May 17, 2020

World's First International Solar Plane Flight

Air
commercial
Energy
Flight
Admin
2 min
The world’s first international flight by a solar powered plane brings pollution-free air travel closer to reality
While solar energy provides countless solutions to the looming world energy crisis, there is one sector that solar has generally been ruled out as a f...

 

While solar energy provides countless solutions to the looming world energy crisis, there is one sector that solar has generally been ruled out as a fossil fuels substitute: commercial air travel. But a Swiss research team is bringing solar air travel closer to reality. The world’s first international solar powered flight has taken off this morning from Payerne, Switzerland and is due to land at Brussels airport 12 hours after departure.

The plane runs on 12,000 solar cells and embarked on its first flight in 2010. Commissioned in 2003, the Solar Impulse project has generated a 90 million euro budget for the ten-year project period. The project involved collaboration between Swiss lift maker Schindler and research assistance from Belgian chemicals company Solvay.

The solar plane has already completed a 26-hour flight in April of 2010, which is the world record for time in air for a solar powered aircraft.

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However, Solar Impulse is no threat to commercial airliners just yet. The plane is a slow moving craft, with an average flying speed of 44 miles per hour (77 kilometers per hour). Developers even had a difficult time introducing the slow-moving airplane into the commercial air traffic system.

Project co-founder and pilot Andre Borschberg says, “The objective is to demonstrate what we can do with existing technology in terms of renewable energy and energy savings… It is symbolic to be able to go from one place to another using solar energy.”

A larger prototype based on Solar Impulse is being developed and is scheduled to circumnavigate the world in 2013.

Yet, solar technology still has a long way to go before it is applicable to commercial air travel. Current commercial flights tend to travel upward of 10 times faster than Solar Impulse. Plus, Solar Impulse is a single cabin plane, much smaller than say a jumbo jet capable of carrying hundreds of passengers. Nonetheless, it is certainly a step forward.

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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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