May 17, 2020

Sustainable development used at Sochi Games

6 min
Bolshoy Ice Dome
[email protected] Click here for the latest issue of Energy Digital magazine You may not know a luge from a Lutz, or what happens in a biathlon, but...

Click here for the latest issue of Energy Digital magazine 

You may not know a luge from a Lutz, or what happens in a biathlon, but last month there’s a good chance those terms were bandied about the office as Winter Olympics’ coverage saturated the globe throughout February.

As you savored every triple Salchow in Sochi and found out that a skeleton run is still scary, but for much different reasons, remember that the Olympic spirit is more than just sportsmanship on the highest level; it’s also about a movement in sustainability and harmony with the environment.

“Together with its partners, the IOC is committed to promoting sustainable development and respect for the environment in and through sport,” said Jacques Rogge, former IOC president.

In 1996 the International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced that environmental protection was the third pillar of the Olympic movement, alongside sport and culture. Three years later the Agenda for the Olympic movement in the 21st century was adopted, containing a program of measures in the field of sustainable development.

The IOC developed the "Olympic Games Impact" research program in 2003, which must be undertaken by the organizing committee of each Olympic Games. Since 2009 the IOC has included sections in each of its technical manuals devoted to applying sustainability principles – from construction to waste to energy usage – to the procedures for preparing and staging the Olympic Games.

The first Games to be held on a platform of sustainability were the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver. The first Summer Olympic Games to be prepared and staged on a platform of sustainability were the 2012 Games in London.

“Our efforts are driven by two considerations: the first is the impact that a degraded environment can have on sport, and the other refers to the effects that sport – and, in particular, the Olympic Games – can have on the environment,” Rogge said.

Sochi sustainability

The city of Sochi has the unique combination of being nestled up to the subtropical Black Sea coast with the snow-capped peaks of the Caucasus Mountains protecting it to the east, which has created inimitable natural climate conditions that have drawn thousands of Russians to the seaside resort for decades.

One of the missions of the Winter Games was to introduce in Sochi a new vision of sustainable development in harmony with nature that will not only spare the environment of harmful impact but also could be instrumental in helping resolve ecological challenges.

The Sochi 2014 Organizing Committee's objective was to make the best possible use of the opportunities created by the Olympic project to ensure the sustainable development of the city of Sochi, the Krasnodar Region and Russia.

For the Sochi Games sustainability meant creating long-term positive change in the social, economic, and environmental spheres, based on effective use of the resource potential for the Russian people.

“Each step taken to harmonize the development of sport with its environment can, in the long term, make a real difference to the cause of sustainability,” said Pál Schmitt, IOC member, chairman of the Sport and Environment Commission.

Sustainable development

To preserve the unique nature of the region during the construction of Olympic venues in Sochi, a system of green standards was used for the first time in Russia. The green construction involved the use of environmentally friendly building materials and renewable sources of energy, waste minimization and recycling, reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, as well as sustainable water and energy use.

The strict standards of LEED and BREEAM building, which use innovative technology for the collection, recycling and reuse of waste (and the principle of “zero waste”), were used during the construction of Olympic facilities. Environmentally friendly building materials along with requirements to reduce energy consumption were used during construction.

Each Olympic structure accounted for 10 green innovative solutions. The venues were equipped with innovative technologies in the area of energy and resources (heat recovery systems, water reuse systems and rainwater use systems, dual-function heating/cooling technology, energy-saving lighting, etc.).

The 10 venues at the Olympic Park went through compulsory certification for compliance with international LEED and BREEAM standards, including the Bolshoy Ice Dome, the Adler Arena and the Main Media Center. Approximately 200 venues included in the Olympic construction program used green construction standards.

Three of the main venues - Iceberg Skating Palace, Shayba Arena, and Ice Cube Curling Centre - have been built with the ability to be deconstructed and moved to other cities in Russia.

The Iceberg Skating Palace, which has a seating capacity of 12,000 and where short track and figure skating events will take place, is a world-class sports facility and a work of art. The smooth curves of the palace facade are designed to evoke associations with a figure skater's trajectory when landing a triple toe loop. It is a moveable venue that can be dismantled and transported post-Games to another Russian city.

The Ice Cube Curling Centre, which has 3,000 seats, will be the host of the curling competitions. The design of the venue focuses on a combination of smooth and well-rounded contours reminiscent of the shape of the curling stone and is accentuated by the bright polished surfaces of its facades. After the Games, the arena will be transported to another location, where it will become a national training center for Russian curling teams.

The moveable Shayba Arena, with 7,000 seats, is adjacent to the Bolshoy Ice Dome and will serve as the smaller ice hockey arena and as a training rink.

The other main venues – Bolshoy Ice Dome, Adler Arena, Fisht Stadium - will stay in Sochi after the Games and be re-purposed and used by the city. The 12,000 seat Bolshoy will become a sports center and concert hall. Adler Arena, which will hold speed skating events, will be used as a convention center. And Fisht, the 40,000 seat stadium that hosted the opening and closing ceremonies, will become a soccer stadium for the region.

Zero waste

The zero waste principle is aimed at forming a totally new approach to the organization of the collection, processing and neutralization of solid household and biological waste that guarantees sustainable environmental-and-economic development of the Sochi region.

During the Games there was a system for separate garbage collection, composting and sorting waste generated, including procedures for maintaining cleanliness on the Games’ territory. Also, minimized volumes of waste in public services, food catering, and implementation of the principles of reduce, reuse, and recycle were used.

Following the Olympics, the waste treatment system built for the Olympic Village will be adapted to the needs of the city; the disturbed natural properties and complexes will be rehabilitated; temporary structures dismantled, grass cover restored; and materials and equipment that are not used will be removed from the territory to make sure that Sochi's sustainable development is being exercised simultaneously with the improvement of the region's natural protected areas.

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Oct 19, 2020

Itronics successfully tests manganese recovery process

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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