Despite the Smog, China is Improving More than Many Think
Air pollution is a serious problem affecting developing countries today, and a lead consultant from research and consulting firm GlobalData suggests that politicians and policy makers in emerging economies such as India and China face bigger challenges compared to their peers in developed economies.
China and India’s cities suffer heavy levels of pollution due to mass motor vehicle ownership coinciding with the use of coal as a popular domestic fuel and local power generation fuel. Modern transport has coupled with more traditional coal-fired energy production, and the air quality is suffering as a result.
Jonathan Lane, GlobalData's Head of Consulting for Power and Utilities, considers China’s current air pollution in relation to Britain’s industrial era. London’s worst smog, or pea souper, started on 6th December 1952, lasted for four days and is reckoned to have killed 12,000 in total. Lane states that, similarly to Beijing in the present day, London’s weather was partly responsible for the smog, but the problem was eventually fixed by the Clean Air Act of 1956 which enforced the use of smokeless fuels and relocated power stations outside of cities. He says: “Progress towards resolving the situation in the UK was relatively slow.
Related Story: China Invests $27 Billion to Cut Emissions
“It is useful to contrast this with the challenges that lie before Beijing and other Chinese cities today and the progress they are making in improving air quality. The popular view is that Chinese politicians display the same attitude as Macmillan – burning coal and maintaining lax environmental policies in order not to damage economic growth. There are clear signs, however, that attitudes and development have changed significantly.”
Lane states that natural gas is the key driver transforming energy consumption in Beijing, and identifies development in three major areas. Firstly, the conversion of coal-fired heating and electricity generating plants from coal to natural gas is nearing completion in Beijing, and will reduce air pollution significantly, as district heating plants must be located inside the city and therefore contribute to smog problems in winter. The availability of natural gas to household consumers is also rising, with Beijing having around 4.5 million domestic gas connections, representing around 60-70% of all households. In addition to this, Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) is now available in Beijing, and the market is expected to grow rapidly. CNG has far fewer particulate emissions than either petrol or diesel, and will therefore help Beijing reduce its air pollution significantly.
Related Story: China's Renewable Energy Boom
“Indeed, natural gas is growing rapidly across China as many cities look to reduce their pollution problems,” states Lane. “GlobalData estimates that at the end of 2011, there were 108 million domestic natural gas connections in China, showing an astonishing growth of 19 million over 2010. Alongside the growth in domestic consumption will come growth in natural gas for urban electricity and heat generation, albeit more slowly. This, alongside China’s burgeoning solar PV market, will clear Beijing’s skies more quickly than many expect, and perhaps more quickly thatn London managed.”
GlobalData is a leading global business intelligence provider offering advanced analytics to help clients make better, more informed decisions every day. Our research and analysis is based on the expert knowledge of over 700 qualified business analysts and 25,000 interviews conducted with industry insiders every year, enabling us to offer the most relevant, reliable and actionable strategic business intelligence available for a wide range of industries.
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.