The Elements of Innovation Discovered

Articles written by K. Warner


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  • Student at work in North Carolina BATT CAVE research center.

    BMW deal grows Albemarle's innovation aims

    K. Warner, Metal Tech News|Updated Feb 22, 2024

    Long-term partnership will secure battery-grade lithium hydroxide for automaker and accelerate both companies' expansion into EV space. This week, Albemarle announced a long-term partnership with BMW to deliver battery-grade lithium hydroxide for the automaker's next generation of high-performance electric vehicles and to work together to develop technology for safer and more energy-dense batteries. "Albemarle is committed to building a more resilient world," said Albemarle... Full story

  • A car with an EV plug showing graphics indicating fast charge.

    Solid-state battery hits fast-charge goal

    K. Warner, Metal Tech News|Updated Feb 22, 2024

    Ampcera's solid-state battery tech surpasses DOE fast charging goal. Due to mounting charge anxiety over limited at-home charging options and prolonged urban charging station wait times, the United States Advanced Battery Consortium and U.S. Department of Energy have both set commercial manufacturers a goal of 80% battery ultrafast charge in 15 minutes – which Ampcera's all-solid-state (ASSB) battery tech has just blown past. Last year, Ampcera was awarded a $2.1 million... Full story

  • The western hemisphere aglow at night.

    Will your home run on enhanced geothermal?

    K. Warner, Metal Tech News|Updated Feb 22, 2024

    The Biden administration's Investing in America Agenda will fund three projects to scale enhanced geothermal systems to power the equivalent of 65 million U.S. homes. The U.S. Department of Energy has high hopes for enhanced geothermal, a process by which manmade hydrothermal power is produced by using hydraulic fracturing techniques to split rock at depths much greater than naturally occurring geothermal wells and injecting water to generate steam, subsequently driving... Full story

  • Futuristic EV fast charging station.

    An EV battery that charges in five minutes

    K. Warner, Metal Tech News|Updated Feb 21, 2024

    Indium for lithium battery anode makes fast charging a reality; Cornell researchers look for lighter alternatives. Engineers at Cornell University have developed a lithium battery capable of charging in less than five minutes, with stable performance over extended cycles of charging and discharging. The secret ingredient? Indium. "Range anxiety is a greater barrier to electrification in transportation than any of the other barriers, like cost and capability of batteries, and...

  • Artist’s rendering representing layers of tape, graphene and substrate.

    Transferring nanomaterials with tape

    K. Warner, Metal Tech News|Updated Feb 21, 2024

    Polymer tape's sticky properties change when irradiated with UV light. The discovery of graphene – a material with an ever-increasing number of uses – came from the humblest of beginnings: a hunk of graphite, and Scotch tape. Now, tape is once again taking center stage as an unlikely hero of science and technology as researchers from Japan have developed an adhesive with stickiness properties that can be programmed by UV light. Nanomaterials like graphene, which are mere...

  • Artist’s rendering of an x-ray of lungs with swirls of graphite.

    Graphene and your health

    K. Warner, Metal Tech News|Updated Feb 19, 2024

    Initial studies test graphene as an emerging biological contaminant – where microplastics and pharmaceuticals have fallen. Graphene, a truly revolutionizing nanomaterial with potential that is hard to overstate, may continue to be developed without acute risk to human health, research suggests. Science has discovered an emergence of contaminants as unanticipated drawbacks to technological development – notably microplastics and pharmaceuticals that have made their way... Full story

  • Puzzle pieces of Chinese and U.S. flags over a globe.

    Critical minerals cold war heats up

    K. Warner, Metal Tech News|Updated Feb 19, 2024

    Massive geothermal lithium reserves give U.S. leverage while superpowers employ protectionist measures around supply chains. There's a new international race, not into space or to establish military superiority, but to secure critical minerals in a worldwide resource grab for the feedstocks that will fuel a global green energy transition. While we're all on the same side – or, in this case, the same planet – the superpowers have been at odds with how to achieve net-zero... Full story

  • Artist John Sabraw with reclaimed pigment on a steel table.

    Acid mine drainage to earth tone paints

    K. Warner, Metal Tech News|Updated Feb 16, 2024
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    Gamblin Artists Colors introduces oil paints pigmented with waste from acidic water draining from old coal mine. Paints throughout the ages have been uniquely colored by crushed gemstones, rare shellfish, and even powdered Egyptian mummies. With that same pioneering spirit, the Portland, Oregon-based Gamblin Artists Colors began recycling dry pigment dust collected by their Torit air filtration system during the 1990s and mixing it into a paint color they called Torrit Grey.... Full story

  • Artist’s rendering of a flying vehicle, solar and wind power.

    Hawaii says aloha to greener energy grid

    K. Warner, Metal Tech News|Updated Feb 16, 2024

    The Kapolei Energy Storage (KES) facility run by Plus Power has begun operations in Oahu, Hawaii, touted as the most advanced grid-scale standalone battery energy storage system in the world. The facility replaces a defunct coal power plant and will support roughly one-fifth of the population's energy needs, including moderating renewables, reducing electricity bills, and protecting against blackouts. Hawaii's infamous island prices for imported goods were never so alarmingly...

  • Finger flips die from “Fossil” to “H2” in front of dice spelling fuel.

    Dumping diesel – GM, Honda go hydrogen

    K. Warner, Metal Tech News|Updated Feb 16, 2024

    In the next move toward zero-emissions solutions beyond battery-electric vehicles, General Motors and Honda Motor Co. announced their switch to a co-developed system producing hydrogen fuel cells commercially. Both manufacturers announced their intention to shift away from diesel and focus on hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs), marking this as the first time they have been produced at scale. Honda and GM engineers focused on lowering costs by advancing the cell...

  • Illustration of defunct H2 fueling station with “Sorry we’re closed” sign.

    Are hydrogen cars dead in the water?

    K. Warner, Metal Tech News|Updated Feb 13, 2024

    H2 infrastructure - Nikola builds out, Shell pulls back, and passenger cars lag heavy vehicles. Shell's withdrawal from passenger-vehicle hydrogen refueling operations has ignited debates on the developing industry's overall timing and viability. However, automakers and governments are still backing hydrogen fuel cells due to growing concerns about the slow pace and environmental expense of new critical mineral mines needed for lithium-ion batteries currently powering most...

  • DexMat CEO Bryan Hassin holds a roughly one-foot section of Galvorn cable.

    DOE backs Galvorn heat exchanger tech

    K. Warner, Metal Tech News|Updated Feb 13, 2024

    Aims to curb industrial heat's CO2 footprint, which is more than cars and planes combined. Climate tech company DexMat and Rice University have received $1.5 million in U.S. Department of Energy funding on a project to replace aluminum or copper fins in heat exchangers with a thermal conductivity-enhanced version of DexMat's flagship product, Galvorn – a high-performance, carbon nanomaterial that is stronger than steel, lighter than aluminum, and as conductive as copper....

  • Artist’s rendering of a battery containing liquid and an electric charge.

    Solid-state vs. liquid-metal batteries

    K. Warner, Metal Tech News|Updated Feb 6, 2024

    A new room-temperature liquid-metal battery of the University of Texas may provide more power than lithium-ion batteries while competing with solid-state batteries for their chance under the hood of the electric vehicle of the future. A report published in the journal Advanced Materials, describes a design which combines the strengths of both solid-state and liquid-state batteries while circumventing several of their disadvantages. This new battery has increased energy...

  • A Norwegian flag dips into the blue waters of the North Sea.

    Norway's stormy deep-sea mining vote

    K. Warner, Metal Tech News|Updated Feb 6, 2024

    This week, Norway's parliament, with cross-party support, voted 80 to 20 in favor of opening roughly 108,000 square miles of Arctic seabed to mineral exploration and potential mining between Norway and Greenland near the Svalbard archipelago. Energy transition minerals cobalt, nickel, copper, zinc, and manganese can all be found in greater quantities than in our terrestrial mines as potato-sized nodules scattered across the abyssal depths of the seafloor. These accretions are...

  • Close-up of Lamborghini Lanzador electric concept car.

    Lamborghini funds a cobalt-free battery

    K. Warner, Metal Tech News|Updated Feb 5, 2024

    Researchers at MIT have demonstrated a lithium-ion battery cathode made with organic materials, offering a more sustainable way to power electric vehicles, and Lamborghini is all-in. "I think this material could have a big impact because it works really well," said Mircea Dincă, W.M. Keck Professor of Energy at MIT and senior author of a paper on the findings published in the journal ACS Central Science. "It is already competitive with incumbent technologies, and it can save...

  • South Dakota map with lithium pellets, compass, and pick

    South Dakota's lithium tax inches closer

    K. Warner, Metal Tech News|Updated Feb 5, 2024

    In what may be a watershed moment for U.S. state laws regarding critical mineral mining, South Dakota Rep. Kirk Chaffee has taken a second swing at taxing lithium, and this time it may stick. Last year, a similar effort to classify lithium as an energy mineral passed the state House but was rejected in the Senate. The current bill, for which Chaffee is the main sponsor, classifies South Dakota's future lithium as a precious metal and imposes a 10% tax on mining profits, with...

  • Rendering of electricity arcing between two graphene ribbons.

    Quantum electronics will use graphene

    K. Warner, Metal Tech News|Updated Feb 5, 2024

    "At the time, physicists were just starting to talk about the potential of quantum technologies and quantum computers," 36-year-old Mickael Perrin recalled of his career beginnings 12 years ago. "Today there are dozens of start-ups in this area, and governments and companies are investing billions in developing the technology further. We are now seeing the first applications in computer science, cryptography, communications and sensors." Perrin's research has married...

  • Bulls representing vanadium and lithium charging each other.

    Vanadium batteries rival lithium-ion

    K. Warner, Metal Tech News|Updated Feb 5, 2024

    Global industry ramps up as VRFB appeals to grid renewables Solar and wind renewables can generate very cheap electricity, but like good weather, they're intermittent. To achieve a green-energy future of grids running off renewables, enormous amounts of battery storage will be needed to avoid blackouts. The first redox-flow batteries were developed by Lawrence Thaller and his group at NASA in the 1970s as potential energy storage for solar-powered deep-space missions. They...

  • CEO Mark Selby presenting a nickel core sample.

    Canada's green nickel boom is coming

    K. Warner, Metal Tech News|Updated Jan 30, 2024

    Canada Nickel Company is well on its way to developing zero-carbon production of nickel, cobalt and iron in what they've coined the emerging Timmins Zero Carbon Nickel District. Founded by CEO Mark Selby in 2019, Canada Nickel's flagship development is Crawford, a nickel project timed perfectly to bolster the shrinking global supply after losing problematic Russian and Chinese resources to a rising need for stable supply with measurable environmental, social, and corporate gov... Full story

  • Impossible Metals co-founders Jason Gillham, Renee Grogan, Oliver Gunasekara.

    Sustainable deep-sea mining needed

    K. Warner, Metal Tech News|Updated Jan 29, 2024

    Metal Tech News Q&A with Oliver Gunasekara, CEO Impossible Metals. As an entrepreneur and business development executive, Oliver Gunasekara has left his mark on the tech world over the past 30-plus years. His latest project, Impossible Metals, is poised to be a real game-changer in the quest of deep sea mining for minerals critical to clean energy – which can and should maintain equal ESG standards to land-based mining. Rather than dredging the seafloor for precious... Full story

  • A metallic dragon with its claws on a graphite stone and the Chinese flag.

    Next US-China trade clash: graphite

    K. Warner, Metal Tech News|Updated Jan 24, 2024

    In December, China implemented new export controls on graphite, further compounding trade tensions with the United States and other Western nations. This decision reinforces concerns over the fragility of the West's over-reliance on import monopolies and serves to intensify the ongoing search for alternative sources that would otherwise have been considered economically unattractive. Outside of its use in electric vehicle batteries, an application that is rocketing its...

  • Graphic of drill fracturing a rock for an enhanced geothermal system.

    Have enhanced geothermal, will travel

    K. Warner, Metal Tech News|Updated Jan 24, 2024

    Naturally occurring hydrothermal systems have always been a limited, localized energy source, offering steady production that doesn't vary with the weather or time of day – as long as there are very specific conditions of heat, water, and permeable rock. These specific conditions do not always occur where energy is needed, which is a primary reason why geothermal power provides less than 1% of global renewable energy capacity. Recent advances in the emerging technology of...

  • Computer graphic image of a battery hovering above an electronic motherboard.

    The dangers of a battery 'monoculture'

    K. Warner, Metal Tech News|Updated Jan 15, 2024

    As 2024 gets underway, the direction of rechargeable battery design continues to have major implications for the mining industry. A range of renewable power technologies are under development and expansion across the globe to replace fossil fuels. These advancements and the continued electric vehicle push driving the need for increased energy storage capacity, continue to add to the world's energy transition minerals shopping list. The numbers are already in – the new mines...

  • Closeup of a QuantumScape solid-state battery cell.

    VW's solid-state 'forever' EV battery

    K. Warner, Metal Tech News|Updated Jan 15, 2024

    The current industry standard for electric vehicle batteries targets a 20% capacity loss over 700 charging cycles, which means an EV that rolls off the lot with a 250-mile range could end its life with a range of 50 fewer miles per charge by the time the odometer clicks to around 150,000 miles. (For some vehicles like the Tesla Model S, the pricier 100-kilowatt-hour batteries degrade faster than 85- and 70-kWh options.) Meanwhile, U.S. company QuantumScape's solid-state cell...

  • Graphic of human body and biosensor targets against graphene lattice backdrop.

    Graphene used for early cancer detection

    K. Warner, Metal Tech News|Updated Jan 12, 2024

    HydroGraph Clean Power Inc. is a commercial manufacturer of high-quality nanomaterials whose graphene product has been selected and successfully trialed in Hawkeye Bio's biomedical sensor designed for the early detection of lung cancer. Only the third company to be certified globally by the Graphene Council, HydroGraph is headquartered in Toronto, with a manufacturing facility in Kansas where the company has exclusive license from Kansas State University to produce both... Full story

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