Middle East is going green
The United Arab Emirates is known for having one of the world's highest per capita consumption rates of electricity. According to members of the Emirates Green Building Council, appreciation is growing for the need for more efficient buildings.
The emirate of Dubai has passed a law requiring all future buildings to be green starting in 2014, while a recent McGraw-Hill Construction study found 74 percent of UAE firms expect green building projects to account for the majority of their projects by 2015. Given that the UAE also has more green neighborhood projects planned than any other country in the world, the Distinguished Sustainability Lecture Series, held this week in the Middle East, offered a timely opportunity for local professionals to gain exposure to broader green building trends.
In Saudi Arabia, where per capita energy consumption is three times the world average according to the Saudi Energy Efficiency Center, investment in green building is growing. Of the more than 1,300 green projects currently underway in the Middle East, the Saudi Green Building Forum reports nearly 70 are based in the Kingdom.
The growth prospects for green building in Kuwait are even greater. The country has just 17 projects registered through the U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program. Yet, according to the Energy Information Administration, the country already uses as much as 98.5 percent of its grid capacity during peak demand periods. Rapidly rising consumption rates and persistent power shortages during times of demand make sustainable buildings a priority.
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“The Middle East has a great opportunity for a strong green building future and one where, increasingly, clients are demanding it,” said John Mandyck, chief sustainability officer, United Technologies Corp. Building and Industrial Systems. “Green building is a smart, long-term business decision with equal economic and environmental value. We hope this week's dialogue will have a profound, lasting impact.”
The series, which visited Kuwait City, Riyadh, and Dubai, offered Middle East participants the opportunity to obtain LEED training, learn more about the business case for green building and gain insight into world green building trends.
Photo credit / Frank Kehren
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.