Military Calls for Energy Innovation, Less Foreign Oil
WASHINGTON (July 24, 2012)—The Pew Project on National Security, Energy, and Climate today released a letter signed by more than 350 veterans, including retired generals and admirals, as well as former Armed Services Committee chairmen Sen. John Warner and Rep. Ike Skelton, urging the president and Congress to support the Pentagon’s initiatives to diversify its energy sources, limit demand and lower costs. The letter stresses the importance of the military’s ability to deploy clean energy technology to reduce dependence on fossil fuels and strengthen our national security, energy independence, and economic security.
As the world’s largest consumer of liquid fuels, the military is both becoming more energy efficient and working to test and certify advanced biofuels in its ships, planes, and vehicles. By investing in alternative fuels today, the Department of Defense (DoD) is positioning itself to take advantage of these new products when they become cost-competitive with conventional fuels. This second generation of “drop-in” biofuels is produced from domestic non-food-stock plant and biomass sources, requires no changes to current engine design, and provides the same or better performance than conventional fuels.
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“Today, it takes 22 gallons of fuel per soldier per day to support combat operations, a 175 percent increase over the Vietnam War era,” said Phyllis Cuttino, director of the Pew Project on National Security, Energy, and Climate. “The national security community agrees that both the DoD and the nation as a whole must reduce their dependence on foreign oil. However, some in Congress are working to cripple the department’s ability to move forward on energy innovation with its advanced biofuels program. This would hurt DoD’s capacity to shield its budget from oil price shocks and ensure operational effectiveness.”
For every $10 increase in a barrel of oil, the department pays an additional $1.4 billion annually—money that comes at the cost of operations and readiness. Some congressional amendments, if adopted, would bar DoD from purchasing or using alternative fuels and could also affect the fuels used to power unmanned vehicles for military operations.
“The bottom line is that the four branches of our military need our nation’s full support to continue seeking energy solutions through innovation, as their predecessors have done for generations,” added Sen. Warner, a former Navy secretary as well as former chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee. “Our nation’s energy security is linked to increasing the diversity of domestic sources of energy, both conventional and alternative, to lessen our reliance on foreign sources.”
"The development of renewable energy sources is a national security, economic, and environmental imperative," Gen. Anthony Jackson, USMC (Ret.), said. "The next generation of Americans is deserving of our commitment to become less dependent on foreign fossil fuels."
Lt. Gen. John Castellaw, USMC (Ret.), added, "The U.S. military faces strategic, operational, and tactical vulnerabilities due to its reliance on foreign oil. Spikes in fuel costs lead to cuts in operations—reducing flying time, sailing time and training time, thereby reducing the military’s overall effectiveness. We should use emerging technologies to limit these vulnerabilities."
In its report “More Fight, Less Fuel,” the Defense Science Board noted: “DoD’s energy problems are not unlike those of the nation. Just like the nation, to reduce its energy risks, DoD must significantly improve its energy productivity and use renewable sources where possible. … As these technologies find their way into commercial products, they will also limit our national dependence on foreign oil.”
Innovation has been a consistent priority and role for the U.S. military. The military’s leadership, cooperation with the private sector, and early adoption have been critical to the commercialization of many technologies such as semiconductors, nuclear energy, the Internet, and the Global Positioning System. Maintaining energy innovation, inside and outside the DoD, is critical to our national security.
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.