Considering the Total Costs of Energy
Nothing happens without an energy cost. That is virtually as basic as the laws of physics. Nothing is made, nothing is grown, nothing moves, without an energy cost. The lower the real cost of its energy, the more productive any business or other economic unit will be.
The three value factors of energy include its cost in money per unit of energy, the cost to the environment, and the cost for transport. These three factors affect the sum total cost of energy to any user in many ways. Since the cost of energy directly affects value and profitability, it is important that everything practical be done to lower overall energy costs. There are only two ways to do this, reduce energy consumption, and reduce energy costs.
Reducing energy consumption—conserving energy—is important only where energy efficiency can be increased, something that may not be practical in many cases. Also, this must be done without increasing environmental or transportation costs. While it is quite easy to assess direct costs, calculating the cost of environmental damage, or even transportation costs are much more difficult.
An example of one successful effort at a major change was that undertaken by the Port of Long Beach in 2006. This change was undertaken principally to reduce air pollution, a major environment cost to the area. It had to be done in a manner that was as cost effective as practical.
There are many efforts similar to that of the Port of Long Beach underway throughout the country. These are efforts to improve efficiency and lower costs with many types of energy use. Increasingly, the environmental costs are being considered in the overall equation. Many times these types of improvements have been found to pay back the investment in less time than anticipated. That is an everybody winsscenario. The energy mix is a highly complex and variable reality dependent on location, requirements, and available sources. There is no-one-size-fits-all solution, anywhere.
Howard Johnson, Author of “Energy, Convenient Solutions”
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.