FedEx Experiments with Electric Vehicles
At its package distribution center in lower Manhattan, FedEx tests the waters with a fleet of 10 electric-powered delivery vans. Part of the study by FedEx, Columbia University and General Electric will include finding convenient and cost-effective solutions for charging the vehicles for future plans in making a major shift from gasoline to electric powered fleets.
FedEx has been testing the EV market for a number of years and currently has about 43 EVs in service in Los Angeles, Chicago and New York. UPS has 29 and Frito-Lay has 176 electric trucks running on electricity, delivering goods to stores across North America. As part of Obama's National Clean Fleets Partnership, the companies have pledged to use more electric vehicles and alternative fuels for their fleets.
Unlike the others, however, FedEx is strategically experimenting with different vehicles from different companies to find the most cost-efficient and reliable model for large-scale, nation-wide use. That includes testing out the amount of electricity the vehicles would use and how that would affect the city's grid where they would be operating.
Each van requires about the same amount of energy as an average suburban house. The problem is, if a fleet of some 100 to 200 vehicles were to be charging at the same time, it's possible for the system to become overloaded and cause a blackout. Researchers are analyzing data from the vans charging activities to find a solution.
“We want to know how much electricity is going into the charging station, how many times each truck is being recharged, how many trips they take, and how far they go—all the electric parameters that come with a vehicle like this,” Matt Nielsen, GE Global Research’s lead scientist on the project, told Bloomberg. “We’re trying to bring in data from a lot of different sources.”
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Although the futuristic vans cost about two to three times the cost of traditional vans, it's estimated that they cost 75 percent less to operate than their gas hog counterparts. By the end of 2013, FedEx expects to have some solid answers for assessing its options in expanding the electric vans throughout the company. That's good news for the drivers as well, boasting that the new vans have a tighter turning radius and reduced noise pollution, making delivery shifts much more enjoyable.
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.