May 17, 2020

Bill Gates on the Energy Crisis

Bill Gates
3 min
In his keynote speech at the WIRED Business Conference, Bill Gates gives his opinion on the energy crisis and world energy security
Microsoft founder Bill Gates urges more investment be made into research and development in energy innovation rather than old technologies. This messa...


Microsoft founder Bill Gates urges more investment be made into research and development in energy innovation rather than old technologies. This message came at the 2011 WIRED Business Conference in New York City. Gates warns that “cute” technologies, such as solar panels, LED lights, and energy efficient buildings are economic, but don’t address the bigger challenges faced by climate change.

“Can we, by increasing efficiency [technologies], deal with our climate problem? The answer there is basically no, because the climate problem requires more than 90 percent reduction of CO2 emitted, and no amount of efficiency improvement is enough,” says Gates.

Gates makes a valid point. Considering the increasingly devastating climate-related natural disasters occurring each year, the very real implications of climate change are beginning to take hold. Whether you are on the left or on the right, devastating floods, hurricanes, and tornadoes should be a wake up call!

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He adds, “With the CO2 problem, even if the rich world did very erratic things it doesn’t come anywhere near to solving the problem. You have to help the rest of the world get energy at a very reasonable price to get anywhere… The problem is that rich countries can afford to overpay for things. We can afford to overpay for medicine, energy, we can rig our food prices… Our politicians aren’t told that we’re suffering because we’re overpaying for things.”

People in industrialized countries tend to forget that developing countries’ infrastructure is in many cases far behind modern standards, and cheap dirty energy sources developed in these countries are helping to lift them out of poverty much the same way they did for now developed countries decades ago. However, these nations often cannot afford more modern clean and renewable energy options, and therein lies the problem.

Gates goes on to discuss the promise that nuclear technology holds, and believes that increasing research and development in nuclear energy is the real solution to the energy crisis. “The good news about nuclear is that there’s hardly been any innovation, so the room to do things differently has been quite dramatic,” he claims. Gates has invested heavily into nuclear power innovation through various startups, such as TerraPower, which has designed a prototype nuclear reactor that can run for 50 years without refueling. Gate’s claims that nuclear waste is “tiny” when compared to the waste emitted from coal and fossil fuel plants. In regard to the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan, Gates notes that the Japanese plants were “weak” designs developed in the 1960s.

The fact is, nuclear does hold the most promise in securing the world’s energy future. Next generation fission reaction plants are safer than ever, and waste is minimal. Even better, the promise of nuclear fusion reactors is a close reality, and some fusion options, including the controversial but resurfacing “cold fusion” process, do not produce any hazardous waste at all! What’s more exciting is the energy mysteries awaiting discovery at the quantum level as researchers are just now beginning to unravel the secrets of tapping into the quantum vacuum energy field—essentially harnessing the very power of the universe itself! These are the technological breakthroughs that will move human civilization into the next age.

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Oct 19, 2020

Itronics successfully tests manganese recovery process

Scott Birch
3 min
Nevada firm aims to become the primary manganese producer in the United States
Nevada firm aims to become the primary manganese producer in the United States...

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.

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