Category Archives: Technology

#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)

#Canada can help #Europe turn to renewables instead of #Russian oil

Hydrogen is still in the early stages as an energy industry in Canada — Canada is in the top 10 of hydrogen producers globally but makes about three million tonnes of it for industrial use. China, the world’s top producer, makes more than eight times that much.

But hydrogen was a major part of the conversation between German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau when they met in Berlin Wednesday. 

“This is one aspect for a very long-term strategic co-operation between Canada and Germany, because we understand acutely that Canada is a country that can help us import hydrogen, which will be produced in an environmentally friendly manner,” Scholz said in German.

It is not entirely clear how Canada can quickly ramp up hydrogen production to supply Europe, or how Europe can quickly adjust its energy systems to use more hydrogen.

On March 21, the International Energy Agency is hosting a meeting in Paris to discuss options to help Europe. Natural Resources Minister Jonathan Wilkinson is to attend.

At the CERAWeek energy conference in Houston Tuesday, Wilkinson also pitched Canada’s hydrogen but as a “medium- and longer-term opportunity.”

“Canada has huge opportunities associated with the production of ultralow carbon hydrogen,” he said. “Hydrogen will be important for domestic use but can also enable huge international opportunities for supply to geographies including Europe and Japan.”

Wilkinson pointed specifically to hydrogen projects announced recently, including an Air Products $1.3 billion net-zero hydrogen production and liquefaction facility, a joint venture into hydrogen between Suncor and ATCO, and an agreement between Mitsubishi and Shell Canada to produce hydrogen for export to Japan. 

Read more at: https://www.msn.com/en-ca/news/canada/canada-can-help-europe-turn-to-renewables-instead-of-russian-oil-guilbeault/ar-AAUQWc6

#TheWhiteHouse: FACT SHEET- Securing a Made in America Supply Chain for Critical Minerals

Biden-Harris Administration, Companies Announce Major Investments to Expand Domestic Critical Minerals Supply Chain, Breaking Dependence on China and Boosting Sustainable Practices.

Critical minerals provide the building blocks for many modern technologies and are essential to our national security and economic prosperity. These minerals—such as rare earth elements, lithium, and cobalt—can be found in products from computers to household appliances. They are also key inputs in clean energy technologies like batteries, electric vehicles, wind turbines, and solar panels. As the world transitions to a clean energy economy, global demand for these critical minerals is set to skyrocket by 400-600 percent over the next several decades, and, for minerals such as lithium and graphite used in electric vehicle (EV) batteries, demand will increase by even more—as much as 4,000 percent. The U.S. is increasingly dependent on foreign sources for many of the processed versions of these minerals. Globally, China controls most of the market for processing and refining for cobalt, lithium, rare earths and other critical minerals.

Today, President Biden will meet with Administration and state partners, industry executives, community representatives, labor leaders, and California Governor Gavin Newsom to announce major investments in domestic production of key critical minerals and materials, ensuring these resources benefit the community, and creating good-paying, union jobs in sustainable production.

Read more at: FACT SHEET: Securing a Made in America Supply Chain for Critical Minerals | The White House

#BBC Future: #Lithium batteries’ big unanswered question

“The current method of simply shredding everything and trying to purify a complex mixture results in expensive processes with low value products,” says Andrew Abbott, a physical chemist at the University of Leicester. As a result, it costs more to recycle them than to mine more lithium to make new ones. Also, since large scale, cheap ways to recycle Li batteries are lagging behind, only about 5% of Li batteries are recycled globally, meaning the majority are simply going to waste.

But as demand for EVs escalates, as it’s projected to, the impetus to recycle more of them is set to barrel through the battery and motor vehicle industry.

The current shortcomings in Li battery recycling isn’t the only reason they are an environmental strain. Mining the various metals needed for Li batteries requires vast resources. It takes 500,000 gallons (2,273,000 litres) of water to mine one tonne of lithium. In Chile’s Atacama Salt Flats, lithium mining has been linked to declining vegetation, hotter daytime temperatures and increasing drought conditions in national reserve areas. So even though EVs may help reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions over their lifetime, the battery that powers them starts its life laden with a large environmental footprint.

We can no longer treat the batteries as disposable – Shirley Meng

If the millions upon millions of Li batteries that will give out after around 10 years or so of use   are recycled more efficiently, however, it will help neutralise all that energy expenditure. Several labs have been working on refining more efficient recycling methods so that, eventually, a standardised, eco-friendly way to recycle Li batteries will be ready to meet skyrocketing demand.

“We have to find ways to make it enter what we call a circular lifecycle, because the lithium and the cobalt and nickel take a lot of electricity and a lot of effort to be mined and refined and made into the batteries. We can no longer treat the batteries as disposable,” says Shirley Meng, professor in energy technologies at the University of California, San Diego.

Read more at: Lithium batteries’ big unanswered question – BBC Future

#Vale Aims To Transform Misfiring Metals Division To Win Business Of #Tesla

Vale is greatest generally known as one of many world’s largest producers of iron ore from its sprawling Brazilian operations — however its chief government desires to alter that.

For Eduardo Bartolomeo, being seen as a “one geography, one mineral firm” is harmful and Vale must be attempting to spotlight the worth of its industrial metals enterprise, which he says has the potential to be a key provider of battery supplies to the North American automotive.

Attaining that can be no straightforward activity. To provide Tesla, Ford, Normal Motors and others with the required copper, nickel and cobalt to scale up manufacturing of electrical autos, Bartolomeo should rework the efficiency of the misfiring metals division.

“We predict we might be the provider alternative,” Bartolomeo instructed the Monetary Occasions throughout a latest go to to London to satisfy traders. “However we have to produce. We have to get the manufacturing up. That’s basic. Then we have to get the reserves and sources.

He has already made one decisive transfer, changing the top of the enterprise, Mark Travers, with Deshnee Naidoo, a former government at India’s Vedanta Assets.

However that is only a first step after, by his personal admission, one other difficult 12 months for the division in 2021, with a labour dispute in Canada, a fireplace on the Solobo copper mine and a short lived halt of nickel manufacturing at its Onca Puma challenge in Brazil. On high of that, 39 staff have been rescued after being trapped within the underground Totten mine in Ontario.

Whereas output is forecast to get well subsequent 12 months, Bartolomeo, who ran the base-metals enterprise earlier than he was appointed chief executive in April 2019, is aware of there may be plenty of work to do if Vale is to fulfil its ambition of capturing 30-40 per cent of the North American marketplace for battery-grade nickel in 5 years.

“We’re speaking to Ford, GM, we’re speaking to all of them,” he mentioned, mentioning that Vale had already struck a deal to promote 5 per cent of its annual highest-grade Class 1 nickel output to a US carmaker, broadly rumoured to be Tesla. A typical electric-vehicle battery pack wants about 35 kilogrammes of nickel, in response to the IMF, whereas charging stations require substantial quantities of copper.

Read more at: https://uk.universalpersonality.com/market/vale-aims-to-transform-misfiring-metals-division-to-win-business-of-tesla/

#NYTimes: Why a #Chinese Company Dominates Electric Car Batteries

CATL has given China a commanding lead in electric car batteries, a technology central to the broader green revolution. The company already supplies batteries to almost all of the world’s automakers, including G.M., Volkswagen, BMW and Tesla. CATL has emerged as one of the biggest winners of the electric car boom, along with Tesla.

Chinese government officials made sure CATL’s business stayed in Chinese hands. They created a captive market of battery customers. And when CATL needed money, they doled it out.

“CATL definitely seems like it’s the concept and creation of a master plan,” said Michael Dunne, a former G.M. executive in Asia and now an analyst.

Read more at: How China’s CATL Became the Top Electric Car Battery Maker – The New York Times (nytimes.com)

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