No Limits, Total Abundance: Transparent Solar Windows
Written by Heather Rushworth
Our modern world is consuming energy at insatiable rates. The high-tech complexity of contemporary society has created a demand for energy resources that are both easily accessible and infinitely available, and unfortunately the energy sources of yesterday simply do not hold up to the rapid evolution of the times.
Perhaps the major flaw in our previous approach to discovering a renewable energy source was not the narrowness, but the broadness of our scientific focus. Yesterday’s Energy Market looked towards monumentally visible energy sources like Oil, blindly clinging to the notion that material visibility equated to energetic abundance.
However, the energy sources of yesterday--and today--fail us in cruel and destructive ways. Not only are the energy resources we intimately rely upon so tragically limited, but they create major harm to the balance of our natural world—resulting in pollution and a fearful belief in planetary scarcity.
Recent breakthroughs in the previously underestimated field of nanotechnology appear to have reconciled the infinite appetite of our society, with a steadfastly renewable and comprehensively sustainable energy source: the basic electron. Recent discoveries may prove that the limitless abundance we seek is right beneath the visible surface of reality—in the unchartered dimensions of the nano-world.
Yes, the scope of science has changed--in many ways becoming braver—as leading-edge researchers search for answers in materially-microscopic planes.
One of the main pioneers in nano-based energy is entrepreneur Justin-Hall Tripping of Nanotech technologies, whose October Ted Talk detailed an exciting and practical new technology: Transparent Solar Panel Windows.
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The invention focuses on utilizing electrons to store vital energies from the sun. In essence, windows would be covered with a clear film made up of scientifically engineered electrons, which would harness solar energies traditionally lost to thermal processes. Such a feat would not only supply energy to run household utilities, but it would regulate temperature, storing excess heat in hot times and distributing it during cold temperatures.
While the discovery superficially appears thrilling—it could be used in buildings, cars, homes—the epically slow development process of technology in the Solar and Nano industries have many skeptics wary of Tipping’s overt optimism. Many experts expect delays of up to twenty years in releasing the product to the market, and such a slow delivery could be too late into today’s rapidly destructive world.
So ultimately it seems these globally expansive products need to harness another element in order to secure their success: speed. While hopeful projections and exciting ideas seem great in theory, they do nothing for our current energy crisis until they move to market at the speed of light.
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.