The Elements of Innovation Discovered

Articles from the May 24, 2023 edition


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  • Rich blue lithium evaporation pools at Allkem's Olaroz project in Argentina.

    Industry playing catch-up with lithium

    K. Warner, For Metal Tech News|Updated May 30, 2023

    At first glance, it appears that mining giants have been slow on the uptake during the booming market for battery materials. This may demonstrate an unusual lack of forethought, or over the next few years, may actually prove they've been two steps ahead. In less than a decade, the likes of lithium, cobalt, and graphite went from minor materials to a demand so intense that several electric vehicle (EV) and battery manufacturers are jumping the usual supply chain and investing...

  • Large group in hard hats and safety vests in front of Komatsu mining truck.

    Komatsu's future autonomous mine vision

    Shane Lasley, Metal Tech News|Updated May 30, 2023

    Interoperability is key to company's vision of a fully automated mine; works with Toyota to sync light trucks into future mines. From the Arctic regions of northern Sweden to the Andes Mountains in Chile and hot desert climates of Western Australia, 650 mining trucks equipped with Komatsu Ltd.'s FrontRunner autonomous haulage system have transported more than 6.2 billion metric tons of material at 22 mine sites in five countries. Self-driving haul trucks, however, are just...

  • A flat solid-state battery against a hexagon and computer circuit background.

    A silver lining to solid-state batteries

    Shane Lasley, Metal Tech News|Updated May 30, 2023

    Duke researchers, machine learning unveil the secrets of silver-enriched compounds that may enable solid-state batteries. With help from machine learning, a team of Duke University researchers has discovered the atomic mechanisms that make silver-rich compounds known as argyrodites among the top contenders for a solid-state battery electrolyte that would completely change the electric vehicle landscape. Whether they use these argyrodites or some other material as the...

  • Microscopic picture of gallium nitride nanopillars on a silicon sheet.

    Researchers solve heat-to-electricity loss

    A.J. Roan, Metal Tech News|Updated May 30, 2023

    2-year-old discovery offers breakthrough in thermoelectric sustainability. Researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology, and collaboration with the University of Colorado, have created a novel method using gallium nitride that could drastically increase the conversion of heat into electricity. If perfected, this technology could help recoup some of the roughly $100 billion of heat energy lost in the U.S. each year, according to NIST. The new...

  • USGS geologist samples a mineralized outcrop on treeless slope in Alaska.

    USGS funds new Earth MRI scans in Alaska

    Shane Lasley, Metal Tech News|Updated May 23, 2023

    Home to deposits and prospects enriched with 49 out of the 50 minerals deemed critical to the United States, Alaska is the single best state in the nation to explore for the minerals and metals needed for clean energy, electric vehicles, high-tech devices, and military hardware. To gain a better understanding of the 49th State's critical minerals potential, the U.S. Geological Survey is investing an additional $5.8 million to explore specific regions of the state in 2023....

  • A pile of metal scrap and waste for recycling.

    US recycling tech gets boost in funding

    K. Warner, For Metal Tech News|Updated May 23, 2023

    The U.S. Department of Defense has developed the Materials Recovery Technologies for Defense Supply Resiliency initiative in support of President Biden's 2021 directive to identify and address risks in the supply chain for critical minerals. The project is being run through Army Research Labs as a multi-year and multimillion-dollar international collaborative partnership between seven universities and five industry participants including Gopher Resource, the founding member...

  • A huge hill made up of coal refuse near Indiana, Pennsylvania.

    DOE proffers critical materials marketplace

    A.J. Roan, Metal Tech News|Updated May 22, 2023

    Latest RFI for unconventional sources and possible desire for critical minerals "matchmaking." Much like its requests for information on clean energy projects, lithium recycling, and critical minerals, the United States Department of Energy is once again seeking input, this time to further solidify domestic critical minerals supply through the use of unconventional and secondary sources. Aimed at supporting its ongoing Carbon Ore, Rare Earth, and Critical Minerals (CORE-CM)...

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