No, Really - There's a Shortage of Sand

gretavo's picture

What's wrong with this article? Well apparently there's a shortage of sand. No need to explain that one, right? Not only that, but there's a shortage of purified silicon (silicon is the second most abundant element in the earth's crust, after oxygen).

See, purified silicon is apparently so hard and expensive to make that just a few years ago before the solar panel industry became a customer, chip manufacturers used to pay to have scraps remaining from microchip wafers removed and dumped--at $100 a pound. That's right, they didn't recycle this highly purified silicon for their own use, it was cheaper to just run more sand through the purifying process. Now of course what we are being told is that we just can't have more solar energy quicker because of this pesky sand shortage! Why, a silicon purification plant can cost upwards of $200 million!! Where on earth could society find THAT kind of moolah? I dunno, maybe Major League Soccer could pitch in--they paid more than that to David Beckham for five years of kicking a ball around... Can you say "artificial shortage" and "market manipulation" and "Peak Oil bullshit"? Gooood!!

Turning silicon trash into treasure
Shortage of sand threatens two fast-growing industries

Silicon recycling
July 5: In face of a silicon shortage, chipmakers are selling their leftover to solar panel manufactures. CNBC’s Jim Goldman reports on how one industry's trash is another's gold.

By Jim Goldman
Silicon Valley Bureau Chief
Updated: 2:56 p.m. ET July 5, 2007
SAN JOSE, Calif. - Sand may be one of the world’s most abundant natural resources, but a shortage of it is threatening two fast-growing industries — computer chipmakers and solar panel manufacturers. To solve the problem, they’ve found a way to turn one company’s trash into another’s treasure.