May 17, 2020

The Future of Urban Development: Tianjin Eco-City

energy digital
Tianjin eco-city
3 min
The Future of Urban Development: Tianjin Eco-City
There's no question about it—China is aggressively making sure it dominates globally in renewable energy and sustainable development. Home t...


There's no question about it—China is aggressively making sure it dominates globally in renewable energy and sustainable development. Home to the world's largest solar panel plant, China now makes over half of the world's supply of solar panels and is the world's largest market for wind energy, surpassing the US. In the next five years, China will invest $250 billion in electric power infrastructure upgrades and expects to cut greenhouse gas emissions by at least 8 percent by 2015.

Although many of the country's ambitious plans and policies in clean energy have made it hard for many foreign manufacturers and investors to compete, Chinese President Hu Jinatao is bullish on bolstering sustainable economic growth as part of a plan to move the world's largest energy using and polluting country toward a more energy independent, cleaner state.

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As we watch China make this massive transformation, expect to see more than just solar panels on houses and wind turbines in hillsides; expect to see entire cities built around energy-efficiency and resource-conservation like the Sino-Singapore Tianjin Eco-city. Expected to be up and running by 2020, the Tianjin Eco-City will span 30 square kilometers and showcase the hottest energy-efficiency technologies, including an advanced light rail transit system and a variety of eco-landscapes powered with renewable energy.

Home to 350,000 residents, this green metropolis will serve as a model for future Chinese developments and other “eco-cities” around the world. Designed to be practical, replicable and scalable, public housing will be offered to meet the needs of lower to middle income residents, while the number of jobs to be generated within the city are expected to provide for at least half of its locals. Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) will be met in 26 different areas, including air and water quality, preservation of the natural ecology and biodiversity, green building, transportation and renewable energy.

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Though Tianjin will not be the first “eco-city” in the world, it seeks to differentiate itself in several ways. “Our key focus is to sustain a liveable city and find good urban solutions to deal with the challenges of high-density urban living,” according to the website. “We want to build a practical, scalable and replicable city that will meet the needs of other fast-growing cities in China and the world.”

The controversial question remaining is whether or not the KPIs of the project will be reached under the heavy and increasing pollution in the area, especially considering the majority of some of the most important factories in Beijing have been relocated to Tianjin since 2008. In addition to air quality, water supplies in the area could also be contaminated and the prevalence of certain cancers remain three times higher than in Australian cities and Singapore.

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But like most of China and the industrialized world, sustainable development will not come without challenge and the need for innovation. From green spaces to an integrated waste management system and efficient transportation networks in place, the city will produce record low carbon emissions. By the end of the year, the start-up phase of the project (3 sq km) is expected to be completed. Over the next decade, expect to see China continue to completely restructure its image as the world's worst polluting nation to one of the greenest—a phrase many thought they would never hear.  



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Oct 19, 2020

Itronics successfully tests manganese recovery process

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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