The Military Salutes Mother Earth
Written by Heather Rushworth
The military has initiated a new covert operation—the greenification of their forces through new and profitable sustainable measures. In fact, $3.6 billion dollars of the $787 billion dollar stimulus fund went towards greening the military. Though it sounds entirely improbable, the patriotic image of gas-guzzling hummers stampeding over the horizon may have been replaced by an eco-conscious military, trading in petroleum for massive billion dollar solar arrays.
While the idea of a tree-hugging military sounds ideally picturesque, the eco measures taken by the armed forces mostly have to do with cost savings. Simply put, green energy sources -- while they maintain efficiency -- are much more affordable than traditional energy sources. Since the military is one of our nation’s largest energy consumption entities, these savings radically compound, lowering our nation’s overall energy expenditure in drastic ways.
Take for instance the green flight of the Air Force, who leads the nation as one of the top green power purchasers. In fact, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) ranked the Air Force as the 16th on their Top 25 list of Green Power Partners, beating out big corporations like Google, and even the EPA themselves. Currently, six percent of the Air Force’s facility energy comes from green power sources, which is well above the federally mandated goal of five percent. What is more refreshing is that the Air Force is planning on further improving their sustainable measures by implementing green energy projects utilizing energy in the form of solar photovoltaic, solar thermal, geothermal heat pumps, wind, daylighting, landfill gas and waste energy.
One of the most significant sustainable measures the military has developed is their retrofitting of naval bases with green technology. Most impressive was the military’s greening of the world’s most expensive prison – the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base in Cuba.
In an effort to save money, and decrease dependencies, the base -- which receives all of its supplies from ship or aircraft due to disassociation with Cuba -- is streamlining its domestic energy use on the base to conserve energy expenditures. Simple switches, including the changing of petroleum-fueled patrol cars to bikes and solar-powered lighting saves the military approximately $100,000 dollars a day in fossil fuel dependency.
The military’s big buck budget has enabled them to invest heavily in solar technologies, which promise a huge fiscal reward to bottom-line expenditures, while having no detrimental environmental impact. Over the 2012 year, the military will invest approximately one billion dollars into solar outfitting military housing communities. In addition, big solar-outfitting projects were established at military bases in San Diego, Pearl Harbor, Buckley Air Force Base in Aurora, Colorado, the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center in Twenty Nine Palms, California and a naval base in Guam.
This massive flurry of green initiatives and innovations in the military are exciting and necessary on many fronts. Firstly, they utilize the purchasing power of the military to provide much needed capital to green energy companies, which positions them to compete against established fossil fuel titans. Also, as a huge consumption force in America, the military’s sustainable initiatives make a huge impact in national energy use, replacing hazardous effects with clean resources.
All in all, the military’s green movement spends our tax-paying capital in a way that is beneficial to initiatives beyond the armed forces -- they help create a country fortified by sustainable energies that nourish our relationship with earth, instead of destroying it.
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.