May 17, 2020

U.S. Navy Solar Power Plant Saves $13 Million Annually

energy digital
Energy Digital Magazine
Navy Base at China
2 min
NASA 1m satellite photo of Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake in California.
A newly completed power plant at the U.S. Navy Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake in California will supply 30 percent of that facility's power e...

A newly completed power plant at the U.S. Navy Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake in California will supply 30 percent of that facility's power each year, saving $13 million over the next 20 years. The plant was built without taxpayer contribution and is financed through a 20-year solar power purchase agreement (the first federal agency project to have done so).

The plant will allow the Navy to utilize electricity at up to 30 percent below the rate given with 10-year PPAs. This agreement was signed with SunPower Corp., in which the solar panel company installed its solar panels on the Navy-owned land and will allow the Navy to purchase the electricity at the discounted rates. The solar panel system came as a pre-assembled module, allowing for the facility to begin using the solar panels in less than one year.

The China Lake PPA agreement will help the Navy eliminate tax payer complaints and woes around an initial investment or any kind of tax hikes. The China Lake station utilizes regenerative fuel cells, electric vehicles, wind power and photovoltaic panels and the plant is involved in the Navy's biofuel research and has a geothermal plant.

Read More:

Solar Energy Research Center Breaks Ground

US Navy's 'Great Green Fleet' Remains Armed with Algae

Howard Wenger, president of SunPower, says the plant can be used as a template for additional large-scale federal solar projects. SunPower has worked with the U.S. government to install more than 50 megawatts of solar power. 

A fully integrated, modular solar power block will utilize the SunPower T0 Tracker with SunPower's E20 series solar panels. This also features a Tracker Monitoring and Control System that wirelessly controls the power plant. SunPower has previously worked with Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada, Pearl Harbor in Hawaii and Coronado Island in California.

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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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