May 17, 2020

Erin Brockovich on the World Water Crisis

energy digital
Erin Brockovich
Last Call at the Oasis
wat
Admin
3 min
Last Call at the Oasis serves as a wakeup call
Click here to experience this article in our digital reader In the 90s, Erin Brockovich, lacking any formal law school education, was instrumental in...

 

 

Click here to experience this article in our digital reader

In the 90s, Erin Brockovich, lacking any formal law school education, was instrumental in constructing a case against Pacific Gas & Electric Company regarding polluted groundwater supplies from the company's natural gas operations in the southern California town of Hinkley. After the case was settled for $333 million, the largest settlement ever paid in a direct action lawsuit in US history, Brockovich became unstoppable. Today, she's taking on more than local environmental issues and turning her attention to the global water crisis.

The famed environmentalist is featured as a prominent speaker in Jessica Yu's new documentary “Last Call at the Oasis,” focusing on the growing global water crisis—from the drying up of Lake Mead to the fight to keep herbicides from tainting drinking water around the world.

In a partnership with Google, Brockovich is also involved in a project to map disease clusters around the world, tying their relationship to contaminated water supplies. In a roundtable discussion with the Huffington Post, Brockovich said that the project began as she was receiving up to 50,000 emails per month from people reporting health issues in their communities. She then began to plot the communities on a map, and, realizing the magnitude and importance of the research, turned the initiative into her personal “life project.”

Read more in June's issue of Energy Digital: Energy Turns to SPACE 

With children in the military, the issue also hits close to home. Studies are currently being conducted linking past chemical exposure and groundwater contamination at the Marine Corps' Camp Lejeune to increased levels of disease among former residents.

Brockovich told the Huffington Post, "You are looking at soldiers who would give their lives so we are afforded this opportunity to be here today. They come home from three, four tours of duty, and they get poisoned on their own soil. If we stand down on them, if we don't rally to look at this, it will be the biggest black eye on America I've ever known."

THE FILM

The thought-provoking documentary reveals some unnerving statistics: Less than one percent of the world's water is actually available to drink; by 2025, more than half of the world will lack access to adequate water; the US has the largest water footprint in the world. The film also singles out particularly alarming crisis situations in Las Vegas, Los Angeles, California's Central Valley, Michigan, Texas, Australia and the Middle East.

On a positive note, the film also highlights efforts by nongovernmental organization Friends of the Earth Middle East, which is working with Israeli, Jordanian and Palestinian officials to clean up the polluted Jordan River.

“Compromise is happening in a place where you would think it would be impossible to have cooperation,” Yu said in an interview. “We can’t all become activists overnight, and no one thing is going to change the situation, but there is tremendous room for improvement.”

Brockovich and Yu hope the new film will serve as a wake up call. From the producers of “An Inconvenient Truth” and “Food, Inc.,” Yu's “Last Call at the Oasis” is now showing in select theaters.

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Oct 19, 2020

Itronics successfully tests manganese recovery process

cleantech
manganese
USA
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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