Zero carbon management platform goes live in Thames Valley
The Thames Valley Live Lab – which brings the companies together with engineering consultancy Stantec and six local authorities – will help local authorities to implement their required moves towards net-zero carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.
The project partnership was awarded £4.5 million in 2019 as part of the ADEPT (Association of Directors of Environment, Economy, Planning & Transport) SMART Places Live Labs Programme, a two-year £22.9 million project funded by the Department for Transport and supported by project partners SNC-Lavalin’s Atkins business, EY, Kier, O2, Ringway, and WSP. Local authorities are working on eight projects across England to introduce digital innovation across SMART mobility, transport, highways maintenance, data, energy and communications. Live Labs is part of ADEPT’s SMART Places programme to support the use of digital technology in place-based services.
The platform has gone live this month [AUGUST] with energy assets from the first two councils – Reading Borough Council and Wokingham Borough Council – connecting to the system in the coming two months. The platform will monitor and manage solar panels, electric vehicle charging points and other flexible electrical equipment at the local authorities’ facilities. The Live Labs system is based on SGS’s ANM Strata fleet distributed energy resources management system (DERMS) to create the Smart Energy Operations Platform (SEOP).
The cloud-based SEOP will schedule when the assets should be operated to save money, reduce CO2 emissions, and manage local authority owned Distributed Energy Resources (DER) across the sites. Functionalities include setting EV charge rates and being able to remotely schedule building energy usage and EV charging point operation.
Data will also be fed into other parts of the Thames Valley Live Lab project, which cover health, mobility, and transport.
SGS expects the data from the energy component of the project to influence those other important service areas in the Live Lab project.
Graham Ault, executive director and co-founder of SGS, said: “A big challenge lies ahead for local authority energy managers, who will have to plan, implement, and operate net-zero carbon energy in the coming years.
“Our ANM Strata platform provides the basis to manage and track net-zero energy, while underpinning cost savings through better power grid integration and new energy market opportunities including new technical services, network flexibility, and system balancing.
“SGS’s mission is to provide the software systems to address the three Ds of energy systems – decarbonisation, decentralization, and digitalisation.
“This Thames Valley Live Lab brings together all three of those strands, allowing carbon-free electricity generated on-site by solar panels to be controlled and used for emission free transport using digital technology. It is now possible to scale low carbon technology deployments up to really significant levels and capture all the energy and flexibility benefits for a local authority area.”
Simon Beasley, network and parking manager at Reading Borough Council and Live Lab project lead, added: “Having a system that can control when and how solar panels, electric vehicle charging points and other energy assets operate is a game changer.
“We’ll be able to save money, reduce our CO2 emissions, and better manage our energy across our sites.
“The data that will be generated by this part of the project will also play a wider role in improving the lives of people living and working in Reading and the surrounding area.
“Having this rich data on our energy assets will help to influence how we develop the transport, mobility, and even health areas of the Live Lab project and local authority operations thereafter.”
Giles Perkins, Programme Director for Live Labs, said: “This is an exciting development as the links between mobility, energy, and other assets will only get stronger as we transition to an electric future – taking an integrated approach to how we manage these systems is crucial for a sustainable future.”
The four other participating councils – Bracknell Forest Council, the Royal Borough of Windsor, Slough Borough Council, and West Berks Council – will connect assets to the project over the course of the coming year.
News of the Thames Valley Live Lab going live is the latest in string of ANM Strata Fleet DERMS and virtual power station projects for SGS, including its recently-announced partnership with SSE Enterprise, a large community energy flexibility scheme in Oxfordshire and a smart local energy systems design initiative in Peterborough.
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.