Why the #US Needs Rare-Earth Elements for Homeland Security

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Why Does the US Need Rare-Earth Elements for Homeland Security?

Rare-earth elements are often added in very small amounts to composites that allow them to interact and produce results that neither element could do on their own. An example of rare-earth elements mixing with other alloys to form key ingredients is our military vehicles’ impact-shattering protective armor. Rare-earth elements are vital components in our nation’s next generation weapons and are already a key component in:

  • Jet-engine coatings
  • Night-vision goggles
  • Precision-guided weapons
  • Communications equipment
  • Laser finders and laser targeting
  • Satellites
  • Guidance systems
  • Radar and sonar sensors
  • Amplifiers in fiber-optic data transmitters
  • Permanent magnets in the F-22 tail fins and rudders
  • Predator drones
  • Tomahawk cruise missiles
  • “White noise” stealth technology

While the amount of rare-earth elements needed for our national defense systems is small in some cases, the amount is rather large in other products. For example:

  • Virginia-class nuclear submarines – 9,200 pounds
  • Arleigh Burke guided missile destroyers – 5,200 pounds
  • F-35 Joint Strike Fighters – 920 pounds

With the U.S. having 14 Arleigh Burke guided missile destroyers either already under construction or on order, and 2,663 F-35s in the production pipeline, the availability of rare-earth elements is critical to the nation’s defense.

Read more at: https://inhomelandsecurity.com/rare-earth-elements-homeland-security/

#Forbes: #Trump Administration Rebrands Carbon Dioxide As “Molecules Of #US Freedom”

Trump's America

The United States Department of Energy (DOE) has apparently started referring to carbon dioxide as “molecules of freedom” and natural gas as “freedom gas” , according to its latest press release.

In a statement announcing an increase of natural gas exports, energy officials used the surprising new terms. The statement announces the expansion of a facility in Quintana, Texas, that produces liquefied natural gas (LNG) for worldwide export.

Read more at: https://www.forbes.com/sites/jamesellsmoor/2019/05/30/trump-administration-rebrands-carbon-dioxide-as-molecules-of-u-s-freedom/#2e6c19473a24

#Forbes: #China’s “Nuclear Option” – Should Investors Get Excited About Rare Earth Metals?


Terbium is used to make flat-panel displays. Thulium can be found in your microwave. Dysprosium demand is growing with increased production of wind turbines and electric vehicles.

The 17 so-called “rare earth metals,” of which the three mentioned above are members, may not have household names like gold or copper, but they play strong supporting roles in many of the consumer electronics we enjoy on a daily basis, from our TVs to smartphones.

They also have important high-tech military, energy, health care and transportation applications. According to the Rare Earth Technology Alliance (RETA), each Lockheed Martin F-35 requires some 920 pounds of the metals. Some nuclear-powered submarines use up to 9,200 pounds.

All of this could be something of a concern in the near term. China, which accounts for close to 80 percent of the world’s annual production of rare earth metals, is allegedly preparing to curb the export of these important materials to the U.S. as a bargaining chip in the ongoing trade war between the two superpowers, and as retaliation for the recent U.S. ban on imports from Chinese telecommunications firm Huawei. In a tweet dated May 28, Hu Xijin, editor of the Chinese state-controlled Global Times newspaper, said that he believes the country “is seriously considering restricting rare earth exports to the U.S.” Some market commentators are already calling this China’s “nuclear” option.


#TradeWar: #US Risks ‘Devastating’ Blow From #China’s Rare Earths Monopoly


(Bloomberg) — Beijing’s threat to use its dominance of rare earths in the trade war risks serious disruption to U.S. industry, by starving manufacturers of components commonplace in everything from cars to dishwashers and military equipment. And, it’s a stranglehold that might take years to break.

China could wreak maximum havoc by squeezing supplies of the magnets and motors that use the elements, said Jack Lifton, co-founder of Technology Metals Research LLC, who’s been involved with rare earths since 1962. The impact on American industry could be “devastating,” he said from Michigan.

“There is no such thing as an automobile sold in the U.S. or made in the U.S. that doesn’t have rare-earth permanent magnet motors somewhere in its assembly,” Lifton said. “It would be a tremendous hit to the consumer appliance industry and the automotive industry. That means washing machines, vacuum cleaners, cars. The list is endless.”

Beijing is gearing up to use the minerals as a counter in its trade battle with Washington, according to a salvo of media reports in China on Wednesday, potentially exploiting U.S. reliance on China for about 80% of its supply. It would represent a significant escalation in a trade dispute that has already roiled markets and threatened global growth.


Global miner #BHP plans to expand #Nickel output amid battery boom


Global miner BHP Group said it plans to expand its nickel sulphide operations amid an expected boom in demand for the material in electric vehicle batteries.

But the company is not looking to produce main battery ingredient lithium as it sees such output having slimmer profits.

Speaking at a strategy briefing on long-term asset allocation, BHP Chief Financial Officer Peter Beaven said growth in nickel could come from either exploration or acquisitions.

Read more at: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-mining-bhp/bhp-seeks-more-nickel-sulfides-on-bright-battery-demand-idUSKCN1SS00G

#BillGates: This is what we need to do to tackle climate change


1. Improved energy storage systems: The sun and the wind are incredible energy sources. Finding ways to store that energy to use after the sun sets and the wind stops blowing is a big challenge we need to solve. We do have ways to store energy for a matter of hours—like lithium ion batteries—that are becoming cheaper every year.

2. Carbon capture and storage and nuclear: I often hear that lower cost solar and wind power along with the emerging breakthroughs in energy storage mean that these sources will be enough to get us to a carbon-free power grid. But because the world must balance the need to eliminate carbon emissions with economic growth, we should also consider what solutions would be most affordable. A recent study from researchers at MIT found that supporting renewable energy with a mix of clean energy solutions—including nuclear and carbon capture and storage (CCS)—would make carbon-free electricity up to 62 percent cheaper than using renewables alone.

3. High-voltage, long-distance transmission lines: Renewable power resources like wind and solar are often located far from the cities or industrial areas where energy demand is the greatest. Connecting our renewable energy supply with demand will require us to build transmission lines that can handle large amounts of power over very long distances. High-voltage direct current (HVDC) transmission technology—as opposed to the alternating current power lines most electric grids in the U.S. use today for transmission—would help us integrate renewable energy into our world’s power supply. Expanding HVDC lines, however, will not only require new investments in our power grids, but also supportive national and local policies to support their construction. Research and development at U.S. Department of Energy national laboratories like the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory is helping lay the groundwork for how we can design, build, and operate a 21st-century grid.

Read more at: https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2019/05/a-critical-step-to-reduce-climate-change/

#Graphite coating makes perovskite #SolarCells waterproof


Most solar cells currently on the market are made of silicon, however they are expensive to make and require a lot of very pure silicon to manufacture. They are also quite thick and heavy, which limits their applications.

Perovskite solar cells, using materials with the same 3-D structure as calcium titanium oxide, are cheaper to make, thinner and can be easily printed onto surfaces. They also work in low light conditions and can produce a higher voltage than silicon cells, meaning they could be used indoors to power devices without the need to plug into the mains.

The downside is they are unstable in water which presents a huge obstacle in their development and also limits their use for the direct generation of clean hydrogen fuels.

The team of scientists and chemical engineers, from the University of Bath’s Centre for Sustainable Chemical Technologies, has solved this problem by using a waterproof coating from graphite, the material used in pencil leads.

Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2019-05-graphite-coating-perovskite-solar-cells.html

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