Microsoft Goes Carbon Neutral this Summer
Come this summer, Microsoft's operations buildings will go carbon neutral. Starting in July, the company's data centers, software development labs, air travel and office buildings will all take part in the new green energy initiative.
"We recognize that we are not the first company to commit to carbon neutrality," said Microsoft Chief Operating Officer Kevin Turner in a blog post, "but we are hopeful that our decision will encourage other companies large and small to look at what they can do to address this important issue."
Others in the industry have made similar commitments. Google has been carbon neutral since 2007 and both Facebook and Apple have made various clean energy efforts, including new efficient data centers in the last year. Microsoft has been documenting its own set of sustainable energy efforts on its Software Enabled Earth blog since 2009. Thus far, the company has already achieved a 30 percent reduction in its carbon emissions.
Changes in employer habits alone have eliminated about 9.9 million miles of auto travel each year. The company has also adopted CarbonSystems, a cloud-based Enterprise Sustainability Platform, for managing environmental performance across over 600 facilities in over 100 countries.
"During that time we have also accelerated the shift in our business strategy to cloud computing and invested more than $3 billion USD to build facilities and networks globally to support this strategy," according to the company's latest carbon neutral (PDF) white paper.
SEE OTHER TOP STORIES IN THE ENERGY DIGITAL CONTENT NETWORK
Even though Microsoft got somewhat of a bad rap from the likes of Greenpeace last month for not using more sources of renewable energy to power its operations, the company is working to change that.
"The part I’m most excited about is our plan to infuse carbon awareness into every part of our business around the world," wrote Turner, "creating incentives for greater efficiency, increased purchases of renewable energy, better data collection and reporting, and an overall reduction of our environmental impact."
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.