Category Archives: Technology

Four countries to pledge tenfold rise in EU offshore wind power capacity

COPENHAGEN, May 18 (Reuters) – Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands and Denmark will on Wednesday sign a pledge to build at least 150 gigawatts (GW) of offshore wind capacity in the North Sea by 2050, enough to power 230 million European homes,said the Danish energy ministry.

This would be an almost tenfold increase in the European Union’s offshore wind capacity, and the promise comes as the bloc tries to wean itself of planet-warming fossil fuels and its dependency on Russian energy.

Read more at: Four countries to pledge tenfold rise in EU offshore wind power capacity | Reuters

Supply chains endanger #American security. Here’s what #Biden is doing.

In late February, as most people were focusing on the war in Ukraine, the White House published over 1,300 pages of reports from a year-long and unprecedented investigation into the economic vulnerabilities caused by global supply chains.

These reports received almost no press attention. Yet they shed light on one of the crucial side effects of the war in Ukraine. Decoupling the economies of the United States and its allies from the economies of authoritarian nations may cause massive disruption.

Shortly after coming into office, the Biden-Harris administration issued an executive order on “America’s Supply Chains.” Seven federal agencies were directed to undertake comprehensive studies of the national and international economic organization of supply chains for strategic minerals, pharmaceuticals, semiconductors and batteries within 100 days. The administration also told the government departments to report back within a year about how those industries related to broader “industrial bases” for defense, green energy, public health, information technology, transportation and food.

The reports call for green industrial policy

The U.S. government reports argue that these critical dependencies could be reduced by an ambitious green industrial policy. By 2030, the U.S. agencies are targeting goals that 50 percent of vehicles sold in the United States will be electric, 30 gigawatts of offshore wind will be built in the United States (that’s about four times the annual energy use of New York City), battery storage costs will be reduced by 90 percent, production costs for green hydrogen (made from water and electricity) will be lower than fossil fuel-derived hydrogen, and 90 percent of the key mineral iridium will be recycled. The agencies recommend strengthening the federal government’s “Buy American” program, subsidizing green industries through the Defense Production Act and building stockpiles of clean energy like the United States has for petroleum, along with other measures.

Read more at: https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2022/05/17/us-supply-chain-security-national-defense/

#Reuters: #Pentagon asks #Congress to fund mining projects in #Australia, #UK

The U.S. Department of Defense has asked Congress to let it fund facilities in the United Kingdom and Australia that process strategic minerals used to make electric vehicles and weapons, calling the proposal crucial to national defense.

The request to alter the Cold War-era Defense Production Act (DPA) came as part of the Pentagon’s recommendations to Congress for how to write the upcoming U.S. military funding bill, known as the National Defense Authorization Act.

Read more at: https://www.reuters.com/markets/commodities/pentagon-asks-congress-fund-mining-projects-australia-uk-2022-05-11/

The Metals Company deep-water tests polymetallic nodule collector vehicle in Atlantic

The Metals Company, an explorer of lower-impact battery metals from seafloor polymetallic nodules, announced Tuesday it has completed initial deep-water trials of the polymetallic nodule collector vehicle in the Atlantic Ocean.

Mining international waters is in the spotlight as companies and countries are looking at minerals concentrated on the ocean floor that can be used in batteries for smart phones and electric vehicles. Last year, TMC said the nodule resource is now estimated at four megatons (Mt) measured, 341Mt indicated and 11Mt inferred mineral resources.

The Vancouver-based company said engineers successfully lowered the Allseas-designed collector vehicle to the seafloor at depths of 2,470 meters, marking the first time the vehicle had been subjected to ultra-deep-water temperatures and pressures. The company said engineers then subjected the vehicle to extensive testing of its various pumps and critical mobility functions, driving 1,018 meters across the seafloor.

Read more at: The Metals Company deep-water tests polymetallic nodule collector vehicle in Atlantic – MINING.COM

#Nickel, #Graphite make up half #Tesla’s battery emissions

According to the Tesla’s so-called Impact Report released on Friday, nickel is by far the biggest problem in its supply chain for batteries when it comes to emissions, outpacing CO2 created by cathode manufacture and cell assembly combined. 

Tesla said it commissioned London-based consulting and software firm Minviro “to identify hotspots with high global warming potential across eight specific processing routes from which we currently source cobalt, nickel and lithium.”

The report says Tesla sources over 95% of its lithium, 50% of its cobalt and 30% of its nickel directly and that “key drivers of CO2 in its global supply chain are the cathode and anode supply chains.” 

Cobalt represents only 1%, while lithium, responsible for 13%, makes a more modest contribution than anode material graphite with the company pointing out that “chemical processing (refining / smelting) was a larger driver than mining.”

GRAPH: Nickel, graphite make up half Tesla’s battery emissions – MINING.COM

#BBC – Mine e-waste, not the Earth, say scientists

New research by the RSC also revealed a growing demand from consumers for more sustainable technology. In an online survey of 10,000 people across 10 countries, 60% said they would be more likely to switch to a rival of their preferred tech brand if they knew the product was made in a sustainable way.

The survey also suggested that people did not know how to deal with their own e-waste. Many respondents said they worried about the environmental effect of unused devices they have in their homes, but did not know what to do with them or were concerned about the security of recycling schemes.

Elements in smartphones that could run out in the next century:

  • Gallium: Used in medical thermometers, LEDs, solar panels, telescopes and has possible anti-cancer properties
  • Arsenic: Used in fireworks, as a wood preserver
  • Silver: Used in mirrors, reactive lenses that darken in sunlight, antibacterial clothing and gloves for use with touch screens
  • Indium: Used in transistors, microchips, fire-sprinkler systems, as a coating for ball-bearings in Formula One cars and solar panels
  • Yttrium: Used in white LED lights, camera lenses and can be used to treat some cancers
  • Tantalum: Used in surgical implants, electrodes for neon lights, turbine blades, rocket nozzles and nose caps for supersonic aircraft, hearing aids and pacemakers.

Read more at: https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-61350996

#Canada in ‘active discussions’ with EV supply chain companies – Minister

OTTAWA, May 4 (Reuters) – Canada is talking to a number of companies interested in setting up production in the electric vehicle (EV) supply chain, the industry minister said, as the government seeks to cut carbon emissions to net zero by 2050 and play a role in the shift toward greener cars.

There are “very active discussions with a number of players” to develop an EV supply chain, Industry Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne said in an interview last week.

Canada is urging critical minerals producers and processors to scale up production. It has invested in EV projects through a multi-billion dollar fund set up in 2020, and last month pledged C$3.8 billion ($3 billion) over eight years to help boost the production and processing of critical minerals used for EVs.

Read more at: Canada in ‘active discussions’ with EV supply chain companies – minister | Reuters

#Mexico seeks #Lithium association with #Argentina, #Bolivia and #Chile

Mexico is working with governments of Argentina, Bolivia and Chile to create a lithium association so the countries can share their expertise to exploit the battery mineral, Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said on Tuesday.

“We’re going to work. We’re already doing so together on development, on exploration, processing, new technologies,” Lopez Obrador told a regular news conference.

Bolivia, Chile and Argentina sit atop the so-called “lithium triangle,” a region containing nearly 56% of the world’s resources of the metal, according to the most recent figures from the United States Geological Survey (USGS).

Read more at: Mexico seeks lithium association with Argentina, Bolivia and Chile | Financial Post

#TheWashingtonPost: #Biden order to boost mining may not have quick payoff

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden is turning to a Cold War-era law to boost production of lithium and other minerals used to power electric vehicles, but experts say the move by itself is unlikely to ensure the robust domestic mining Biden seeks as he promotes cleaner energy sources.

Biden’s order directs the Defense Department to consider at least five metals — lithium, cobalt, graphite, nickel and manganese — as essential to national security and authorizes steps to bolster domestic supplies. Biden and former President Donald Trump both used the defense production law previously to speed the U.S. response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

On minerals, Biden wants to ensure the U.S. has enough lithium and other materials needed for EV batteries, heat pumps and large-capacity batteries for the electric grid. A majority of global lithium production comes from China, Australia, Argentina and Chile, while Russia dominates the global nickel market and the Democratic Republic of Congo is the world’s largest cobalt producer.

“Unless the president streamlines permitting, we should not expect to see any meaningful increase in American mineral production,’’ said Wyoming Sen. John Barrasso, the top Republican on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. At a recent committee hearing. Barrasso urged Biden to “stand up to mining opponents in his own party.”

Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom has labeled California the “Saudi Arabia of lithium,” and two projects there could produce lithium by 2024.

Read more at: Biden order to boost mining may not have quick payoff – The Washington Post

Development of new magnet that reduces use of rare-earth element by 30%

Neodymium is an expensive and unstably supplied material, but it is essential for manufacturing rare-earth permanent magnets. In order to develop an Nd-reduced permanent magnet, the content of cerium (Ce), an inexpensive element, was increased, instead of reducing the content of Nd. Until now, with the increased content of Ce, deterioration of the magnetic properties was inevitable. The research team focused on clarifying the reason for and mechanism of the deterioration of the magnetic properties caused by the increased Ce content, and they successfully solved the problem of rare-earth-reduced permanent magnets by controlling the atomic-scale microstructure.

The researchers discovered that unnecessary magnetic particles were formed during the manufacturing process, the underlying reason for the deterioration of the magnetic and microstructural properties of the magnets. They modified the microstructure and enhanced the magnetic properties by preventing the diffusion of atoms so that the formation of unnecessary magnetic particles is suppressed.

The research team applied the melt-spinning method and the hot-deformation method, which have very fast cooling rates compared to the conventional process, to the process of fabricating rare-earth-reduced precursors and final bulk magnets, respectively. As a result, they succeeded in optimizing the microstructure of the magnets by suppressing the formation of unnecessary magnetic particles. In addition, they were able to simultaneously improve the residual magnetization and coercive force, which are the main properties of permanent magnets.

Read more at: Development of new magnet that reduces use of rare-earth element by 30% (phys.org)

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