Posts Tagged ‘US’

Intersolar: Most of U.S. Solar Market to Reach Grid Parity by 2015

15/07/2009

Few ideas drive as much excitement in the solar industry as grid parity, the point at which solar systems — or any other renewable source of energy — cost the same as producing electricity from conventional sources like fossil fuels. Travis Bradford, founder of The Prometheus Institute, on Monday said that the research group forecasts that two-thirds of the U.S. market (by electricity sold) using photovoltaic systems will be at grid parity by 2015. “The U.S. will be an extraordinary market in a few years,” he said while giving a morning keynote address at the Intersolar conference in San Francisco.

FUENTE – earth2tech – 13/07/09

The figure includes federal tax incentives and assumes that electricity rates will rise on average 1 percent per year, a conservative assumption, according to Bradford. Solar systems can produce electricity at or below grid prices in about 10 percent of the U.S. market today, Bradford said. That number will rise to two-thirds of the U.S. market because of the fast decline in the cost of modules and other system components like racks. Bradford said commercial solar systems would reach about $2 to $3 per watt installed and residential about $4 per watt installed by 2015, down from more than $6 per watt today.

Bradford said the United States “is entering a period” when it could become the largest market for and producer of solar modules. The rapid advance toward grid parity and government incentives like tax credits and renewable portfolio standards are the main drivers behind this potential shift. “I don’t think a lot of people believe this yet, but that doesn’t mean it’s not true,” Bradford said.

Author: J. Moresco

La UE aprueba los aranceles definitivos a la importación de biodiésel de EEUU

08/07/2009

Los ministros de Economía y Finanzas de la UE han impuesto aranceles a las importaciones de biodiesel procedente de Estados Unidos, con un carácter “definitivo”, por estimar que las ayudas que Washington da a esos combustibles suponen una competencia desleal para las industrias europeas.

FUENTE – Energía Diario – 07/07/09

Los gravámenes, aprobados sin debate por el Consejo de Ministros de la UE, oscilan entre los 211 y 237 euros por tonelada. El impuesto aduanero final dependerá de la empresa exportadora y del grado de mezcla del carburante.

Con esta decisión, los Veintisiete convierten en permanentes los aranceles al biodiesel, pues en marzo la UE acordó imponer ese tipo de restricciones con carácter provisional y por seis meses.

Bruselas empezó a barajar un arancel al biocombustible de EEUU tras una investigación, que comenzó en 2008, en respuesta a las quejas de la asociación de industrias europeas de biocarburantes (EEB, siglas en inglés).

Las industrias presentaron datos para probar que las empresas de EEUU exportaron biodiesel a precios que competían ilícitamente por haber recibido apoyos fiscales y ayudas nacionales que dañaban a los productores de la UE.

El comercio de biodiesel en la UE rondó los 5.000 millones de euros en 2007, con importaciones por valor de 700 millones, de las que 600 millones o el 85% correspondieron a ventas estadounidenses, según otra fuente europea.

Los envíos desde EEUU aumentaron significativamente al pasar de las 50.000 toneladas a más de un millón en el período de investigación (entre abril de 2007 y marzo de 2008), durante el cual tuvieron una cuota de mercado del 17%.cia desleal en el mercado europeo.

Obama to seek climate deal in Moscow

06/07/2009

After success with China, US targets Russia in strategy to reach separate agreements with world’s biggest polluters

FUENTE – The Guardian – 03/07/09

Barack Obama will move to seal a deal with Russia for joint action on climate change during his summit in Moscow next week, the Guardian has learned.

Obama arrives in Moscow on Monday at the start of a trip to Russia, Italy and Ghana that will focus heavily on energy and climate change. From Moscow, Obama travels on to Italy for a meeting of the G8 and a gathering of the major polluting countries.

Administration officials are still working out the broad outlines of an agreement that would see the US offer its expertise and technical support to Russian efforts to make its industries more energy efficient. In return Moscow would sign on to international efforts to scale back the emissions that cause global warming at a crucial UN summit in Copenhagen in December.

The overture to Russia — the third largest source of greenhouse gas emissions after America and China — furthers the strategy adopted by the Obama administration to enter into separate deals for action on climate change with each of the world’s biggest polluters.

The administration sees such deals as crucial groundwork ahead of the Copenhagen meeting. They dismiss suggestions that the US is trying to undermine the UN process.

The separate negotiations policy began taking shape in May, as the US climate change envoy, Todd Stern, pursued a deal with China, the world’s biggest polluter.

Next on the list is Russa. After that, it could well be Japan or Brazil. “You can definitely say we are looking for other partners,” an administration official said.

In the case of China, as well as Russia, US officials have steered clear of trying to press for binding targets for emissions reductions.

Major environmental organisations support the Obama administration approach. David Doniger, the director of climate policy at the Natural Resources Defence Council, argues that Obama and other high-level members of his team have far greater flexibility to try to reach a deal in such bilateral talks than officials working through routine diplomatic channels.

“If you are trying to put together a baseball team you have to sign contracts with 30 players. You don’t work them out in one big meeting,” he said. “It’s very difficult in the multilateral setting. It is just not the place where it is very easy to get countries to make new moves.”

It is uncertain whether Obama will make a formal announcement of a new energy pact between the US and Russia. Instead, the president is expected to set out his ideas for a partnership with Russia on climate change and energy in a speech at the end of the summit. “They won’t have the full road map for what they are going to do but want to launch a stepped up partnership,” said Jake Schmidt, the international climate change director of the NRDC.

Another scenario envisaged is the establishment of a separate US-Russian working group on global warming to be overseen by Todd Stern, the State Department envoy on climate change.

The US and Russia have long-standing co-operation on energy, but the Obama administration would like to ratchet up that involvement.

There have also been recent signs of movement from Russia, which is beginning to engage with climate change far more seriously than before, said Andrew Kuchins of the Russia programme at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies. In April, Moscow unveiled a new doctrine on climate change. “I think there is a much more realistic appraisal about the potential pros and cons of climate change. It is hard for them to ignore what is happening in the Arctic [which is warming rapidly],” said Kuchins.

In recent weeks, the White House, State Department and National Security Council have also been studying a report from the Centre for American Progress, an influential think tank, that called for looking at climate change as an economic issue, and for demonstrating clear benefits to Russia of action. “What is most crucial is engaging them on energy efficiency. We think that it is important to frame climate change as an economic issue and one where Russia stands to benefit by first undergoing significant energy efficiency [improvements].”

Russian industry is very inefficient, using three times more energy per unit of gross domestic product as the European Union and twice as much as the US, Light notes in the paper. He argues there would be great interest in Russia in collaborating with US experts on technologies to improve its use of energy.

The economic potential is huge. A World Bank report last year found that Russia, with reasonable investment, would be able to cut its energy consumption by about 50%or the equivalent of 60 biliion barrels a day of oil over the next three years.

Author: S. Goldenberg

China Invierte en su Primer Proyecto Eólico en Estados Unidos

06/05/2009
Esta es la primera vez que el gobierno de China invertirá en una granja eólica en Estados Unidos. Tang Energy ha anunciado que ha asegurado 300 millones de financiamiento del CATIC Desarrollo Internacional de Comercio y Económica, una subsidiaria de la empresa estatal China, Industria de aviación China.
Los fondos serán usados para desarrollar granjas de energía eólica de 250 MW para finales del 2010. Las ubicaciones que se están considerando son Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Massachusetts, Texas y Virginia. Los proyectos serán desarrollados por una subsidiaria de Tang Energy, Soaring Wind Energy.
En un movimiento que podría causar molestias en Estados Unidos, tomando en cuenta el potencial de empleos de manufactura en energía eólica en el oeste de ese país, sólo el 40% de los materiales necesarios para la construcción de las granjas procederán de los Estados Unidos. Todo lo demás será fabricado en China. Algunas de las aspas serán fabricadas por el fabricante de turbinas más grande de China, HT Blades.

Esta es la primera vez que el gobierno de China invertirá en una granja eólica en Estados Unidos. Tang Energy ha anunciado que ha asegurado 300 millones de financiamiento del CATIC Desarrollo Internacional de Comercio y Económica, una subsidiaria de la empresa estatal China, Industria de aviación China.

FUENTE – gstriatum – 05/05/09

Los fondos serán usados para desarrollar granjas de energía eólica de 250 MW para finales del 2010. Las ubicaciones que se están considerando son Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Massachusetts, Texas y Virginia. Los proyectos serán desarrollados por una subsidiaria de Tang Energy, Soaring Wind Energy.

En un movimiento que podría causar molestias en Estados Unidos, tomando en cuenta el potencial de empleos de manufactura en energía eólica en el oeste de ese país, sólo el 40% de los materiales necesarios para la construcción de las granjas procederán de los Estados Unidos. Todo lo demás será fabricado en China. Algunas de las aspas serán fabricadas por el fabricante de turbinas más grande de China, HT Blades.

Four U.S. companies are developing plans for biomass-fueled power plants, relying primarily, if not completely, on wood waste

29/04/2009
Four U.S. companies are developing plans for biomass-fueled power plants, relying primarily, if not completely, on wood waste
Peregrine Energy Corp., Greenville, S.C., will invest $135 million in the development of a new woody biomass-fueled cogeneration plant at Sonoco’s Hartsville, S.C., Manufacturing Complex. According to Peregrine, the 50-megawatt facility will generate enough electricity to power about 14,000 homes and will replace Sonoco’s existing coal-fired boilers, using pre-commercial thinning and waste logging residues. The proposed facility will sit on a 12- to 15-acre site within the Sonoco complex and will use emission control technologies that meet Best Achievable Control Technology standards, according to Peregrine. Construction is slated to begin once the air permit, to be filed in May, is issued and the company hopes the plant will be commercially operational by the fall of 2012.
Once the facility is operating, Peregrine says it will sell the entire electrical output and all renewable energy certificates associated with the plant to Progress Energy Carolinas Inc., and low pressure steam from the plant to Sonoco for use in manufacturing recycled paperboard and other converted products in Hartsville. Peregrine also supplies air pollution control systems to its clients, including equipment, foundations, piping, wiring, controls and ductwork.
Energy Investors Funds LLC, a private equity fund manager that invests in the U.S. energy and power sector, recently acquired a 30-MW biomass power project currently under construction in Watertown, Conn., that is expected to create more than 120 jobs, according to the company. Watertown Renewable Power LLC will run on small tree branches, stumps, old cargo pallets and trees taken down as part of forestry management programs, generating enough clean electricity to power about 30,000 homes. Hundreds of construction jobs also will be created during the 24-month building period, the company boasts. Tamarack Energy Inc. started the WRP project planning more than two years ago and recently sold it to EIF for an undisclosed amount. EIF has invested in other clean energy projects, including 16 hydroelectric facilities and 19 landfill gas-fired facilities across the U.S. that turn waste methane into electricity and pipeline-quality renewable natural gas.
In Indiana, BioEnergy Development Co. will further its clean energy endeavors through a biomass electric generation plant to be constructed on a coal strip mine site in Clay County, according to BioEnergy. BioEnergy Power LLC will generate about 27 MW of electricity from wood waste previously provided to a paper plant in Terre Haute, which closed in 2007, and is expected to create 25 to 30 full-time jobs. Rob Swain, BioEnergy Development Co. president, says he chose the location because of its fuel supply and logistics. BioEnergy signed a letter of intent with an area utility company and has secured the land for development. The company also is in negotiations with a wood waste aggregator to supply the plant with feedstock, mostly from within a 100-mile radius of the proposed site, it said. BioEnergy Power hopes to begin construction by fall of 2009 and finish by the end of 2010, employing 25 to 30 full-time workers. BioEnergy also is in discussions with other companies to capture carbon dioxide for use in developing other types of energy in an attempt to further lower the plant’s carbon footprint.
Florida Biomass Energy LLC, Bradenton, Fla., proposed to build a 60-MW plant on a 53-acre site northwest of Bradenton near Palmetto, Fla. The $185 million-project primarily will use wood chips, but could burn animal material and nonfood crops in a circulating fluidized bed boiler to heat water, thus generating steam that would power a turbine and generate electricity

Peregrine Energy Corp., Greenville, S.C., will invest $135 million in the development of a new woody biomass-fueled cogeneration plant at Sonoco’s Hartsville, S.C., Manufacturing Complex. According to Peregrine, the 50-megawatt facility will generate enough electricity to power about 14,000 homes and will replace Sonoco’s existing coal-fired boilers, using pre-commercial thinning and waste logging residues. The proposed facility will sit on a 12- to 15-acre site within the Sonoco complex and will use emission control technologies that meet Best Achievable Control Technology standards, according to Peregrine. Construction is slated to begin once the air permit, to be filed in May, is issued and the company hopes the plant will be commercially operational by the fall of 2012.

FUENTE – World of Bioenergy – 29/04/09

Once the facility is operating, Peregrine says it will sell the entire electrical output and all renewable energy certificates associated with the plant to Progress Energy Carolinas Inc., and low pressure steam from the plant to Sonoco for use in manufacturing recycled paperboard and other converted products in Hartsville. Peregrine also supplies air pollution control systems to its clients, including equipment, foundations, piping, wiring, controls and ductwork.

Energy Investors Funds LLC, a private equity fund manager that invests in the U.S. energy and power sector, recently acquired a 30-MW biomass power project currently under construction in Watertown, Conn., that is expected to create more than 120 jobs, according to the company. Watertown Renewable Power LLC will run on small tree branches, stumps, old cargo pallets and trees taken down as part of forestry management programs, generating enough clean electricity to power about 30,000 homes. Hundreds of construction jobs also will be created during the 24-month building period, the company boasts. Tamarack Energy Inc. started the WRP project planning more than two years ago and recently sold it to EIF for an undisclosed amount. EIF has invested in other clean energy projects, including 16 hydroelectric facilities and 19 landfill gas-fired facilities across the U.S. that turn waste methane into electricity and pipeline-quality renewable natural gas.

In Indiana, BioEnergy Development Co. will further its clean energy endeavors through a biomass electric generation plant to be constructed on a coal strip mine site in Clay County, according to BioEnergy. BioEnergy Power LLC will generate about 27 MW of electricity from wood waste previously provided to a paper plant in Terre Haute, which closed in 2007, and is expected to create 25 to 30 full-time jobs. Rob Swain, BioEnergy Development Co. president, says he chose the location because of its fuel supply and logistics. BioEnergy signed a letter of intent with an area utility company and has secured the land for development. The company also is in negotiations with a wood waste aggregator to supply the plant with feedstock, mostly from within a 100-mile radius of the proposed site, it said. BioEnergy Power hopes to begin construction by fall of 2009 and finish by the end of 2010, employing 25 to 30 full-time workers. BioEnergy also is in discussions with other companies to capture carbon dioxide for use in developing other types of energy in an attempt to further lower the plant’s carbon footprint.

Florida Biomass Energy LLC, Bradenton, Fla., proposed to build a 60-MW plant on a 53-acre site northwest of Bradenton near Palmetto, Fla. The $185 million-project primarily will use wood chips, but could burn animal material and nonfood crops in a circulating fluidized bed boiler to heat water, thus generating steam that would power a turbine and generate electricity

Hunting for the Next Hot Solar Market

15/04/2009

Travis Bradford of the Prometheus Institute surveys the global solar market landscape in his keynote speech at Greentech Media’s conference in Phoenix. Germany is reliable but won’t be growing much for long. The United States is now the magnet for the industry.

FUENTE – Greentechmedia – 14/04/09

The global credit crunch is hitting the solar energy market at a time when solar cell and panel makers have to place bets on new markets.

Germany has been the top solar energy market thanks to a reliable feed-in tariff program that requires utilities to pay high prices for solar energy. But it’s a maturing market with about 1.5 gigawatts of solar power capacity by the end of 2008, and is likely to hit the limit at 3 gigawatts to 4 gigawatts, said Travis Bradford, president of the Prometheus Institute, at Greentech Media’s Surviving the Shakeout conference in Phoenix on Tuesday.

Germany’s program costs the ratepayers in Germany €300 to €500 per household per year, he added.

“That can’t be left unchecked,” Bradford said, noting that some German politicians had unsuccessfully pushed to significantly shrink the feed-in tariff program last year. The proposal was to slash the solar electricity rates by as much as 30 percent, which caused no small amount of fear among solar panel makers from Europe, the United States and Asia. Lawmakers ultimately lowered the rates to about 10 percent (see Solar Prices Set in Germany).

Spain also proved to be a gold mine – but that was in 2008. The country has dramatically cut its feed-in tariff program, leaving solar panels makers eyeing Greece, Italy and the United States as the next hot markets.

Bradford, along with GTM Research’s senior analyst Shyam Mehta laid out the global solar market landscape and players at the conference. Here are the highlights:

The United States “may be the greatest global hope for the PV industry,” Bradford said. The series of federal tax breaks and grants, along with many state-centric incentive programs, have made the country a magnet for equipment makers in Europe and Asia.

Bradford cited a study by the National Renewable Energy Lab, which showed that nearly half of the 1,000 cities in the country could produce solar energy at the same cost as conventional power by 2015, if you factor in the 30 percent federal investment tax credit and the projected declines of solar panel prices.

Companies that can make solar energy equipment cheaply will have a better chance to stay in the market, of course, Mehta said. Many thin-film solar producers make that low-cost claim, but only First Solar has delivered in volumes.

Solar panel prices have declined around 5 percent per year. The average selling price for crystalline silicon panels, the most common panels found on the market today, are expected to reach a little over $2 per watt in 2010 $3.40 in 2008. The average selling price for thin-film panels, including all types of technologies, is expected to reach between $1.5 and $2 per watt in 2010 from $2.50 per watt in 2008.

The costs of buying and installing the components that go into a solar energy system have come down quicker than the prices for the solar panels in the last four to five years, Bradford said. The growth of large-scale installations on the ground (as opposed to rooftop systems) has contributed to the decline.

There are a growing number of companies that only recently began to produce amorphous-silicon panels. The challenges for this sector include the high upfront capital costs and low efficiencies – the rate at which the panels can convert sunlight into electricity, Mehta noted. Driving down the manufacturing costs will be key for these companies when their panels can’t be as efficient as other types of thin-film or crystalline silicon panels.

The polysilicon shortage is no longer a problem, Bradford said. There are no supply problems for companies making thin-film solar panels, which don’t use a lot of silicon or alternative materials for converting sunlight into electricity. 

 

Author: U. Wang

Pentagon Spends Economic Stimulus to Develop Alternative Fuels and Save Energy

14/04/2009

The US Department of Defense is the largest consumer of energy in the United States spending $18 billion a year.  Fueling jet engines and running generators at operating bases use up much of the Pentagon’s fuel.

FUENTE – Redgreenandblue – 13/04/09

Coupled with economics, dwindling natural resources, and the dangers of transporting fuel in war zones (half of all US casualties in Iraq are from attacks on fuel carrying convoys), the military plans to spend economic stimulus money on alternative fuels and energy conservation.

Traditionally, the Department of Defense has cared little about saving money. The recent shift towards alternative fuels as a military priority is an effort to reduce casualties rather than save natural resources or funds. “The honest-to-God truth, the most compelling reason to do it is it saves lives,” said Brigadier General Steven Anderson, director of operations and logistics for the Army.  Saving money, preserving dwindling natural resources and lessening U.S. dependence on foreign sources are lesser priorities of the alternative fuels and energy conservation initiatives.

The Iraq and Afghanistan Wars have set the record for the most fuel consumption of any war in US history.  Since the War on Terror began in 2001, the amount of oil consumption has increased from 50 million gallons to 500 million gallons a year at bases.  Using Economic Stimulus Package money, the Pentagon has several alternative fuels and energy saving projects planned.

Tactical Garbage to Energy Refinery:  Deployed in the summer of 2008, the Army tried mobile unit prototypes that converted field waste (paper, plastic, cardboard and food slop) into biofuel using an anaerobic microbial process. The garbage-based biofuel was used to power a 60-kilowatt generator. Unfortunately, the prototypes broke down and couldn’t handle the ton of trash a day a base creates.  $7.5 million of the stimulus money will be used to create a more rugged model.

Lightweight, Flexible Photovoltaic Mats:  $15 million of the stimulus money will be used by the military to develop solar mats that can be rolled up and transported easily to forward bases.  “We think $15 million will let us build, develop and test one of these roll-out mats,” said Alan R. Shaffer, director of defense research and engineering at the Pentagon.

Algae into Jet Propulsion Fuel 8:  $6 million will go towards the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency for converting algae into jet fuel for the Navy and Air Force.

Hybrid Tactical Vehicles:  $27 million will fund the development of a hybrid engine the Army can use in tactical vehicles.

Highly Efficient Portable Fuel Cells:  In order to reduce the battery load infantry soldiers must carry, $2 million will be dedicated for the development of fuel cell technology.

Spray-Foam Tents:  The $29 million expansion of this energy conservation program will insulate tents reducing the amount of fuel needed for heating and cooling. The current program saves the Army $2 million per day.

I’m all for the Pentagon using stimulus money for alternative fuels and energy saving initiatives, and I hope the projects result in information that will be shared with the private sector and not classified.  However, no matter how much money the military spends to be green, the greatest good they can do for the environment and human rights is to end the conflict in the Middle East.

 

Author: J. Lance

It’s Clean, It’s Green, and its Right Now

14/04/2009

As a general rule, the most successful man in life is the man who has the best information

FUENTE – Investor Ideas – 13/04/09

“Finding the new driver of our economy is going to be critical. There’s no better driver that pervades all aspects of our economy than a new energy economy. … That’s going to be my No. 1 priority when I get into office.” President Obama

President Obama and his administration have made policies that are revolutionary in their undertaking. This administration is about to implement a nation wide stimulus resulting in a new revitalized economy based on clean energy.

“A new energy economy is going to be part of what creates the millions of new jobs that we need,” President Obama.

With his landslide election he has proven to have plenty of support for the realization of this energy revolution. The election proved that the majority of US Citizens have become tired of depending on foreigners for their energy needs, are green minded, ecologically conscious and have wholeheartedly given their support to clean energy technology.

The Plan

The U.S.’s $790 billion economic stimulus plan includes more than $5 billion in loans, grants, and tax credits to help stimulate the development of large-scale domestic production of advanced, lithium-ion batteries for hybrid and electric cars. The stimulus plan recently passed by Congress includes $16.8 billion to promote energy efficiency and the development of renewable energy. A large portion will go toward developing a domestic battery industry including $2 billion in grants for manufacturing advanced batteries and up to $2.4 billion in tax credits for building battery plants. Another bonus included is a $7,500 tax credit for people who purchase plug-in hybrid cars, which will indirectly boost lithium-ion battery production.

“New plug-in hybrids roll off our assembly lines, but they will run on batteries made in Korea. Well I do not accept a future where the jobs and industries of tomorrow take root beyond our borders – and I know you don’t either. It is time for America to lead again.” President Obama

Lithium battery technology is absolutely critical to President Obama’s energy plan. Lithium-ion is the leading battery technology and a hugely important first step towards transforming electric cars from a niche curiosity into a major clean energy revolution for the transportation sector.

Lithium batteries could be part of the answer to increasingly expensive oil, energy dependence on foreign suppliers and global warming. Now, with the big push to renewable energy and far less reliance on fossil fuels, a market is starting to develop in the United States for more advanced batteries. This, combined with loan guarantees, will act as an incentive that could very well jumpstart the advanced battery industry in the US.

http://arstechnica.com/science/news/2009/03/obama-commits-to-plugin-hybrids-battery-manufacturing.ars

Lithium-ion batteries are already used in nearly every type of portable electronic device and are already in proto types destined for production electric vehicles, such as the Tesla S. Other uses for lithium compounds include: aerospace alloys, ceramics, glass, lubricants, refrigeration, pharmaceuticals, greases, silver solder, textiles, propellants and in the production of synthetic rubber.

In 2006, according to the USGS, the United States was the leading consumer of lithium minerals and compounds and the leading producer of value-added lithium materials.

According to the USGS, overall demand for lithium is growing at a rate of 4-5% per year

Demand for lithium destined for battery usage is predicted to grow by 20% per year

Over 60% of mobile phones and 90% of laptop computers feature Lithium Ion batteries

The worldwide market for rechargeable lithium batteries is estimated to be worth over $4 billion/year

The automotive market alone is projected to reach $337 million in 2012, and $1.6 billion in 2015

If the promise by President Obama that one million American made hybrid vehicles will be on American roads by 2015 is to be met then there is no substitute for lithium based battery technology at this stage of the energy revolution.

“Lithium ion batteries are anticipated to replace gasoline as the principal source of energy in future cars and military vehicles.” The National Alliance for Advanced Transportation Battery Cell Manufacture

Other Auto Industry Facts include:

GM announced it would build a plant to manufacture lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries for the Chevy Volt scheduled to debut in 2011.

BMW plans to launch its remodeled Li-ion battery-powered 750i luxury sedan to the Japanese in 2010. This year, the company is producing 500 all-electric MINI Es, also with Li-ion batteries, for leasing in select cities.

Toyota hopes to launch plug-in hybrid Priuses with Li-ion batteries later this year.

Mercedes-Benz anticipates launching its S400 Blue HYBRID with a Li-ion battery next year.

The Ford Escape plug-in hybrid with the same power technology is slated for 2012.

Also the Tesla Roadster, Chyrsler EcoVoyager, Dodge ZEO, Jeep Renegade and the Saturn Flextreme are all slated for li-ion batteries.

Nissan will use Li-ion batteries for the 65,000 hybrids they hope to manufacture by 2010.

Mitsubishi Motors Corp. anticipates that demand will increase fivefold to meet the needs of electric vehicles.

If the US does not develop a lithium-ion battery manufacturing sector at home it may very well be shut out of the electric car business – he who makes the batteries will also make the cars.

Lithium demand will skyrocket as more and more hybrids roll down the assembly line. Current processing potential is limited, making it vulnerable to market disruption. And limited supplies could mean big profits for lithium miners and processors.

It’s extremely hard to believe that any politician or lobbyist would consider sourcing the needed supplies for Obama’s Energy Revolution from offshore suppliers and risk the same foreign dependence as they have today with oil. Politicians will fight tooth and nail to avoid importing lithium or lithium-ion batteries.

So where will America’s much needed lithium come from?

Clayton Valley – The US Saudi Arabia of Lithium

Clayton Valley is located in the center of Esmeralda County Nevada approximately 70k west of Goldfield and approximately 88k southwest of Tonopah the closest support center. Access to the valley is by paved road.

The valley is a broad open playa surrounded by rolling to rugged hills and ranges. Temperatures range from 35 degrees (95f) in August to average lows of -8 (17.5f) in December. Precipitation average is 11.2cm with 6.9cm of snowfall. Annual evaporation exceeds 127cm.

Clayton Valley contains the only operating lithium mine in the US and the only lithium brine operation in the US.

Lithium rich brines and evaporities have been accumulating in the Clayton Valley for at least 33,000 years. These brines have the highest lithium content of any brines tested by the USGS in the southwestern US.

Some of the volcanics to the east of Clayton Valley contain significantly higher levels of lithium than normal (Replenishment of brines comes from surrounding Rhyolite, which are the most lithium rich in the world. Brines in the area have concentrations as high as 1000 ppm.) and it is believed that as they weathered they provided the lithium in ground water that moved down to the low point in the system (and continues to do so recharging the brines) which is Clayton Valley. Other lithium sources such as area hot springs and other volcanics may also contribute.

Lithium exists in Clayton Valley in two modes: in solution within a brine and multiple solid phases such as hectorite (a clay mineral) and halite (evaporite salts). The brine is what has been mined in the valley since 1967 but solid phases are also important because these formations were critical to the development of the brines currently being mined. The lithium in solid phases is also important because it might be economically recovered.

The economics of obtaining lithium carbonate from brine are so favorable that most hard rock production has been priced out of the market. Lithium brines are currently the only lithium source that can support mining without significant other credits from tantalum, niobium, tin etc., (low manganese content within Nevada’s Clayton Valley brines significantly reduces recovery costs, unlike Chile’s high manganese content brine deposits). Lithium brine resources are now the preferred method of lithium recovery.

Nevada brines are pumped from the ground and progress through a series of evaporation ponds. Over the course of 12 to 18 months, concentration of the brine increases to 6,000 parts per million (ppm) lithium through solar evaporation. When the lithium chloride reaches optimum concentration, the liquid is pumped to a recovery plant and treated with soda ash, precipitating lithium carbonate. The carbonate is then removed through filtration, dried, and shipped.

Lithium is usually distributed in a chemical form such as lithium carbonate (Li2CO3) and production figures are often quoted in lithium carbonate equivalent quantities. By weight approximately 18.8% of lithium carbonate is lithium. Therefore 1kg of lithium is the equivalent of 5.3 kg of lithium carbonate.

The lowest cost lithium producers will be tomorrow’s major lithium producers. US based lithium producers and US based lithium product manufacturers will have a huge advantage over their competition in other countries because of Obama’s Clean Green Energy Revolution. The stimulus package and the desire to have independence from foreign supplied energy makes it a foregone conclusion.

Rodinia Minerals RM.tsx-v

Estimates of the lithium endowment of Clayton Valley suggest that 2 – 22 million tones of lithium were liberated into the water system of Clayton Valley. Only a fraction of this is currently accounted for in the total production and resources at the Silver Peak Lithium Operations mine.

Rodinia Minerals RM.tsx-v, http://www.rodiniaminerals.com is trying to quickly position itself as a Clayton Valley Nevada based lithium brine miner to support the growing demand for lithium based battery production in the USA.

Rodinia’s +50,000 acres of 100% owned claims are close to major support centers and a local trained workforce. Work can be carried out all year round. Nevada has a long mining history.

The exploration of Clayton Valley will be made much easier by the fact that the sources, transportation and the traps where the brine collects are all near the surface.

This rarely happens and gives Rodinia a very strong exploration advantage that significantly sets them apart from most mineral deposits and exploration models.

 

Author: R. Mills