Whitepod Swiss Tent Resort
You might not think that a trip to a resort in the Swiss Alps could be simultaneously environmentally-friendly and luxurious, but the Whitepod Resort—situated over 5,500 feet above sea level in the Dents-Du-Midi Mountain Range—aims to provide a serene, low impact haven for eco-conscious travelers.
The resort is comprised of 15 private chalet rooms, or pods, surrounding a central early 1800s wooden chalet, situated in the village of Les Cerniers and isolated from urban pollution.
You can only reach the resort with snowshoes or skis—no snowmobiles allowed—and once you arrive, the exertion immediately seems justified.
According to the Whitepod website, “the Whitepod Resort aims to be a model for sustainable tourism by using a number of measures to limit its impact on nature.”
Whitepod creator Sofia de Meyer designed the series of pods to make guests feel comfortable while minimally affecting their surroundings. Each pod is constructed of durable canvas over a steel geodesic frame and is anchored by wooden platforms so that it has little contact with the ground and can be taken down at any time without leaving a mark.
Whitepods are fully equipped for snow storms and can withstand snowfall of 45 pounds per square foot with winds of up to 130 miles per hour. Their white surfaces blend into the surrounding snow banks beautifully and add to the resort’s harmonious aura.
Energy consumption within the resort is controlled because it is limited to the main lodge. Each Whitepod is comfortably heated by wood burning stove and sufficiently illuminated with petrol lamps.
The décor and setup of each Whitepod varies, but all of the furniture in the resort is made from either recycled material or sustainable Swiss wood.
All services and suppliers to the resort are locally based, including a nearby grocery store that the Whitepod Resort runs for local residents. The Les Cerniers restaurant located within the chalet serves refined and diverse dishes from locally sourced ingredients.
In addition to its ecological commitments, the Whitepod Resort features all of the amenities and activities that an outdoor luxury resort should, including a newly-constructed spa, private ski lifts and 4.3 miles of ski slopes, dog-sledding and guided hiking.
The Whitepod Resort is a member of the Eco Luxury World Retreats Collaboration and has been rewarded the World Prize for Sustainable Tourism.
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.