May 17, 2020

Home Improvements to make Before Going Solar

2 min
Solar power can boost your home’s energy efficiency, but improvements to insulation and appliances should be made first

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Written by Jonah Heller</p>
As our planet embarks upon a time of critical importance with respect to the environment and the way humans interact with it, the importance of developing and discovering new alternative energy sources will become increasingly eminent. Whether it&#39;s wind, tidal energy, biofuel, geothermal, or any other emerging technology, the source that seems to consistently garner the most attention is one we interact with on a <em>daily </em>basis: solar, energy from the sun.</p>
Possibly due to the fact that we schedule our lives around its rise and set pattern, solar is engrained in our minds to the point that for many people it&#39;s the first thought when discussing topics such as sustainability, energy, and the environment.</p>
But solar isn&#39;t just on the minds of individuals, large corporations have started to make massive capital investments in solar. Google&#39;s recent investment of $280 million in <span data-scayt_word="SolarCity" data-scaytid="6">SolarCity</span> will help the solar contractor headquartered in San Mateo, CA to deploy between 7,000 to 9,000 rooftop solar energy systems in the coming years. The move represents Google&rsquo;s single largest investment in clean power, which in total ($680 million to date) rivals the size of a large green-tech fund or venture capital firm, as well as the Department of Energy.</p>
When asked about Google&#39;s intention to make additional investments, Rick Needham, Director of Green Business Operations at Google, stated that, &ldquo;If we find attractive opportunities that meet our criteria, then we&rsquo;re willing to make more large-scale <span data-scayt_word="investments."" data-scaytid="1">investments.&rdquo;</span> Some of Google&#39;s other investments include Shepherds Flat, which will be the world&#39;s biggest wind farm, an 845 MW facility currently under construction in Oregon, a solar thermal project in the Mojave Desert, as well as a handful of green-tech startups.</p>
<strong>SEE OTHER TOP STORIES IN THE <span data-scayt_word="WDM" data-scaytid="7">WDM</span> CONTENT NETWORK</strong></p>
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With so much attention focused on solar and other major news breaking developments, what is often overlooked are the simple, inexpensive, and money saving investments that can be made to improve the energy efficiency of the things we already use. For example, in the United States buildings account for approximately 40% of total energy consumption and produce 40% of our carbon emission, therefore anything we can do to decrease these percentages is money saved.&nbsp;</p>
In a speech given at a Virginia Home Depot in 2009 President Barack Obama stated that &ldquo;The simple act of retrofitting these buildings... is one of the fastest, easiest, and cheapest things we can do to put Americans back to work, wile saving money, and reducing harmful <span data-scayt_word="emissions."" data-scaytid="2">emissions.&rdquo;</span> The President would later go on to say that, &ldquo;insulation is sexy!&rdquo;</p>
<a href=";mt=8…; style="margin-top: 0px; margin-right: 0px; margin-bottom: 0px; margin-left: 0px; padding-top: 0px; padding-right: 0px; padding-bottom: 0px; padding-left: 0px; text-decoration: underline; outline-style: none; outline-width: initial; outline-color: initial; color: rgb(146, 23, 18); ">DOWNLOAD THE ENERGY DIGITAL&nbsp;<span data-scayt_word="iPAD" data-scaytid="9">iPAD</span>&nbsp;APP</a></p>
But it&#39;s not just the president calling for action with respect to energy efficiency across the United States. Other political figures are getting involved as well, Congressman Peter Welch known for his strong leadership position on energy policy has been quoted as saying &ldquo;we should have the policy of efficiency first&rdquo;.&nbsp; In fact, one San Francisco based non-profit corporation believes in this message so much that they&#39;ve taken to calling themselves exactly that, Efficiency First, and are dedicated strictly to the importance of building performance retrofitting.</p>
But perhaps the most compelling argument for investing in energy efficiency can be made by the <span data-scayt_word="U.S" data-scaytid="3">U.S</span>. Department of Energy who has said that &ldquo;Over $20 billion dollars of electricity is unusable energy, but billable in the <span data-scayt_word="US."" data-scaytid="4">US.&rdquo;</span></p>
So what can be done? Well, taking the lead from President Obama we can start with insulation. Walls that lack or have poorly installed insulation are a great opportunity for savings. Because it costs a lot of money to condition the air in our homes (both heating and cooling), when that conditioned air leaks its like money blowing out the window.&nbsp;</p>
Another great place to improve our energy efficiency is in our appliances, and the top three household energy hogs that we all use are the water heater, clothes dryer, and refrigerator/freezer. Older less efficient models can be a huge source of wasted energy, and upgrading to <span data-scayt_word="EnergyStar" data-scaytid="10">EnergyStar</span> Qualified appliances will typically pay for itself in just a few short years.</p>
But no matter where you start, improving your energy efficiency <em>before going solar </em>can be a very simple, inexpensive, and money saving investment. Then, if you really want to be green, you can take the money saved from efficiency and use it to finance the solar panels you&#39;ve always dreamed of.</p>
To read additional articles and learn more simple, inexpensive, and money saving tips for your home, follow Jonah Heller at:&nbsp; <a href=""><span data-scayt_word="//; data-scaytid="5"></span>/<span data-scayt_word="greenjonah" data-scaytid="11">greenjonah</span></a></p>

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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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