energy.

This could be a major boon for the alternative energy industry, where efficient storage has long been an issue. The molecule can also be used in high-grade explosives. Currently, Lazen has interest in selling the discovery to the U.S. military. Whether it will be used for energy storage, explosives or both remains a mystery. Given the military’s recent penchant for alternative energy, all options seem likely.