Smart Glass Improves Energy Usage in Buildings
Used in the building and transportation sectors, smart glass provides dynamic glare, light, and heat control based on ambient conditions or manual controls. As buildings (and many vehicles) become glassier, building codes are becoming stricter and energy performance is growing in importance to building owners.
Smart glass can help improve energy performance while adding to occupants’ comfort and satisfaction. According to a new report from Navigant Research, the annual value of the smart glass market will grow from $88 million in 2013 to $899 million by 2022.
“The past year has seen several positive developments for the smart glass sector, including the establishment of new industrial-scale production capacity, increased levels of investment, and partnership announcements between smart glass technology companies and upstream and downstream suppliers and participants,” says Eric Bloom, senior research analyst with Navigant Research. “Still, this sector is in formation, and growth is likely to accelerate in the years after 2022.”
The primary barrier to adoption of smart glass is price. Prices to the end user are at least double what would be paid for static, high-performance glazing, according to the report. While there may be ways to drive down the overall budget impact of selecting smart glass – for example, through selective use of the glazing on certain building elevations, or through savings on heating, ventilation, and air conditioning based on the reduced cooling loads afforded by smart glass – cost will remain a limiting factor through the forecast period.
The report, “Smart Glass”, provides an analysis of various smart glass technologies and their applications in the building and transportation markets. It provides insights on the go-to-market strategies for vendors, and considers how their relationships with glazing sector companies and suppliers are shaping the market.
Market forecasts for glazing unit product volume and value, segmented by technology and end-market sector, extend through 2022. The report also includes an examination of the market drivers and barriers, as well as costs and benefits, related to smart glass. An Executive Summary of the report is available for free download on the Navigant Research website.
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.