Nest Announces Partnership with Utilities to Save Consumers Money
Nest Labs, creators of the Nest Learning Thermostat for the iPod generation, announced new partnerships with energy companies across the US, putting energy saving tools in the hands of thousands of new customers.
NRG Energy subsidiaries like Reliant, Green Mountain Energy, Austin Energy and Southern California Edison will deploy Nest's next-generation thermostats, offering instant rebates to make the pricey devices more accessible to the masses. It will also feature rewards systems to encourage those customers to continue to save more and more money over time, such as Rush Hour Rewards and Seasonal Saving programs. Not only will the refinements in the next-generation thermostats help most customers save 20 percent on energy bills each year, but help take a considerable strain off overloaded energy infrastructure.
Last year, NRG’s largest retail company, Reliant, became the first competitive electricity provider in the U.S. to offer the Nest Learning ThermostatTM as part of a fixed-price electricity plan to help customers better understand and conserve energy. This summer, both Reliant and NRG’s renewable energy provider, Green Mountain Energy, among others, will provide the Nest Learning Thermostat as part of their local electricity plans.
“The success of our relationship with Nest and the enthusiasm of our Texas customers for their learning thermostat speaks to the elegant simplicity of Nest, and Americans’ desire to be individually empowered with smarter energy choices,” NRG Energy's CEO David Crane said in a statement. “It is NRG’s goal to deliver innovative energy options like the Nest, and we see this technology as an important step toward remembering how energy is produced and consumed in the American home.”
“Strategic partnerships like this not only bring much needed innovation to our very traditional sector of the economy, but are also a prime example of how we are shifting the focus from what utilities and their regulators want to what our customers need and want,” Crane added.
The Nest is an easy to use device with built-in motion-tracking sensors that detect the presence of people to adjust temperatures accordingly and is smart enough to learn and mimic schedules. It's the only thermostat that essentially programs itself, learning from its users' habits.
Developed by Tony Fadell, aka the “godfather” of the iPod, the Nest was designed to replace the outdated, ugly thermostats with something that makes more sense for consumers in the 21st century.
“It was unacceptable to me that the device that controls 10 percent of all energy consumed in the U.S. hadn’t kept up with advancements in technology and design,” Fadell said in a statement. “We hope it will not only save money and energy, but that it will teach and inspire people to think more about how they can reduce home- energy consumption.”
“By expanding our relationship with NRG, we can continue working together to turn the conversation away from cost alone toward a broader discussion about energy choices,” Fadell said Monday. “Bundling the Nest Learning Thermostat with energy plans was a great first step. Now, the integration of Nest’s new Rush Hour Rewards and Seasonal Savings services promises to spark even more conversations about energy among NRG’s customers.”
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.