LONDON (Reuters) – The need for larger rechargeable batteries and more energy storage for 5G technology is expected to significantly boost demand for cobalt over coming years and potentially pit the sector against electric vehicle makers.
Category Archives: Related Inventions
The fundamental challenge is economic. America’s goal should be secure supply chains, not national autarky of supply. The U.S. should do this by promoting domestic production; diversifying mineral imports away from China; cooperating with allies to insulate each other from Chinese control; developing multiple alternative supply chains; stockpiling rare earths to create shock absorbers in case of a crisis; and reducing demand by investing in alternatives.
Start with the fundamentals. Rare-earth elements exist in small quantities not easily separable from surrounding detritus. Significant known deposits exist in China, Brazil, Canada, Australia and India, as well as in the deep seabed. Sixteen of the 17 rare earths exist in the U.S. at a single west Texas site currently under development.
Their extraction and treatment is expensive and environmentally damaging, yet they are essential to $7 trillion in finished products. Wealthy countries have made licensing harder and raised other barriers, pushing the industry to China and Malaysia, where low labor costs and weak environmental enforcement make them economical.
As a report this year from the Colorado School of Mines concluded, “China’s strength is in refining those Rare Earth oxides into metallic alloys to manufacture end-products.” Breaking China’s monopoly will require development of processing plants and supply chains outside Beijing’s control.
China dominates the global market in rare-earth minerals, producing 70% of the world’s exports. But this isn’t a gift of nature — it’s the result of 15 years of industrial policy. The Chinese government identified a critical economic chokehold, invested in building companies, subsidized production to underprice and ultimately destroy competition, and then constructed a monopoly.
U.S. tech giant General Electric on Wednesday called for Korea to speed up its innovation to keep up with rapidly changing global trends that could make the country “easily left out.”
The company suggested that Korean society and businesses adopt “industrial Internet,” “advanced manufacturing” and a “global brain” to achieve stronger homegrown innovation, wider collaboration and education to become leaders in high-value industries.
Read more at: http://www.koreaherald.com/view.php?ud=20150708001082
A local research team has successfully developed a technique to make the thinnest semiconductor possible.
The National Research Foundation announced on June 25 that Professor Ahn Jong-ryeol and Ph.D. student Shin Ha-cheol at Sungkyunkwan University succeeded in developing a technique for a 0.25 nm semiconductor. The width is the minimum limit for making nanomaterials, because ~0.25 nm is the diameter of one atom.
Local semiconductor companies are currently conducting studies to make 10 nm semiconductor devices, but this research team pushed the limits, since they thought that it would be possible to produce a semiconductor material just one atom thick.
Samsung Advanced Institute of Technology (SAIT) said the technology uses silicon cathode material coded with high-crystalline graphene to produce batteries with twice as much capacity as ordinary lithium-ion batteries.
The institute said the research result was published in the international science journal Nature Communication on Thursday.
The wonder material. It’s just one atom thick but 200 times stronger than steel; extremely conductive but see-through and flexible. Graphene has shot to fame since its discovery in 2004 by UK-based researchers Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov, for which the University of Manchester pair were awarded the 2010 Nobel prize in physics.
“We’ve created what is essentially the world’s thinnest light bulb,” says Hone, Wang Fon-Jen Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Columbia Engineering and co-author of the study. “This new type of ‘broadband’ light emitter can be integrated into chips and will pave the way towards the realization of atomically thin, flexible, and transparent displays, and graphene-based on-chip optical communications.”
Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2015-06-graphene-bright-world-thinnest-lightbulb.html#jCp
Multibillion-dollar projects are slowly moving ahead on the nuclear fusion frontier, but less traditional efforts to harness the power that fuels the sun say they’re making progress as well.
In the most basic fusion reaction, molecules of hydrogen isotopes are smashed together under high temperature and pressure to create helium — with part of the hydrogen mass converted into energy, in accordance with E=mc² from Albert Einstein’s special theory of relativity. The energy payoff can be immense, as demonstrated by the sun’s glare or the blast of an H-bomb. But can the reaction be controlled on Earth?
A new alloy produced recently by engineers will soon be used widely in the medical field, BBC reportedd. The alloy proved to be the most resilient material on record, which “springs back into shape even after it is bent more than 10 million times.”
The alloy is made up of nickel, copper and titanium, which can be applied in several areas, aircraft parts, artificial heart valves and refrigerators, the BBC report added. As it is, shape memory alloys are the choice material for heart stents.
A team of researchers at MIT has developed a way of coating these condenser surfaces with a layer of graphene, just one atom thick, and found that this can improve the rate of heat transfer by a factor of four—and potentially even more than that, with further work. And unlike polymer coatings, the graphene coatings have proven to be highly durable in laboratory tests.