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Low-Cost, Energy-Efficient Technology Distills Silica from Sand

Richard Laine, an engineering professor at the University of Michigan, has developed an inexpensive way to transform common silica into chemicals that can be used in many commercial applications, such a fireproofing and waterproofing wood, and creating fibers that have potential value in multiple products. This technology is significant because it not only taps a substance (silica) that makes up nearly 25 percent of the Earth's mineral content, but also recycles vast amounts of waste products, simplifies production, saves energy, and removes toxins from the environment.