The Elements of Innovation Discovered

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  • A large six-rotor drone hovering over a field.

    Tellurium devices to extend drone flights

    Shane Lasley, Metal Tech News|Updated Jun 20, 2024

    PyroDelta is developing a tellurium-based thermoelectric generator that could transform prop downwash into longer drone range. Can tellurium-based thermoelectric generators provide extra lift to drones? First Tellurium believes they can and a company it created to advance research and development of thermoelectric devices for clean energy generation is developing a prototype specifically for drone applications. Thermoelectric generators transform the differences in temperature... Full story

  • A gold-colored rectangular device engraved with the PyroDelta logo.

    RESOLVE to develop First Tellurium tech

    Shane Lasley, Metal Tech News|Updated Jun 20, 2024

    Solution-focused NGO agrees to help manufacture and sell tellurium-based thermoelectric generator with green potential. Amongst the rarest of stable elements on the periodic table, tellurium has quietly emerged as a secret ingredient of the clean energy future. This includes serving as a semiconductor in thermoelectric generators – solid-state devices that transform waste heat from vehicle engines and industrial processes into clean electricity. This promising green energy t... Full story

  • Graphic with bubbles depicting hydrogen supply chain against green background.

    DOE to loan Plug $1.7B for green hydrogen

    Shane Lasley, Metal Tech News|Updated May 24, 2024

    Funds will be used to build out a complete green hydrogen ecosystem in the U.S.; will create new demand for PGMs. To help support the production of green hydrogen to fuel America's clean energy economy, the U.S. Department of Energy's Loan Programs Office has conditionally committed to loan Plug Power Inc. $1.66 billion to help finance the construction of up to six domestic hydrogen facilities. "Green hydrogen is an essential driver of industrial decarbonization in the United...

  • US Strategic Metals battery materials recovery facility in Madison County, MO.

    Missouri sparks battery materials collab

    A.J. Roan, Metal Tech News|Updated May 17, 2024

    Missouri University of Science and Technology, US Strategic Metals; lithium-ion battery precursor cathode active material research. Pioneering a transformative shift in the American battery landscape, US Strategic Metals joins forces with Missouri University of Science and Technology to advance research on precursor cathode active material, leveraging the Show Me State's abundant natural resources and cutting-edge facilities in green innovation. Transforming from humble... Full story

  • 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

  • Photo of a splash resulting from a droplet of water into a pond.

    More green hydrogen with less iridium

    Shane Lasley, Metal Tech New|Updated May 13, 2024

    Riken researchers have developed a green hydrogen catalyst that reduces the amount of rare and expensive iridium needed by 95%. One of the most elementary chemistry lessons taught to schoolchildren is that water is a molecule made up of two parts hydrogen and one part oxygen. Now, scholars at the highest level of academics are working to find the most efficient and sustainable means of breaking those hydrogen atoms off of water to produce a green fuel that turns back into... Full story

  • Rendering of nanotubes and bubbles.

    Nickel catalyst for faster H2 electrolysis

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

    Introducing 3D nickel catalysts for faster and cheaper production of hydrogen from water. A team of researchers from Pohang University of Science and Technology (POSTECH) in South Korea has developed a new three-dimensional nickel catalyst that shows promise for producing more hydrogen from water at lower costs. The production of hydrogen from water typically involves the use of platinum or other similar precious metals, which pushes up the costs of producing this... Full story

  • MGA Thermal CEO and CTO measure graphite-aluminum thermal energy storage blocks.

    Shell funds MGA Thermal storage plant

    K. Warner, For Metal Tech News|Updated Apr 3, 2024

    Green energy startup MGA Thermal and its long-duration energy storage solution rose above a field of dozens of quality applicants to win a $400,000 grant from Shell GameChanger, an initiative sponsored by the global energy giant to support startups and businesses on unproven early-stage ideas that have the potential to impact the future of energy. "I am excited that Shell can support MGA Thermal's pilot project and their ambitions to enable the storage of renewable energy. We...

  • Lights from Energy Metals’ White Mesa Mill reflect off a pond at night.

    Energy Fuels starts up three uranium mines

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

    More than 20 countries gathered for the 2023 United Nations Climate Change Conference, better known as COP28, agree that nuclear energy has a major role to play in achieving the global goal of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. The Declaration to Triple Nuclear Energy endorsed by these nations gathered in Dubai for COP28 includes global resolutions to work together to advance a goal of tripling nuclear energy capacity by 2050 and encourages international financial...

  • A view of the ends of various-sized copper cables for electrical transmission.

    A push to add copper to US critical list

    Shane Lasley, Metal Tech News|Updated Jun 8, 2023
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    US business and political leaders call on USGS to expediently add copper to list of critical minerals. Copper is essential to a global economy that favors low-carbon electricity powerlines over fossil fuel-filled pipelines to deliver future energy needs. But does the green energy demand make the red metal critical? So far, copper has not been elevated to the official list of minerals and metals deemed critical to the United States. A surprisingly broad spectrum of politicians...

  • A roughly one-by-two-inch flat, rectangular TEG generator being tested in a lab.

    First Tellurium solid-state energy R&D

    Shane Lasley, Metal Tech News|Updated Jun 8, 2023

    Mineral explorer sees tellurium as solid-state clean energy solution, forms company to advance new tech. Before its use in thin-film solar panels, tellurium was an obscure semi-metallic element with few commercial uses. Today, this rare metalloid is a rising star of solid-state green energy that is helping to transform sunlight and heat into electricity, as well as a secret ingredient in solid-state lithium batteries with the potential to revolutionize electric vehicles.... Full story

  • Corked bottle with image of Earth inside as the message washed up on a beach.

    Message in a bottle: More copper needed

    Shane Lasley, Metal Tech News|Updated Apr 19, 2023

    In a clarion call to current and future mining colleagues, IMDEX geoscience chief warns lack of copper may slow energy transition. As global governments and industries scramble to ensure there is enough lithium, graphite, cobalt, nickel, and rare earths to build the collective vision of a future where electric vehicles are charged with zero-carbon renewable energy, the geoscientists charged with discovering the mineral deposits needed to meet global demand are much more... Full story

  • Lab tech connects wires on a Zinc8 zinc-air battery.

    NY Sen. Schumer calls Zinc8 with an offer

    Shane Lasley, Metal Tech News|Updated Apr 16, 2023

    Seeing a win-win-win situation that revitalizes an old Superfund site, creates jobs for New Yorkers, and supercharges a cutting-edge renewable energy storage technology, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-NY, picked up the phone and called Zinc8 Energy Solutions CEO Ron MacDonald to urge the energy-storage technology company to manufacture zinc-air batteries in his home state. During this pivotal call to MacDonald, Sen. Schumer touted the cleaned up and refurbished... Full story

  • Graphic with the symbol, atomic number and atomic weight of tellurium.

    A secret ingredient to US clean energy

    Shane Lasley, Metal Tech News|Updated Apr 16, 2023

    Rare tellurium has emerged as vital metalloid in next-gen solar, solid-state batteries. From longer-range electric vehicle batteries to long-lasting solar panels that efficiently charge those EVs with sunshine, tellurium is quietly becoming one of the most important energy metals that most people have never heard of. "It has flown largely under the radar, even though it's essential for cadmium-telluride solar panels and new lithium-tellurium batteries that could revolutionize... Full story

  • A metal-clad doughnut-shaped chamber for nuclear fusion.

    Slow going for nuclear fusion research

    Rose Ragsdale, For Metal Tech News|Updated Feb 16, 2023

    Tungsten alloys could endure extreme temps for carbon-free energy technology. The International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) project recently reported hitting significant snags in its quest to prove the feasibility of fusion as a large-scale and carbon-free source of energy. Fusion entails forcing together the nuclei of light atomic elements in a super-heated plasma, held by powerful magnetic forces in a doughnut-shaped chamber called a "tokamak." By fusing the...

  • A test vial bubbling as the reaction from gallium-aluminum creates hydrogen.

    More gallium the key to green hydrogen

    A.J. Roan, Metal Tech News|Updated Sep 13, 2022

    A liquid metal being explored for use in shapeshifting soft robots and enhancing carbon-capturing properties of platinum, gallium is proving to be the missing link to many questions materials scientists have been attempting to answer for years. Now, when the need for clean alternative energy is at its peak, University of California Santa Cruz researchers have found that gallium could unlock the doors to cheap hydrogen production. Researchers have tried to find efficient and...

  • Concept of peeling away old power sources to reveal renewable energy.

    US utility testing liquid metal batteries

    Shane Lasley, Metal Tech News|Updated Aug 31, 2022

    Xcel Energy eyes Ambri antimony batteries for clean energy storage Xcel Energy, a utility company that generates enough electricity to power roughly 23 million homes across eight states, has selected the liquid-metal batteries produced by Amri Inc. as a potential long-term clean energy storage solution. "Partnering with a progressive and innovative utility such as Xcel Energy is an exciting opportunity for Ambri as their clean energy vision is directly aligned with our...

  • A prototype of Cambridge University's artificial leaf floating on the Cam River.

    An artificial leaf to fuel world trade

    A.J. Roan, Metal Tech News|Updated Aug 30, 2022

    While renewable energy technologies such as wind and solar have become significantly cheaper and more available in recent years, many challenges still need to be overcome to achieve decarbonization in most industries. To help supplement energy needs, researchers from the University of Cambridge have designed an ultrathin, flexible device intended to mimic nature's best energy convertor – leaves! For several years, Professor Erwin Reisner's research group at Cambridge has been...

  • Row of installed First Solar thin-film solar panels in field with flowers.

    DOE backs tellurium enriched solar tech

    Shane Lasley, Metal Tech News|Updated Aug 23, 2022

    Launches $20M consortium to boost American-made CdTe cells Increasing federal backing of American-made thin-film solar technologies is likely to increase the demand for tellurium, a key ingredient of cadmium telluride (CdTe) solar cells. Tellurium is a metalloid, one of seven elements with properties that fall between metals like aluminum and tin and non-metals like carbon and phosphorus. These semimetals, which also include silicon and germanium, have natural semiconductive...

  • A Hyundai NEXO cut through the middle, showing its hydrogen fuel-powered engine.

    Iron to catalyze hydrogen fuel cell future

    A.J. Roan, Metal Tech News|Updated Aug 2, 2022

    Researchers from Northeastern University in Boston have identified a novel class of catalysts that, because of their particular non-noble-metal nature, could offer a lower-cost alternative to the platinum-based standard that has prevented hydrogen from advancing in the fuel sector. In the most basic terms, a fuel cell transforms hydrogen and atmospheric oxygen into electricity, water vapor, and a little heat. Using platinum as a catalyst, hydrogen is split and fed into one...

  • Cambridge University's artificial leaf inside of a clear water pipe.

    Solar fuel made from artificial leaves

    A.J. Roan, Metal Tech News|Updated Jul 12, 2022

    Researchers at the University of Cambridge, with academics at Imperial College London, have developed a bismuth leaf that may one day be able to produce clean hydrogen from water and sunlight, overcoming some of the basic challenges of producing this emerging green energy fuel. Hydrogen fuel is expected to play a critical role in the transition to decarbonization and in reaching many countries' goals of net-zero emissions. With most hydrogen currently supplied from fossil... Full story

  • Robot arms build electric vehicles on a futuristic auto assembly line.

    Gridlock could delay clean energy future

    Shane Lasley, Metal Tech News|Updated Jul 12, 2022

    The International Energy Agency warns that traffic jams threaten the clean energy future. Not on global highways congested with electric vehicles, nor in lines of these EVs waiting to top off their batteries with low-carbon electricity at charging stations. Instead, this gridlock is more likely to happen in automotive and battery factories that cannot find plentiful and affordable supplies of the minerals and metals needed. "Prices of many minerals and metals that are essentia...

  • Men install First Solar CdTe thin-film photovoltaic panels.

    Critical solar metal now produced in US

    Shane Lasley, Metal Tech News|Updated Jul 12, 2022

    As part of a wider initiative to recover critical minerals as byproducts at its current mining operations, Rio Tinto is now producing the tellurium used in thin-film photovoltaic solar panels at its Kennecott copper operation in Utah. "We are proud to deliver a new domestic supply of tellurium to support the manufacturing of solar panels and other critical equipment here in the United States," said Rio Tinto Copper Chief Operating Officer Clayton Walker. This key ingredient...

  • nuclear fusion world record JET facility Joint European Torus tokamak energy

    Scientists break fusion power record

    Rose Ragsdale, For Metal Tech News|Updated Jul 12, 2022

    The quest to generate clean energy like that produced inside our Sun and other stars moved a step closer to reality recently when scientists in the United Kingdom broke the record for power released in a sustained fusion reaction. In early February, scientists at the Joint European Torus (JET) facility reported producing 59 megajoules of energy over five seconds (11 megawatts of power) in a fusion reaction, more than doubling the previous record of 21.7 megajoules set in 1997...

  • MIT thermophotovoltaic heat engine to generate electricity.

    Heat to electricity with no moving parts

    Shane Lasley, Metal Tech News|Updated Apr 19, 2022

    Since its invention nearly 140 years ago, the modern steam turbine has represented the apex of efficiency when it comes to converting thermal energy into electricity. Now, engineers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and National Renewable Energy Laboratory have created a heat engine with no moving parts that exceeds the efficiency of the turbines used in today's coal, natural gas, and nuclear power plants. Reminiscent of the photovoltaic solar cells that convert... Full story

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