Military Biofuel Programs to Drive Major Economic Growth
WASHINGTON (Nov. 14, 2012) – The military’s plans to expand its use of biofuel in planes, ships and other vehicles would generate at least about $10 billion in economic activity and create more than 14,000 jobs by 2020, according to a report commissioned by Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2).
Just as importantly, if the Department of Defense is able to expand its use of advanced biofuels like it has said it wants to do, it would jump-start the biofuel market, which in turn would speed adoption of biofuel by commercial airlines, vehicle fleets and other users, according to the report.
Led by the Navy and Air Force, the Department of Defense wants to reduce its dependence on oil by getting as much as 50 percent of its fuel from advanced biofuels by 2020. DoD’s top leaders have said reducing the military’s use of oil is essential to national security, troop safety and avoiding fuel price spikes.
But under the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that Congress is expected to take up in the next several weeks, the military – the nation’s biggest user of oil and gasoline - would be prohibited from expanding its use of biofuel.
“The military often leads major economic transitions in our country – think about aviation, communications or the Internet,” said Nicole Lederer, co-founder of E2, whose 800-plus members include business executives and investors who advocate for sound environmental policy that can lead to economic prosperity.
“Yet right now in Washington, some shortsighted lawmakers are poised to block a potentially major transformation of our national energy supply - and also hold back the significant economic growth and job gains that would come with it,” she said.
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Vice Adm. Dennis McGinn (US Navy-RET), president of the American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE), said:
“ACORE recognizes the important national security and energy security benefits of the U.S. military's increased use of biofuel. This report from E2 also highlights the tremendous economic potential of the defense biofuels program. It has already attracted private capital for technological innovation and commercial-scale biorefinery construction, thereby creating geographically-diverse jobs.
”Most importantly, this initiative accelerates America's move to a more diverse and secure energy portfolio" McGinn said.
Russ Teall, president and founder of biorefinery builder Biodico, which recently signed an agreement to provide advanced biofuels to the U.S. Navy, said:
“The military is the biggest driver of the biofuel industry right now. If Congress stops the military from doing what the military knows is best, Congress also could threaten the growth of the Made-in-America biofuel industry.”
E2 commissioned High Road Strategies, an industrial, economic and energy consulting firm, to conduct the study, which is based on biofuel goals previously announced by DoD. According to the report:
• Between $9.6 billion and $19.8 billion of economic activity could be generated by 2020 if the DoD is allowed to meet its previously announced biofuel goals.
• Between 14,000-17,000 new jobs could be created by 2020. If measured on a job-year basis, the total number of jobs created would be more than double that amount.
• Of these jobs, more than 3,000 will be agricultural jobs from biomass production, and about 1,200 will be in biorefinery operation. An additional 10,000 jobs will be created from biorefinery construction.
• These economic and job impacts will be broadly distributed geographically, with the greatest benefits to states that create the strongest incentives for biorefineries.
• In order to meet the military’s cost and volume targets, advanced biofuel companies are leveraging $3.4 billion of private capital invested since 2007 to build new commercial facilities.
• Military demand is helping to shape the early market and scale the advanced biofuel industry, which could help the commercial aviation industry and other industries to meet their hopes and plans to expand their use of biofuel.
For the complete report and for more information about E2’s work on military issues, please see www.e2.org
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.