May 17, 2020

Swedish Robots Cleanup Japan's Nuclear Plant

energy digital
Japan
Fukushima
Nuclear Cleanup
Admin
2 min
A Swedish robotic technology becomes the chosen supplier in the Fukushima nuclear plant cleanup dilemma
Swedish company Husqvarna recently sold its best remote-controlled demolition robots to Japan's Takenaka Construction to help cleanup one of Fukush...

Swedish company Husqvarna recently sold its best remote-controlled demolition robots to Japan's Takenaka Construction to help cleanup one of Fukushima's nuclear power plant leaks, saving workers from radiation exposure. Specially designed to adapt to the demanding environment, the bigger DXR 310 model includes a video camera and transmission equipment to enabling operators to work from a safe distance.

Although others have been sold to Japan since March, most commercial robots are expensive and not designed for the harsh kind of environment. Max Lungarella, a roboticist at the Artificial Intelligence Lab at the University of Zurich in Switzerland, told MIT back in March that robots typically have sensors that are not well protected from radiation, adding that it would be difficult to construct models that could.

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Five months later, a Swedish construction company believes it has constructed robots equipped to handle the cleanup. “Our robots are well adapted to this environment. They are powerful, reliable and easy to manoeuvre, even in narrow spaces. They will perform important work at the plant for a long time to come,” says Anders Stroby, Head of Husqvarna Construction in this month's press release.

 

Husqvarna Construction demolition robot DXR 310, DXR 250 and DXR 140 in action:

 

Husqvarna's heavy-duty robots will be used in heavy demolition work and are built to handle the high levels of radiation in Fukushima, expected to take many years to fully cleanup. The chosen supplier has high expectations and will hopefully meet the demands of Japanese construction workers to help save Japan.

 

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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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