Author Archives: Nanthakumar Victor Emmanuel

#TradeWar: #US Risks ‘Devastating’ Blow From #China’s Rare Earths Monopoly

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(Bloomberg) — Beijing’s threat to use its dominance of rare earths in the trade war risks serious disruption to U.S. industry, by starving manufacturers of components commonplace in everything from cars to dishwashers and military equipment. And, it’s a stranglehold that might take years to break.

China could wreak maximum havoc by squeezing supplies of the magnets and motors that use the elements, said Jack Lifton, co-founder of Technology Metals Research LLC, who’s been involved with rare earths since 1962. The impact on American industry could be “devastating,” he said from Michigan.

“There is no such thing as an automobile sold in the U.S. or made in the U.S. that doesn’t have rare-earth permanent magnet motors somewhere in its assembly,” Lifton said. “It would be a tremendous hit to the consumer appliance industry and the automotive industry. That means washing machines, vacuum cleaners, cars. The list is endless.”

Beijing is gearing up to use the minerals as a counter in its trade battle with Washington, according to a salvo of media reports in China on Wednesday, potentially exploiting U.S. reliance on China for about 80% of its supply. It would represent a significant escalation in a trade dispute that has already roiled markets and threatened global growth.

 

Global miner #BHP plans to expand #Nickel output amid battery boom

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Global miner BHP Group said it plans to expand its nickel sulphide operations amid an expected boom in demand for the material in electric vehicle batteries.

But the company is not looking to produce main battery ingredient lithium as it sees such output having slimmer profits.

Speaking at a strategy briefing on long-term asset allocation, BHP Chief Financial Officer Peter Beaven said growth in nickel could come from either exploration or acquisitions.

Read more at: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-mining-bhp/bhp-seeks-more-nickel-sulfides-on-bright-battery-demand-idUSKCN1SS00G

#BillGates: This is what we need to do to tackle climate change

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1. Improved energy storage systems: The sun and the wind are incredible energy sources. Finding ways to store that energy to use after the sun sets and the wind stops blowing is a big challenge we need to solve. We do have ways to store energy for a matter of hours—like lithium ion batteries—that are becoming cheaper every year.

2. Carbon capture and storage and nuclear: I often hear that lower cost solar and wind power along with the emerging breakthroughs in energy storage mean that these sources will be enough to get us to a carbon-free power grid. But because the world must balance the need to eliminate carbon emissions with economic growth, we should also consider what solutions would be most affordable. A recent study from researchers at MIT found that supporting renewable energy with a mix of clean energy solutions—including nuclear and carbon capture and storage (CCS)—would make carbon-free electricity up to 62 percent cheaper than using renewables alone.

3. High-voltage, long-distance transmission lines: Renewable power resources like wind and solar are often located far from the cities or industrial areas where energy demand is the greatest. Connecting our renewable energy supply with demand will require us to build transmission lines that can handle large amounts of power over very long distances. High-voltage direct current (HVDC) transmission technology—as opposed to the alternating current power lines most electric grids in the U.S. use today for transmission—would help us integrate renewable energy into our world’s power supply. Expanding HVDC lines, however, will not only require new investments in our power grids, but also supportive national and local policies to support their construction. Research and development at U.S. Department of Energy national laboratories like the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory is helping lay the groundwork for how we can design, build, and operate a 21st-century grid.

Read more at: https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2019/05/a-critical-step-to-reduce-climate-change/

#Graphite coating makes perovskite #SolarCells waterproof

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Most solar cells currently on the market are made of silicon, however they are expensive to make and require a lot of very pure silicon to manufacture. They are also quite thick and heavy, which limits their applications.

Perovskite solar cells, using materials with the same 3-D structure as calcium titanium oxide, are cheaper to make, thinner and can be easily printed onto surfaces. They also work in low light conditions and can produce a higher voltage than silicon cells, meaning they could be used indoors to power devices without the need to plug into the mains.

The downside is they are unstable in water which presents a huge obstacle in their development and also limits their use for the direct generation of clean hydrogen fuels.

The team of scientists and chemical engineers, from the University of Bath’s Centre for Sustainable Chemical Technologies, has solved this problem by using a waterproof coating from graphite, the material used in pencil leads.

Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2019-05-graphite-coating-perovskite-solar-cells.html

#US senate introduces new bill to boost domestic battery minerals supply

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Republican senators led by Lisa Murkowski has introduced bipartisan legislation to secure mineral resources and supply chains, reducing reliance on foreign sources. The new legislation – the American Minerals Security Act – listed lithium, graphite, cobalt and nickel as “critical minerals” to the auto and energy industries.

Read more at: http://www.mining.com/us-senate-introduces-new-bill-boost-domestic-critical-minerals-supply/

How air conditioners could keep you cool and capture carbon

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Researchers propose modules attached to AC fans to help suck carbon out of ambient air.

A #German-#Canadian team thinks it might be possible to use ordinary building air conditioners to pull carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere and convert into “net-zero” emission carbon fuels.

These systems use large fans to expose air to carbon dioxide absorbing materials. The fans need to move vast amounts of air through the systems because carbon dioxide isn’t very concentrated in ordinary air. Even at its current high level, it’s only about 400 parts per billion in the atmosphere.

Read more at: https://www.cbc.ca/radio/quirks/may-4-2019-brain-resuscitation-hippos-supply-algae-skeletons-slug-surgical-glue-and-more-1.5119885/how-air-conditioners-could-keep-you-cool-and-capture-carbon-1.5119911

 

 

 

 

 

#Tesla Sees Risk of Battery-Minerals Shortage in Future

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Booming demand for electric vehicles and insufficient investment in mines could result in a global shortage of minerals needed to manufacture rechargeable batteries in a few years’ time, a Tesla Inc. representative told U.S. officials and mining executives in a meeting in Washington.

Prices for some of the minerals, which include graphite, cobalt, lithium and nickel, could increase as a result of the high demand and the limited supply, Tesla global supply manager of battery metals Sarah Maryssael said in a closed-door presentation Thursday confirmed by the company. Investment is important to ensure there is sufficient supply for the industry to grow, she said.

Read more at: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-05-02/tesla-manager-sees-risk-of-battery-minerals-shortage-in-future?srnd=premium-middle-east

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