Go Green Before Dec. 31 and Uncle Sam will Help
Before the New Year begins, it may behoove you to make some energy-saving home improvements before some of the tax credits for doing so expire December 31, 2012. Forbes has put together a list of energy efficiency upgrades you can make and other tax breaks to take advantage of over the next week. The Alliance to Save Energy's consumer tax guide details which improvements count.
1. Home Improvements: A 10 percent tax credit is available for many energy-efficiency upgrades, including insulation, new windows, air conditioning and heating equipment, etc... Review the Alliance to Save Energy's consumer tax guide to see which upgrades are green enough to count.
2. Electric Cars: The $7,500 federal tax credit is still available for buying an electric plug-in vehicle like the GM Chevy Volt, Nissan's Leaf or Ford's Focus Electric.
3. Residential Charging Stations: Though they're not required for electric car owners, they do speed up the time to charge cars and there's a 2011 federal tax credit equal to 30 percent of the cost of installing one (maximum of $1,000 credit).
4. Car Conversion: Converting a gas-guzzler into a plug-in car with an electric car conversion kit will allow for a federal tax credit of 10 percent of the total cost (maximum credit of $4,000).
5. Low-Speed Electric Vehicles: Buying low-speed electric vehicles, like street-legal golf carts and mopeds, will snag a tax credit of 10 percent the total cost (maximum of $2,500).
6. Green Commuting: Bus, train, subway and van-pool commuters can put away up to $230 a month, provided their employers offer a pretax plan. It will most likely change to $125 a month on January 1, 2012.
SEE OTHER TOP STORIES IN THE ENERGY DIGITAL CONTENT NETWORK
7. Home Solar: Installing home solar panels will get you a tax credit equal to 30 percent of the price. Fortunately, this break will be available through 2016.
8. Home Geothermal: Like solar panel installations, a tax credit for 30 percent of the total cost of installing a geothermal unit will be available through 2016. Typical installations run around $18,000, meaning a $5,400 credit.
9. Wind Energy: A basic residential windmill runs $40,000, but again, a federal tax credit is available to offset 30 percent of the cost through 2016.
10. State Incentives: In addition to federal tax incentives, many states offer locals additional breaks or rebates from utilities and manufacturers. A complete list of green incentives can be found at North Carolina State University's Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency.
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.