Audi's Electra First Hybrid to Win Le Mans Race
Audi's 200-mph R18 e-tron quattro won this year's Le Mans race Sunday, marking the first time a hybrid racing car has ever won the world's most famous endurance race. In what has been nicknamed the “Electra,” driver André Lotterer traveled 3,201.18 miles over 24 hours—roughly the distance from Miami to Seattle.
Both Audi and Toyota entered two hybrids in the race, competing to see which would most successfully endure a twisty 8.5 mile course through France—the ultimate engineering test. As one of the most watched car races on the planet, the Electra crossed the finish line in front of some 240,000 fans.
SEE OTHER TOP STORIES IN THE ENERGY DIGITAL CONTENT NETWORK
Taking the top spot for the 11th year in a row, Audi also posted the fastest lap at 3 minutes and 24.189 seconds, an average speed of 149.315 mph. Energy harvested from a fly wheel while braking was fed into an electric motor to power its front wheels.
As for Toyota, results could have been better. By hour five, a Ferrari nudged driver Anthony Davidson in his Toyota, throwing the car off course in a wreck that left Davidson with two broken vertebrae. He was carted off the track by ambulance, but is expected to make a full recovery.
"Lying in a French hospital with a broken back wasn't what I had in mind at this stage in the race," he later tweeted.
Toyota's second car ran into some mechanical problems and suffered a minor crash by hour 11. Although things didn't go as planned for Toyota, the company is not too surprised given the circumstances. Delayed by the March tsunami and nuclear disaster, the team wasn't able to start working on its cars until September.
"This is a learning year for Toyota Racing," team president Yoshiaki Kinoshita said in a statement.
Bottom line, the fact that a hybrid won is a major accomplishment in the green tech world. And as for Toyota, the company says it will return next year with a vengeance. Fans are already getting pumped for next year's showdown: Audi vs. Toyota, hybrid vs. gas-guzzler.
Itronics successfully tests manganese recovery process
Itronics - a Nevada-based emerging cleantech materials growth company that manufacturers fertilisers and produces silver - has successfully tested two proprietary processes that recover manganese, with one process recovering manganese, potassium and zinc from paste produced by processing non-rechargeable alkaline batteries. The second recovers manganese via the company’s Rock Kleen Technology.
Manganese, one of the four most important industrial metals and widely used by the steel industry, has been designated by the US Federal Government as a "critical mineral." It is a major component of non-rechargeable alkaline batteries, one of the largest battery categories sold globally.
The use of manganese in EV batteries is increasing as EV battery technology is shifting to use of more nickel and manganese in battery formulations. But according to the US Department of Interior, there is no mine production of manganese in the United States. As such, Itronics is using its Rock Kleen Technology to test metal recoverability from mine tailings obtained from a former silver mine in western Nevada that has a high manganese content.
In a statement, Itronics says that its Rock Kleen process recovers silver, manganese, zinc, copper, lead and nickel. The company says that it has calculated – based on laboratory test results – that if a Rock Kleen tailings process is put into commercial production, the former mine site would become the only primary manganese producer in the United States.
Itronics adds that it has also tested non-rechargeable alkaline battery paste recovered by a large domestic battery recycling company to determine if it could use one of its hydrometallurgical processes to solubilize the manganese, potassium, and zinc contained in the paste. This testing was successful, and Itronics was able to produce material useable in two of its fertilisers, it says.
"We believe that the chemistry of the two recovery processes would lend itself to electrochemical recovery of the manganese, zinc, and other metals. At this time electrochemical recovery has been tested for zinc and copper,” says Dr John Whitney, Itronics president.
“Itronics has been reviewing procedures for electrochemical recovery of manganese and plans to move this technology forward when it is appropriate to do so and has acquired electro-winning equipment needed to do that.
"Because of the two described proprietary technologies, Itronics is positioned to become a domestic manganese producer on a large scale to satisfy domestic demand. The actual manganese products have not yet been defined, except for use in the Company's GOLD'n GRO Multi-Nutrient Fertilisers. However, the Company believes that it will be able to produce chemical manganese products as well as electrochemical products," he adds.
Itronics’ research and development plant is located in Reno, about 40 miles west of the Tesla giga-factory. Its planned cleantech materials campus, which will be located approximately 40 miles south of the Tesla factory, would be the location where the manganese products would be produced.
Panasonic is operating one of the world's largest EV battery factories at the Tesla location. However, Tesla and other companies have announced that EV battery technology is shifting to use of nickel-manganese batteries. Itronics is positioned and located to become a Nevada-0based supplier of manganese products for battery manufacturing as its manganese recovery technologies are advanced, the company states.
A long-term objective for Itronics is to become a leading producer of high purity metals, including the U.S. critical metals manganese and tin, using the Company's breakthrough hydrometallurgy, pyrometallurgy, and electrochemical technologies. ‘Additionally, Itronics is strategically positioned with its portfolio of "Zero Waste Energy Saving Technologies" to help solve the recently declared emergency need for domestic production of Critical Minerals from materials located at mine sites,’ the statement continues.
The Company's growth forecast centers upon its 10-year business plan designed to integrate its Zero Waste Energy Saving Technologies and to grow annual sales from $2 million in 2019, to $113 million in 2025.