Report: UK Most Energy Efficient, US in 9th Place
The United Kingdom comes in first in a new energy efficiency ranking of the world's major economies, followed closely by Germany, Japan, and Italy, according to the first-ever International Energy Efficiency Scorecard published today by the nonprofit American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE). The report finds that in the last decade the U.S. has made "limited or little progress toward greater efficiency at the national level," putting it in 9th place out of 12 economies around the globe.
The rankings are modeled on ACEEE's time-tested approach to energy efficiency ranking of U.S. states, and include 12 of the world's largest economies: Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom, the United States, and the European Union. These 12 economies represent over 78 percent of global gross domestic product; 63 percent of global energy consumption; and 62 percent of the global carbon-dioxide equivalent emissions.
On a scale of 100 possible points in 27 categories, the nations were ranked by ACEEE as follows: (1) the United Kingdom; (2) Germany; (3) Japan; (4) Italy; (5) France; (6) the European Union, Australia, and China (3-way tie); (9) the U.S.; (10) Brazil; (11) Canada; and (12) Russia.
ACEEE divided the 27 metrics across four groupings: those that track cross-cutting aspects of energy use at the national level, as well as the three sectors primarily responsible for energy consumption in an economically developed country—buildings, industry, and transportation. The top-scoring countries in each grouping are: Germany (national efforts); China (buildings); the United Kingdom (industry); and a tie among Italy, China, Germany, and the United Kingdom (transportation).
ACEEE Executive Director Steven Nadel said: "The UK and the leading economies of Europe are now well ahead of the United States when it comes to energy efficiency. This is significant because countries that use energy more efficiently require fewer resources to achieve the same goals, thus reducing costs, preserving valuable natural resources, and creating jobs. Unfortunately, our results show that nowhere is the vast potential for improvements in energy efficiency being completely realized. While many countries achieved notable success, none received a perfect score in any category – proving that there is much that all countries can still learn from each other. For example, the United States scored relatively high in buildings, but was at the bottom of the list in transportation."
Greg Barker, British Secretary of State for Climate Change, said: "I welcome today's publication of the first International Energy Efficiency Scorecard by the ACEEE. Energy efficiency sits at the heart of our policies to encourage low-carbon growth, and I am particularly pleased that the UK is ranked first of the 12 economies considered by the study. Making our buildings and industries more energy efficient is a significant challenge, one that will take years to meet; doing so cost effectively will mean drawing on the experiences of others. This study is a fascinating collection of best practice, setting out the innovations which can accelerate economic growth, enhance energy security – and save our households and businesses money."
Report author and ACEEE Senior Researcher Sara Hayes said: "While energy efficiency has played a major role in the economies of developed nations for decades, cost-effective energy efficiency remains a massively underutilized energy resource. Fortunately, there is a lot countries can do to strengthen their economic competitiveness through improvements in energy efficiency."
The ACEEE ranking system looks at both "policy metrics" and "performance metrics" to measure a country's overall energy efficiency. Examples of policy metrics include the presence of a national energy savings target, fuel economy standards for vehicles, and energy efficiency standards for appliances. The "performance metrics" measure energy use and provide quantifiable results. Examples of performance metrics include the amount of energy consumed by a country relative to its gross domestic product, average miles per gallon of on-road passenger vehicles, and energy consumed per square foot of floor space in residential buildings.
SEE OTHER TOP STORIES IN THE ENERGY DIGITAL CONTENT NETWORK
The ACEEE report raises a critical question: How can the United States compete in a global economy if it continues to waste money and energy that other industrialized nations save and can reinvest? The new report outlines a number of recommendations for the United States such as:
A national energy savings target. Congress should pass a national energy savings target to complement existing state policies and raise the bar for all states. Most countries analyzed in this Scorecard have such targets. In the interim, the states without mandatory targets for utility energy savings should adopt them.
Efficiency in manufacturing. Manufacturers should commit to continual improvement in energy efficiency by using Superior Energy Performance ISO 50001 (ISO 2011) and other voluntary platforms.
Financial incentives. States and the federal government should implement improved financial incentives, such as tax credits, loans, and loan-loss reserves, to spur private investment in energy efficiency.
Investment in research and development. Greatly increased R&D investment is needed to develop new technologies and practices that support energy efficiency across all sectors of the economy.
Efficient power plants. Government policies should be adopted that encourage utilities to retire old, inefficient power plants and ensure that any new power plants are highly efficient.
Output-based emissions standards. These standards should be employed to encourage the use of the most efficient generation technologies.
Efficient power distribution. Electric grid infrastructure should be modernized to reduce line losses. Utilities should deploy high efficiency distribution transformers, increased utilization of distributed energy sources, and advanced "smart grid" techniques to reduce transmission and distribution losses.
Building codes. All states should use the most recent and stringent building code standards.
Appliance standards. Federal and state governments should implement and enforce existing appliance standards, regularly update these standards, and develop standards for additional products (e.g., pumps).
Combined heat and power. Governments and regulators should adopt policies that allow combined heat and power (CHP) to obtain reasonable electricity buyback and backup power rates.
Vehicle miles traveled. The United States should reconsider the pricing of transportation, and facilitate the adoption of policies such as "pay-as-you-drive" insurance, in which the cost is determined primarily by the number of miles traveled.
Fuel economy for passenger vehicles. The federal government should adopt the proposed increases in Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards, which would result in average fuel economy of 49.6 miles per gallon in 2025.
Fuel economy for heavy-duty vehicles. The federal government should adopt substantially higher standards for heavy-duty vehicle fuel efficiency for 2025.
SOURCE: American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy
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.