California Hybrid Drivers Lose HOV Lane Incentive
It must have been nearly a decade ago now. I was entering college in San Diego and commuted on the highway to get to school. Amidst terrible southern California traffic, I noticed that the new hybrid vehicles I’d seen in cheeky TV ads, such as the ever-so-popular Prius, were happily cruising in the HOV carpool lane with only a single driver. To my surprise, I later learned that those who were taking a chance on the new environmentally friendly technology were being rewarded through a statewide incentive program that allowed hybrid vehicle owners unlimited access to HOV carpool lanes, with or without a second passenger. All they needed was a small yellow sticker on the back of their cars that read, “Access OK, California Clean Air Vehicle.” Now, nearly a decade later, that privilege is coming to an end.
"On July 1, 2011, hybrid vehicles carrying the yellowsticker will no longer be allowed to operate in an HOV/carpool lane unless the minimum passenger requirements are met. This expiration date will not be extended," states the California DMV.
California lawmakers believe that at this day in age of ever-rising gasoline prices, drivers no longer need incentives to increase their fuel efficiency and reduce emissions. There was a brief period when the state stopped issuing the yellow stickers permitting HOV access to hybrids, and used vehicles that already had the stickers sold for more than brand new ones! Which, shows just how popular the incentive program was.
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But California lawmakers aren’t completely throwing out the idea of incentives for more fuel efficient, low-emission vehicles. The California DMV has also released a statement saying, "A new Green HOV sticker program will be in effect as of January 1, 2012, to promote the use of the next generation of hybrid and other technologies."
Some vehicles currently on the market, such as electric and natural gas cars and trucks, may qualify for a white sticker permitting single-occupancy HOV carpool lane access through January 1, 2015. So perhaps it’s time to trade in that old clunker 1st generation Prius for the new 3rd generation. Plug-in hybrid/electrics, all-electrics and compressed natural gas are the vehicles of the 2010s… so get with the times, and jump back into that HOV lane with or without a companion!
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.