Exelon commits to a rapid EV conversion strategy
Nuclear energy company Exelon has announced a bold new plan to electrify 30% of its fleet by 2025 and 50% by 2030.
The company, a Fortune 100 listed enterprise with a revenue in excess of USD$35.9bn and employing 33,400 people, projected that this new endeavour would constitute a carbon reduction equivalent to planting and growing 1mn trees over a 10-year period.
A leader in the international nuclear energy sphere, Exelon owns 23 reactors and has a combined capacity of 35,500 MW. Generating 12% of the US’ clean energy for a customer base of approximately 10mn, the scale of its operations makes the significance of its decision even greater.
Transitioning to EVs
The company’s large fleet of over 7,200 vehicles enables it to make significant change by adapting this aspect of its operations alone. By its own estimate, a 30% conversion would mitigate 15mn pounds of CO2, with 50% yielding 12,000 to 15,000 metric tonnes.
Utilising a combination of vehicle types, including plug-in hybrids and fully electric, Exelon has made it clear that this decision reflects a corporate social responsibility (CSR) push to provide a better environment for everyone.
A smooth roll-off/roll-on policy, by which combustion-engine cars at the end of their operational life will be replaced with electric or hybrid vehicles, will allow the company to meet its time targets.
“Exelon is committed to providing a cleaner and brighter future for our customers and communities while achieving excellent operational performance,” commented Calvin Butler, CEO of Exelon Utilities.
Citing transport as responsible for one-third of the US’ greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, Butler went on to say that the company was proud to take a leading role in the push for EV usage in the energy sector.
“Transportation electrification holds the promise of helping the cities and states in which we operate meet their environmental goals, reduce their carbon footprint, bring cleaner air to all communities we serve and create economic opportunity through job creation and reduced energy costs.”
Energy efficiency as a vehicle for change
This latest initiative, in combination with previous efforts, as well as nuclear’s inherently zero-carbon emitting nature, demonstrates Exelon’s clear focus on environmental sustainability. Moreover, its dedication to optimising energy efficiency underpins this strategy.
The company claims that it managed to 22.3mn mWh (8.7mn tonnes of GHG) in 2019 alone, the same as taking 1.8mn cars off the road permanently.
However, efficiency doesn’t stop at its energy supply; Exelon will bring this same attitude to its new fleet also.
Calculating that 65% of its’ vehicles engine hours are spent ‘idling’, the company will equip its heavier vehicles (i.e. those which cannot currently be electrified) with ‘idle mitigation units’ which will switch off their diesel engines and instead run on a plug-in battery.
It is by this thorough reimagining of transportation that Exelon stands to make a real difference in its pursuit of cleaner, better operations.
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.