The Elements of Innovation Discovered

Articles written by K. Warner


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  • Stacks of large bins filled with old computers and other e-waste.

    FedEx flips Tennessee e-waste for minerals

    K. Warner, Metal Tech News|Updated Jun 17, 2024

    Partnership with Pyxera successfully tested a "circular logistics" model to upcycle critical minerals from electronic waste. Following a successful pilot program at the end of last year in Tennessee, FedEx, Pyxera Global, and several other companies have launched the Circular Supply Chain Coalition (CSCC) to boost the domestic supply of critical minerals for new tech hardware in the United States by "mining" discarded consumer electronics. CSCC's vision is to strengthen and ex... Full story

  • Logistics transportation vehicles – cargo ship, truck, and plane.

    Forging a strong tech metals supply chain

    K. Warner, Metal Tech News|Updated Jun 17, 2024

    Changing how the West approaches globalism will be the key to a circular economy the whole world can get behind. The Western world has found itself in a unique crisis that has brought systemic vulnerabilities into sharp relief. An overreliance on problematic imports has been exposed (especially post-COVID) as a rat's nest of potential supply chain disruptions, global inequality, deregulation and competition-killing corporate consolidation – all while leaving the power of marke... Full story

  • Crowd of workers in hard hats cheering, viewed from behind.

    Three positive trends in critical minerals

    K. Warner, Metal Tech News|Updated Jun 17, 2024

    Reports demonstrate how growing demand, international cooperation, and social change are shaping the mining sector for the better. The continuing surge in critical minerals demand, anticipated to easily double by 2040, has significantly impacted the global mining sector while several world powers struggle to slip out from under geopolitical pressures on the battery industry and develop domestic supply chains. Propelled by technological expansion, the rate of demand growth for... Full story

  • Man’s hand lifting a core sample from a tray of samples.

    Coniagas eyes Congo copper-cobalt feed

    K. Warner, Metal Tech News|Updated Jun 11, 2024

    Offshore stockpiles offer material company's feed-first strategy for Re-20X hydrometallurgical process in Quebec. Coniagas Battery Metals Inc. has identified promising offshore stockpiles rich in copper and cobalt that could provide a source of feed for the evaluation and processing using the company's Re-2Ox, a proprietary closed-loop, zero-discharge hydrometallurgical process for the extraction of metals from mined material and black mass battery recycling material.... Full story

  • Closeup of a chunk of manganese ore at a mine.

    A perfect storm for manganese prices

    K. Warner, Metal Tech News|Updated Jun 11, 2024

    Steady demand and Cyclone Megan supply disruptions are giving the metal market its day. The recent uptick in manganese prices resulting from Tropical Cyclone Megan causing significant damage to South32's Groote Eylandt Mining Company (GEMCO) manganese mine in Australia has prompted Jupiter Mines to release an update on the manganese market landscape, preempting its usual quarterly update. "We are expecting manganese prices to be higher than the historical average for the... Full story

  • View of Ugitech’s Ugine steel plant in France.

    EU steel made with green hydrogen

    K. Warner, Metal Tech News|Updated Jun 4, 2024

    The trend towards increased sustainability within the steelmaking process, "green steel" practices are catching on around the world. Under a pioneering memorandum of understanding, Lhyfe will install a green hydrogen production unit at Ugitech's plant in Ugine, France, capable of generating around 13 tons of hydrogen per day. This comes at a time when "green steel" practices are making headlines around the world, from Boston Metal's molten electrolysis to Rio Tinto's latest... Full story

  • Michael Vanden Berg at a coal outcrop near Star Point mine.

    Rare earths found in Utah, Colorado mines

    K. Warner, Metal Tech News|Updated Jun 4, 2024

    High concentrations of REEs occurring near coal could improve domestic supply. "The model is if you're already moving rock, could you move a little more rock for resources towards energy transition?" said co-author Lauren Birgenheier regarding a study of rare earth elements (REEs) found in conjunction with coal-producing regional mines across the Uinta coal belt of Colorado and Utah. This research seeking out alternative sources of rare earths was conducted in partnership... Full story

  • Amontree and Yan with wafers of synthesized graphene.

    Need better graphene? Use less oxygen.

    K. Warner, Metal Tech News|Updated Jun 4, 2024

    Engineers link lower graphene quality to oxygen levels during the processing stage and develop new techniques to make less flawed carbon nanomaterial at scale. Engineers at Columbia University School of Engineering and Applied Science, the University of Montreal, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology have developed an oxygen-free chemical vapor deposition (OF-CVD) method for producing high-quality graphene that can create samples at scale. Their work, publishe... Full story

  • View of construction at the Hermosa project in Arizona.

    Domestic manganese for national security

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

    Pentagon awards $20 million to jump-start the production of battery-grade manganese at South32's Hermosa project in Arizona. The Department of Defense (DOD) has announced a $20 million grant awarded via the Defense Production Act Investment (DPAI) Program to South32, a globally diversified mining and metals company, for accelerating the upcoming Hermosa zinc-manganese project in Arizona. Located in a historic mining district in the Patagonia Mountains, Hermosa was chosen for...

  • Robot arm mining on an asteroid in outer space.

    Before mining asteroids, sell the tech

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

    Space miners develop Earth-friendly tech products as the first step to a future extraterrestrial economy. Plenty of space mining companies have boomed and gone bust in the last decade. In spite of this, "the field has exploded in interest," said Angel Abbud-Madrid, director of the Center for Space Resources at the Colorado School of Mines. The costs of space travel and exploration have been reduced dramatically due to the privatization of transport. With deep-sea mining still...

  • An upshot of the fans at Climeworks’ Mammoth facility.

    Swiss CO2 capture tech heads to Louisiana

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

    Climeworks has started operations at the world's largest direct air carbon capture plant in Iceland; stashing CO2 in Louisiana's salt aquifers is next. Over in Iceland two massive direct air capture (DAC) plants priced in the low triple-digit millions to build are costing close to $1,000 per metric ton to pull carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. But that's only the beginning – they will build even bigger next time. Climeworks' carbon capture technology is coming to America. E...

  • Scania tipper truck in white on black background.

    Scania autonomous trucks are coming

    K. Warner, Metal Tech News|Updated May 28, 2024

    Australia gets first crack at a 40-metric-ton autonomous heavy tipper haul truck, with a 50-metric-ton model to follow. Over the past decade, Scania has been developing self-driving heavy vehicles and their support systems, including applications for hub-to-hub transport on highways as well as autonomous trucks for confined areas such as mines. Mines and large closed construction sites are ideal environments for self-driving vehicles to contribute to safer working conditions... Full story

  • Two people’s hands at a desk gesturing at a laptop.

    ESG skills for busy mining professionals

    K. Warner, Metal Tech News|Updated May 28, 2024

    The Responsible Mining Academy provides online solutions to the ESG competency gap delivered for and by industry experts. The global mining space has been tasked with rapidly evolving to meet the collective demands of ambitious carbon-zero pledges by governments and industry leaders around the world, alongside the sustainability expectations of investors, customers, and an increasingly savvy public. By understanding a mining concern's influence on sustainability-related... Full story

  • Artistic rendering of metals being dissolved in a glass jar.

    Organic solvents for urban metal mining

    K. Warner, Metal Tech News|Updated May 27, 2024

    Researchers develop increasingly sustainable methods for dissolving precious metals like gold, silver and copper from recycled e-waste. With a surprising assortment of solvents you can pick up at the local store, researchers at the University of Helsinki have developed sustainable dissolution methods that have successfully extracted gold, silver, and copper from e-waste. The massive amount of unrecycled waste from computers, printers and cell phones, video game consoles, TVs,... Full story

  • A woman and two men smiling in hard hats.

    U.S. seeks to rebuild mining workforce

    K. Warner, Metal Tech News|Updated May 27, 2024

    Policies and investments hinge on an incoming labor pool that sees mining in a modern light. With Washington's policies and cash infusions in full force to accelerate fair trade mineral and processing partnerships and develop a domestic supply, the U.S. mining sector must quickly find and train a new workforce to keep the industry producing. "The U.S. must ready the next generation of mining engineers, metallurgists, and geoscientists to develop the secure, transparent, and... Full story

  • Overhead view of International Battery Metals DLE plant.

    Mobile, modular direct lithium extraction

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

    International Battery Metals and US Magnesium agree to install world's first modular DLE plant. This May, International Battery Metals (IBAT) and US Magnesium announced their partnership to install a first-of-its-kind modular direct lithium extraction (DLE) plant that can rapidly be deployed to a site and efficiently extract lithium from a variety of brine resources. The portable, modular design provides both a smaller footprint and scalability. The mobile facility is...

  • A man surveys a tidal habitat in Australian wilderness.

    AU targets critical minerals in hunt

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

    Latest budget's resource search focuses on battery metals and rare earth elements. Over the coming decade, Australia is prepared to spend A$566 million (US$373 million) to map out deposits of minerals critical to high-tech manufacturing and the green energy transition. "The critical minerals space is one of the reasons why there is so much attention from global and domestic investors, but we need to make sure we can attract and deploy that," Australia Treasurer Jim Chalmers...

  • Aerial view of phosphor-gypsum stacks at the Phalaborwa project.

    Billions in rare earths for U.S. at risk

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

    Without investors, the future of South Africa's rare earth elements enriched Phalaborwa site may depend on Washington support. Bordering South Africa's renowned Kruger National Park stands Phalaborwa, a mine sporting two rare earths-enriched phospho-gypsum waste piles that could mean over a billion in critical minerals for the U.S. – if the project can get enough support to run. To challenge China's near monopoly on rare earths, Washington has committed funds to a little-known...

  • Artist’s rendering of a translucent body with 2D symbolism.

    Borophene beats graphene for biotech

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

    Boron 2D material may surpass graphene in improving a variety of next-gen technologies. Graphene has been this decade's star of materials development, lending itself to everything from cancer detection to stronger concrete. But a new and improved two-dimensional material is making its presence known in the world of nanomaterials – borophene. First synthesized in 2015, borophene is the nano-thin 2D version of boron that is more conductive, lighter, stronger, and more f...

  • Artist’s rendering of dry stack batteries sealed in glass.

    This battery has run for over 180 years

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

    And we won't find out how or why until it finally goes out. In a world increasingly obsessed with energy-efficient and long-lasting batteries, a nondescript bell at the University of Oxford's Clarendon Laboratory has been gently chiming since 1840 as one of the world's longest-running battery-powered science experiments. Shortly after America declared independence, electricity was still a largely unknown factor and was considered to have sources in animals, lightning, static,... Full story

  • Rendering of Vantaan Energia’s cavern thermal energy storage facility.

    Grid batteries might not all be mechanical

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

    Thermal energy storage cavern twice the size of Madison Square Garden could heat Finland's fourth-most-populous city of Vantaa all year. Engineering advancements have recently made strides in sustainability by imitating nature as opposed to conquering it. In the case of storage, the global energy transition demands more powerful and efficient batteries as well as earth-friendly processes to get the technology where it needs to be, and one city in Finland is building the...

  • Artist’s rendering of a flexible band of complex electronics.

    Wearable electrode gives 33x energy boost

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

    New nanofiber electrode material increases energy storage. The next generation of wearable and flexible devices will necessitate the development of more robust, lightweight energy storage systems and researchers at the Korea Institute of Science and Technology (KIST) have answered the call – developing modified carbon nanotube fibers in an electrode-like material that can offer 3.3 times the strength and 1.3 times the conductivity over regular carbon nanotubes. Technology c...

  • The interior of WEST, a donut-shaped fusion reactor in France.

    Fusion reactors switch to tungsten

    K. Warner, Metal Tech News|Updated May 14, 2024

    Materials breakthrough improves the timeline of plasma stability, brings endless energy closer. This month in France, a donut-shaped fusion reactor the size of an eight-foot box called WEST has upgraded from a carbon interior to one made of tungsten, an improvement which successfully contained plasma hotter and longer than ever. Compared to this latest result, our own sun burns at temperatures 30% less while still powering grid-scale systems running on solar panels whose... Full story

  • AI-generated rendering of a futuristic computer capacitor.

    Nano-thin ferroelectric power breakthrough

    K. Warner, Metal Tech News|Updated May 7, 2024

    New capacitors are layered with 2D and 3D materials whose architecture promises higher energy and unprecedented efficiency. A group of researchers from the McKelvey School of Engineering at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, have developed a new metamaterial designed to advance the capabilities of ferroelectric capacitors, a discovery that could open the door for the widespread adoption of this elusive electrical storage solution across many technologies.... Full story

  • Artist’s rendering of electrical discharge between materials.

    Fast-charging sodium hybrid battery

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

    Korean researchers present a high-power sodium-ion battery that can be charged in seconds. Researchers at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) have developed a high-energy and high-power hybrid sodium-ion battery capable of charging within seconds. Interest in developing batteries based on sodium has taken off due to concerns over the sustainability of lithium, as well as safety concerns due to the combustibility of lithium-ion batteries.... Full story

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