London's 2012 Olympic Village, is It Green Enough?
Written by Heather Rushworth
The Olympics is that sacred time of year where the world’s people come together – from all creeds, and walks of life – and waste valuable resources in unison. With the blink of an eye enthusiastic crowds fill landfills with trash, transportation fumes smother the once clear sky, and millions of feeble ants are smashed under the stampede of frenzied fans’ boots.
Let’s not let our liberal tree-hugging ideas spur hasty judgment on the topic, after all, environmental disregard is what makes the Olympics fun. The Olympics are all about dominating nature, showing the old hag whose boss. And these ‘games’ are a mere vehicle to showcase physical brawn and vigor over the natural environment, a mere means to violently roar, “Take this ocean. Take this horse. Take this Badminton.”
Okay, perhaps these smug assumptions are a bit outlandish. The Olympics actually have made an effort to not only better their toll on the natural environment, but to greatly improve the conditions of the environment of the city they inhabit. The International Olympic Committee says this about their endeavors on their website, “The Olympics should provide a positive sustainable and environmental legacy that will last well beyond the Olympics themselves.”
This green ambition started in Sydney in 2000, when the Olympic committee chose to regenerate a Brownfield industrial site that had degenerated to a partial waste landfill – ultimately renovating it into their deluxe Olympic Stadium, and this eco agenda has only compounded over the years proving that 2012 is bound to be the Olympics greatest show of environmental initiatives to date.
One of the major feats of the Olympic Village’s eco-agenda is the way their facilities have met London’s new ‘Code for Sustainable Homes Level Four’ standards, which calls for a forty-four percent reduction in carbon emissions and a thirty percent reduction in water usage. This is a big deal considering the village will contain nearly 3,000 new apartments and 16,000 athletes and officials. The use of ‘green roofs’ on these buildings has been a major factor in the decreasing of such emissions.
Power for portions of the games will be generated by biomass boilers and a combined cooling heat and power plant, which are known for achieving low-carbon energy rates. In order to offset any carbon emissions that do sneak out on the Olympics’ behalf, the games are planting more than four thousand trees and a half a million plants, resulting in one of the largest landscaping projects ever taken on by the UK.
The Copper Box building which will host handball, goalball and the pentathlon, is roofed in approximately 3,000 square meters of largely recycled copper cladding, and is reducing the need for artificial lighting by forty percent by utilizing the conservation capacities of eighty-eight light pipes.
On the water front, rainwater harvesting will be used to flush the Copper Box’s toilets, reducing water use by forty percent. In the Aquatic Center, recycled aluminum was used for the roof’s structure, and one of the building’s supporting walls will double as a biodiversity space for wildlife.
However, it is the main stadium that gets the gold medal for sustainable efforts. London’s arena reduced steel consumption to such an extent that it is seventy-five percent lighter than all comparable stadiums. The gas pipes are made from recycled materials, and the concrete used is low-carbon.
While it is the peak abilities of the games’ athletes that will draw the crowds, it is the eco-measures of the Olympics that will make a cultural impact for years to come.
London Olympic Park Fly Through
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.