May 17, 2020

Power Restored after Massive Blackout in Southwest

Energy
Digital
news
blackout
Admin
2 min
694,000 customers were left without power in the American southwest after a massive blackout Thursday.  Apparently one man to blame.
Energy Digitals corporate headquarters and about 694,000 other energy customers lost power yesterday as San Diego, California, Yuma, Arizona and parts...

Energy Digital’s corporate headquarters and about 694,000 other energy customers lost power yesterday as San Diego, California, Yuma, Arizona and parts of Mexico experienced a massive blackout.  While it was certainly an unexpected surprise to leave work early, questions loomed in everyone’s minds as to the cause of the blackout.  They are not uncommon in the hot southwest, especially as energy-sucking air conditioners blast during the scorching summer heat.  However, with power resumed relatively quickly, it has come to light that the outage may have been caused by a single man, leading this writer to question the security of the entire grid system.

According to San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E), power was restored throughout most of the blackout area by 2:45 a.m., just 11 hours after the outage had occurred.  The San Diego Police Department reported no major disturbances during the blackout.

When word had spread via still functioning cell phones that the blackout wasn’t just isolated to San Diego, but stretched as far north as Orange County and as far east as Arizona, speculation as to its cause ran wild.  Was this the grid-frying X-class solar flare astronomers have been warning us about?  Was it just another rolling blackout caused by excessive energy use during a heat wave?  No… it was a single man and his coworkers that are reportedly responsible for the blackout.

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According to Arizona Public Service Co., the outage occurred when an electrical worker removed a piece of monitoring equipment at a power substation in southwest Arizona.  Apparently, as workers tried to rectify the isolated problem, it only exacerbated the issue. 

This raises the question of why this vast grid system, which reaches across state and international borders, is capable of being shut down from a single point.  Considering America’s heightened security level as the 10th anniversary of 9/11 approaches, one would assume that the electrical grid of all things would be more robust.  Regardless of the fact that power companies were able to restore power relatively quickly, the blackout was still enough to bring businesses to a screeching halt.  It seems to me that a little more investment needs to be made in upgrading the grid so an isolated incident remains just that… isolated, instead of spreading and affecting hundreds of thousands of people. 

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Oct 19, 2020

Itronics successfully tests manganese recovery process

cleantech
manganese
USA
Scott Birch
3 min
Nevada firm aims to become the primary manganese producer in the United States
Nevada firm aims to become the primary manganese producer in the United States...

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.

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