#Bolivia’s Almost Impossible #Lithium Dream


One of the world’s poorest nations is sitting on the second-largest amount of the mineral needed to power electric cars.

President Morales nationalized hydrocarbons, #Bolivia’s main source of revenue, as well as the electricity grid and telecoms. He vowed to “industrialize with dignity and sovereignty,” promising that raw #Lithium would not be exploited by foreign corporations but instead processed by state-controlled entities in Bolivia and transformed into batteries. Morales once said he wanted to see “a lithium-powered #Toyota made in Bolivia.”



Read more at: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/features/2018-12-03/bolivia-s-almost-impossible-lithium-dream

Waste #CO2 to be turned into ingredients for fuel, plastics and even food



The recent landmark report from the Intergovernmental Panel on #Climate Change warned that the world needs to limit temperature rise to 1.5°C. This requires many solutions and multiple technologies.

“Since the industrial sector emits 40% of all carbon dioxide, we are trying to capture it from the chimney and do something useful with it,” said Professor Patricia Luis Alconero at #UC #Louvain in #Belgium, who has just begun an ambitious project to turn waste #CO2 into useful chemicals.

Her project, CO2Life, is inspired by nature. “Our process looks at the way nature takes up CO2 for its own ends. We try to copy nature’s use of enzymes, but in a way that is more efficient and which uses membrane technology,” she said.

Current technology for capturing carbon uses liquid amines, expensive and toxic chemicals with great affinity for CO2 molecules, but the cost and sustainability of the process are of concern. In order to generate energy and to capture CO2 in a fossil fuel power plant, for instance, an additional 30% more energy needs to be generated.


To develop this membrane-based process, Prof. Luis Alconero is using amino acid salts and enzymes that will capture and convert CO2 molecules into useful chemicals. In a second step, also using membranes, the chemicals will be crystallised and recovered as pure materials for use by industry.

“This process is flexible since depending on the enzymes we use, we can get different chemicals,” she said. Examples include carbonate salts, such as sodium or calcium carbonate, a raw material for the cement industry, or glucose.

Other high-value possibilities are pure compounds that could be valuable to the food industry. It is the cost of turning CO2 into something useful and the value of that material that determines whether the process sinks or swims.

“CO2 is a waste, so it really has to be a cheap process that leads to an interesting component,” said Prof. Luis Alconero, who aims to build a prototype system.

“Our objective is to come up with a solution that is more environmentally friendly than amines and also to solve the economic issues,” she said.

Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2018-11-co2-ingredients-fuel-plastics-food.html#jCp


System to rid space station of astronaut exhalations inspires Earth-based CO2 removal


When astronauts aboard the International Space Station (#ISS) exhale carbon dioxide (CO2), it’s removed from the air and pumped into space. Could an Earth-based version help remove greenhouse gas emissions from our atmosphere?


In order to limit global warming to 1.5˚C above pre-industrial levels and avoid some of the worse impacts of climate change, it means eliminating all 42 billion tonnes of annual CO2 emissions by 2050.

One way of doing this is to cut emissions. Another is to design materials that can remove the CO2 that is already in the atmosphere or before it’s expelled. The problem is that no one has quite worked out how best to do this – yet.

The air filter system in space inspired Professor Stefano Brandani and Dr Giulio Santori from the University of Edinburgh, UK, to develop a way of capturing and concentrating CO2 directly from the atmosphere. This ambitious strategy – to build a so-called artificial tree – would see CO2 captured to be stored in large underground reservoirs.


The CO2 breathed by astronauts aboard the ISS is captured by using a sponge-like mineral called a zeolite, which has tiny pores to lock in a CO2 molecule. On the space station, the zeolites empty their CO2 when exposed to the vacuum of space.

As part of a project called ACCA, Dr Santori is hacking the system so it will work on Earth. This is more challenging. ‘There is so much more CO2 to capture and concentrations are more dilute to begin with on Earth, so it is much more energy intensive,’ he explained. ‘The starting concentration of CO2 on the ISS is one order of magnitude higher.’


The idea is to install membranes that trap CO2, which can then be concentrated and compressed for storage. ‘Membranes are efficient and can save energy compared to other systems,’ said Professor Marco Giacinti Baschetti at the University of Bologna, Italy.

In traditional strategies used by industries such as coal plants, CO2 is captured in special liquids or solid sponge-like structures, but these must then be heated up to release the CO2. This is not needed with membranes. All existing technologies, however, are costly. Current membrane materials are not durable enough and do not separate CO2 well enough to be economically sensible.

Prof. Baschetti runs a project called NANOMEMC2 which is developing a number of different membranes for CO2 capture. In November, the team is to test a new membrane in a Colacem cement facility in Italy.

Developed by project scientists at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, the membrane is made of hollow fibres, about a millimetre thick, and covered with an extremely thin layer of nanocellulose and polymer mixed with artificial amino acids. The nanocelluose, which is made of miniscule fibres from wood, allows CO2 to permeate, while blocking other gases. The amino acid grabs onto CO2 and pulls it across the membrane.

Read more at: https://horizon-magazine.eu/article/system-rid-space-station-astronaut-exhalations-inspires-earth-based-co2-removal.html

#Chinese #Nickel demand to increase, but build-up in capacity to cap prices


Chinese nickel demand from stainless steel and battery materials producers will continue to rise in near future, although extensive investments in nickel projects will cap higher nickel prices.

The growth in battery materials production led by expectations of a boom in electric vehicles (#EVs) will also drive higher #Nickel consumption.

“#China produced 100,000 tonnes of ternary battery materials in 2017, up 100% from 2016; meanwhile, production is expected to rise about 30% in 2018,” Xu Aidong, chief analyst at Beijing Antaike, said.

As a result, there has been  aggressive investment by #Chinese producers in new nickel projects, especially in #Indonesia, in order to secure the resources for these two areas of growth.

Most recently, Chinese #Cobalt producer Huayou Cobalt announced in November it is to invest in a joint venture with other four companies to build a laterite ore hydrometallurgy plant producing nickel intermediate products in Morowali, Indonesia.

Read more at: https://www.metalbulletin.com/Article/3842915/battery-raw-materials/Ni-and-Co-CONFERENCE-Chinese-nickel-demand-to-increase-but-build-up-in-capacity-to-cap-prices.html

Germany to give all sectors CO2 reduction targets in draft law


#BERLIN (#Reuters) – #German Environment Ministry said that it would soon present a draft climate protection law in which all sectors would be given a specific target for reducing their carbon dioxide emissions.

Ministry said fossil fuel use would become more expensive for transport or buildings while electricity would become cheaper.

It added that all in all citizens should not face a heavier burden.

Read more at: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-germany-environment/germany-to-give-all-sectors-co2-reduction-targets-in-draft-law-idUSKCN1NC28J

#Bloomberg: Car Battery Pioneer Says New Breakthrough Will Lower Cobalt Use

Cobalt owned by Anthony Milewski. Photography: Jasper Juinen

The scientist-turned-entrepreneur behind a battery technology adopted by chemical giants #BASF SE and Johnson Matthey Plc is back with another invention — one he claims will boost electric vehicle performance for years to come.

Latest innovation reduces the need for #Cobalt, a key battery material, to only the most critical areas in order to lower costs. The blueish-gray element is mined mostly in Democratic Republic of Congo and prices have spiked in recent years amid fears of shortages for battery-powered cars.

New invention, called #, can be used in a number of types of #Nickel-based power packs and has been granted patents in the #US, the #EuropeanUnion, #China and #Japan — the major battery manufacturing markets.

Read more at: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-11-06/car-battery-pioneer-says-new-breakthrough-will-lower-cobalt-use?utm_source=google&utm_medium=bd&cmpId=google

#BBC News: Ten simple things help save the planet


We know that climate change is happening – but there are plenty of things individuals can do to help mitigate it. Here’s your handy guide to the most effective strategies.

1. What is the single most important thing humanity has to do in the coming years – and what does that mean for me?

2. Changing how industries are run or subsidised doesn’t sound like anything I can influence… can I?

3. Other than that, what’s the best daily action I can take?

4. But isn’t renewable energy extremely expensive?

5. Could I make a difference by changing my diet?

6. How harmful are my flying habits?

7. Should I be shopping differently?

8. Should I think about how many children I have (or don’t have)?

9. But if I eat less meat or take fewer flights, that’s just me – how much of a difference can that really make?

10. What if I just can’t avoid that flight, or cut down on driving?

Read more at: http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20181102-what-can-i-do-about-climate-change

« Older Entries Recent Entries »