NASCAR Features First Electric Car: Ford Focus Electric
An all-electric pace car will be featured at the Sprint Cup Series race at the Richmond International Raceway on April 28—a first in NASCAR history. Ford Motor Company has just announced that its 2012 Focus Electric sedan received the honor from Nascar to show off its recent advancements in EV technology at the notoriously gas-guzzling sporting event. As ironic as it seems, fans may be more receptive to the green technologies than the general public.
“With the largest sustainability program in sports, the NASCAR family is proud of Ford Motor Company’s accomplishment with the Focus Electric pace car and what that means in terms of the tremendous impact of American innovation now and in the future,” said Mike Lynch, managing director of Green Innovation for NASCAR.
Traditionally, car racing events are ideal venues for car manufacturers to showcase new technologies and the latest trends. Ford is hopeful that the spotlight on its EV capabilities will help make a difference in appealing to a more mainstream group of car purchasers.
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NASCAR goes green
That's not all NASCAR has been doing to go green. Since 2008, NASCAR has been recruiting sustainable-minded companies through its NASCAR Green program for initiatives including the recycling of its tires, promoting green companies, fuel efficiency, safe driving and even bio-based motor oil.
Grey's Anatomy actor and NASCAR driver Patrick Dempsey has teamed up with solar giant Trina Solar in an endeavor to provide communities in need of solar power modules. An increasing number of race tracks are also finding use of solar power, including the Infineon Raceway in California, the Pocono Raceway in Pennsylvania and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
It seems today that a growing number of organized sports across the US are building much of the momentum in the competition for being the most green. As NASCAR steps up to the plate, Ford's new platform challenges the popular zero-emissions Nissan Leaf. With its new five-seat EV, Ford claims that it can travel 105 miles per gallon compared to the Leaf's 99 MPGe.
Let the races begin!
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.