Category Archives: Technology

#Australian engineers patent #Graphite/#Aluminum thermal block to store renewable energy

NEWCASTLE, Australia, Oct 27 (Reuters) – A team of engineers at Australia’s University of Newcastle has patented a material designed to store thermal energy in the form of a block, which its inventors hope can be used to ease the transition away from coal-fired power.

Known as Miscibility Gaps Alloy (MGA), the bricks, made from aluminium and graphite, store energy generated from renewable sources, with the research predicting they can last about 30 years without any change in reliability.

Read more at: Australian engineers patent thermal block to store renewable energy | Reuters

#Bloomberg: #Canada Emerges as Cornerstone of North American Battery Supply Chain

Canada is re-positioning itself to take advantage of the growing electric vehicle supply chain, after years of overlooking the battery industry.

Despite the promising foundations for Canada to be a cornerstone of the North American battery supply chain, until recently it had appeared that there was a lack of support at the government/policy level to attract the industry. This is no longer the case, in just the last two weeks two cell manufacturers have been enticed to set up shop in Canada, with plans to build gigawatt-hour scale cell manufacturing facilities in the country.

Britishvolt, a UK-headquartered cell manufacturing startup, plans to build a 60GWh plant in Quebec. While Stromvolt, a Canadian headquartered startup, is planning a 10GWh plant in Ontario. Combined with announcements south of the boarder, North America has plans for over 400GWh of capacity to be built this decade. This is still short of the 508GWh annual demand the region will have by 2030, so expect more announcements to come.

Read more at: Canada Poised to Become Battery Leader in North America – Bloomberg

Can Nuclear Fusion Put the Brakes on Climate Change?

As per Dennis Whyte, a native of Saskatchewan, Canada and the director of the Plasma Science and Fusion Center, at M.I.T., the field of nuclear fusion, as a whole, was still moving forward, but agonizingly slowly..

The accelerating climate crisis makes fusion’s elusiveness more than cutely maddening. Solar energy gets more efficient and affordable each year, but it’s not continuously available, and it still relies on gas power plants for distribution. The same is true for wind power. Conventional nuclear power has extremely well-known disadvantages. Carbon capture, which is like a toothbrush for the sky, is compelling, but after you capture a teraton or two of carbon there’s nowhere to put it. All these tools figure extensively in decarbonization plans laid out by groups like the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, but, according to those plans, even when combined with one another the tools are insufficient. Fusion remains the great clean-energy dream—or, depending on whom you ask, pipe dream.

Fusion, theoretically, has no scarcity issues; our planet has enough of fusion’s primary fuels, heavy hydrogen and lithium, which are found in seawater, to last thirty million years. Fusion requires no major advances in batteries, it would be available on demand, it wouldn’t cause the next Fukushima, and it wouldn’t be too pricey—if only we could figure out all the “details.”

The details are tremendously complex, and the people who work to figure them out have for years been dealing with their own scarcities—scarcities of funding and scarcities of faith. Fusion, as of now, has no place in the Green New Deal.

Read more at: Can Nuclear Fusion Put the Brakes on Climate Change? | The New Yorker

#BHP – #Kwinana produces first nickel sulphate using nickel powder as raw material

The Kwinana plant, south of Perth, has produced its first nickel sulphate crystals, mining major BHP announced on Friday, stating that it was an “Australian first”.

The plant would produce 100 000 t/y of nickel sulphate, enough premium product to make 700 000 electric vehicle batteries each year

Nickel from BHP’s mines is processed at the Kalgoorlie nickel smelter, before it is transported to the Kwinana nickel refinery and refined into nickel metal (in the form of powder or briquettes). Nickel powder is then processed through the new sulphate plant to make nickel sulphate. The nickel sulphate will be exported to global battery markets from the Port of Fremantle. 

Read more at: Kwinana produces first nickel sulphate – BHP (miningweekly.com)

#US Needs 10X More #RareEarth Metals To Hit #Biden’s Electric Vehicle Goals

The United States needs ten times the amount of rare earth metals it currently has to meet President Biden’s ambitious 2030 EV goals, according to one CEO in the business. And it needs 20 to 25 times more to meet the burgeoning needs of the green economy — and the military — as we increase investment in wind power, electric vehicles, and even cell phones to the year 2050.

To meet even part of that goal with domestic supply of rare earths seems almost impossible. And foreign sources are increasingly problematic.

The U.S. doesn’t necessarily need to cover 100% of its own needs for rare earth metals, Althaus says, even if that might be nice.

Even 50-60% would help ensure that the global supply is not weaponized by China — which did cut off supply to Japan for 40 days in 2010 in an international spat over territorial waters.

Today, even China is a net importer of rare earths: part of the reason for the countries expansive Belt and Road initiative.

Read more at: US Needs 10X More Rare Earth Metals To Hit Biden’s Electric Vehicle Goals (forbes.com)

#WSJ – At #UnitedNations, #China’s #Xi Commits to Stop Building #Coal Plants Abroad

Beijing has been criticized by the U.S. and environmental groups over projects adding to pollution in developing countries.

Chinese President Xi Jinping on Tuesday said Beijing would stop building coal-fired power plants abroad, in a public commitment to redirect the country’s huge engineering industry away from adding to a source of global pollution.

Beijing has faced pressure from the U.S., the European Union and environmental groups for having continued to finance and build coal-fired power plants in many developing countries, even as it said it would cut greenhouse emissions at home.

Read more at: At U.N., China’s Xi Commits to Stop Building Coal Plants Abroad – WSJ

#Biden administration says #SolarEnergy has the potential to power 40% of #US electricity by 2035

(CNN) A new blueprint from the Biden administration shows how solar energy could play a massive role in transitioning the United States’ power sector to clean energy, and achieve the President’s ambitious goals to decarbonize the US economy.

The Solar Futures Study from the Department of Energy, released Wednesday, shows that by 2035, solar energy has the potential to power 40% of the nation’s electricity and employ as many as 1.5 million people — without raising electricity costs for consumers.

Read more at: Solar energy has the potential to power 40% of US electricity by 2035, new DOE report shows – CNNPolitics

#Nickel hits highest since 2014 as stockpiles dwindle

LONDON, Sept 9 (Reuters) – Nickel prices rose to their highest since 2014 on Thursday as strong demand eats into stockpiles held in the London Metal Exchange (LME) warehouse system.

Benchmark LME nickel CMNI3 was up 2.2% at $20,150 a tonne at 1100 GMT after touching $20,255, its highest since May 2014.

“The demand side is pretty robust (and) supply is tight because of earlier lockdowns, particulary in places like Indonesia,” said independent analyst Robin Bhar.

“We’ve seen LME and Shanghai stockpiles being drawn down as a result,” he added, predicting that nickel would rise above its 2014 peak of $21,625.

Read more at: METALS-Nickel hits highest since 2014 as stockpiles dwindle | Nasdaq

#Tesla implements blockchain pilot for sustainable sourcing of #cobalt in #DRC

Tesla, the United States-based manufacturer of electric vehicles (EVs), is implementing a blockchain solution for end-to-end cobalt traceability in partnership with Glencore, China Molybdenum (CMOC) and Eurasian Resources Group (ERG), Glencore announced in a press release dated Thursday August 12.The Re|Source blockchain platform that Tesla is piloting was founded by Glencore, CMOC and ERG, and was launched in 2019. It was later joined by Umicore, and backed by Norilsk Nickel and Johnson Matthey. The Responsible Minerals Initiative (RMI) and the Cobalt Institute (CI) have also joined as strategic advisers.


The Re|Source platform is intended to develop a blockchain solution for the tracing of cobalt used in EV batteries, ensuring that they are sustainably sourced, and allowing users to account for and verify the origin of each unit.

Read more at: Tesla implements blockchain pilot for sustainable sourcing of cobalt in DRC | Metal Bulletin.com

#Reuters: Metals recycling to be a key plank for cutting emissions.

Analysts at Wood Mackenzie estimate an additional 360 million tonnes of aluminium, 90 million tonnes of copper and 30 million tonnes of nickel will be needed over the next 20 years under a scenario that limits global warming to less than 2˚C.

Consumer awareness of carbon emissions from the production of metals for the energy transition will eventually energise the recycling industry and stimulate searches for substitutes that could spoil the party for miners.

Read more at: https://www.reuters.com/business/environment/metals-recycling-be-key-plank-cutting-emissions-2021-07-15/

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