May 17, 2020

Ghost Town Becomes Sustainable Innovation Playground

clean energy
testing
Technology
New Mexico
Admin
2 min
New Mexico plans $200 million smart city
Written by Jonah Heller Rural New Mexico is home to a number of empty old ghost towns. Once growing communities, today they're nothing more than a...

 

Written by Jonah Heller

Rural New Mexico is home to a number of empty old ghost towns. Once growing communities, today they're nothing more than a monument to bygone times of the Wild West. With a typical population consisting of spiders, lizards, and the occasional deer, these abandoned cities are hardly the picture of modern innovation.

But one Washington based technology firm is looking to change all that, by constructing a brand new $200m “ghost town”. Once complete, the town will cover 20 square miles and have all the infrastructure, buildings, roads, water, and energy to support a population of 35,000 people.

While nobody will actually live in the town, The Center for Innovation, Testing, and Evaluation (official project name), will be a fully functional, life-sized, simulated 'smart city' test environment.

Private organizations, government agencies, universities, and the like will utilize the center as a testing ground for emerging technologies like smart power grids, next generation wireless networks, and intelligent traffic systems.

Bob Brumley, CEO of Pegasus-Global Holdings has said, “The idea for 'The Center' was born out of our own company's challenges in trying to test new and emerging technologies beyond the confines of a sterile lab environment.”

Some likely tests could include the effectiveness of rooftop solar panels when a thermostat is set to 68°F versus 78°F, or how well the same solar panels perform on a shady lot in comparison to a sunny one.

While the center will undoubtedly be the most talked about “ghost town” in New Mexico, it's surprisingly not the only project of its kind. A firm called Living PlanIT will attempt to take the 'smart city' concept countless steps further. Designed for total control of all systems from one central computer, PlanIT Valley is a $19b development slated for construction in southern Portugal, which will accommodate both residents and scientists alike.

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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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