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Big Tech Isn’t As Clean As You Think

By Irina Slav - Jan 11, 2021, 3:00 PM CST

They are among the biggest—and most generous—backers of the renewable energy shift. They are advertising themselves as environmentally responsible companies that source their raw materials from ethical locations and cutting the offering of products that consumers don't use to reduce packaging-related emissions. And they are the driver behind a global electronic waste crisis. Meet Big Tech. Last year, Apple said its iPhone 12 will sell without a charging adapter, like the latest Apple Watches, to reduce the amount of electronic waste its products generate.

"There are also over 2 billion Apple power adapters out there in the world, and that's not counting the billions of third-party adapters. We're removing these items from the iPhone box, which reduces carbon emissions and avoids the mining and use of precious materials," Wired quoted Apple's VP of environment, policy, and social initiatives, Lisa Jackson.

Yet it's not the chargers that are the big problem, according to e-waste experts. Last year, the world generated a record amount of e-waste, topping 53.6 million metric tons, E-Waste Monitor said in its latest report. This amount represented a 21-percent increase over five years. And e-waste will continue growing, the report warned. It could reach 74 million metric tons by 2030.

Recycling rates, meanwhile, are meager. Last year, they stood at less than 20 percent of the total e-waste the world generated. Unless something changes very quickly and radically, this rate is unlikely to change much in the future, either.

"We don't have the technology to take a truck full of old iPhones, molt them down, grind them up and make new iPhones out of them. It's flat out physically impossible," the chief executive of repairs hub iFixit, Kyle Wiens, told CNBC's Dain Evans recently.

"Smartphones and tablets are challenging," according to John Shegerian, CEO of Electronic Recyclers International, who also spoke to CNBC's Wiens. "Many of them are no longer made with screws; they're made with glue. Glue makes things very hard to take apart and recover materials from because it degrades the value of the commodity product itself."

People are increasingly reliant on smartphones and other consumer electronics, and they don't last particularly long: the average productive life of a smartphone was about 24 months in 2018. This was becoming a problem for phonemakers: an average life of 24 months was two months longer than people used to keep their phones back in 2016, and this was hitting profits. Now, CNBC's Wiens noted in his article on e-waste, smartphones' lives are likely to start shrinking again as consumers shift to 5G devices.

A smartphone contains a host of precious metals and rare earths—not to mention the oil-sources plastic these metals and rare earths are encased in—and these have a substantial carbon footprint. Called invisible waste, the dirty trail of an average smartphone is about 86 kilos while that of a laptop is 1,200 kilos, according to Swedish waste management and recycling organization Avfall Sverige.

"Because the waste from manufacturing is not visible, consumers have trouble really understanding the full environmental impact the product has," the organization noted in its report. "It must be easier for consumers to take responsibility for their purchases. The invisible waste must therefore be made visible and knowledge about it must increase so we can reduce the quantities of waste over time."

Not everything is so gloomy, to be fair. A study published recently in the Journal of Industrial Ecology and cited by Yale Environment 360, reports that the amount of e-waste generated in the United States had fallen by 10 percent since 2015. However, this was not thanks to more responsible manufacturers or consumers but because of the replacement of bulky items such as CRT monitors with laptops and because of the multifunctionality of most devices.

The solution seems simple: Big Tech could simply start making more durable phones instead of launching a new model every 12 months. But this would be a problem for Big Tech's profits, which apparently depend heavily on the regular and frequent release of new products, as suggested by the trends from the last five years mentioned above.

Throwing away smartphones without recycling them meant throwing away materials worth $57 billion, according to E-Waste Monitor, and the report noted this was a conservative estimate. In other words, recycling smartphones and other consumer electronics could ultimately save tens of billions of dollars on top of the savings in manufacturing-related emissions.

Even better, waste could be a resource, according to the author of the e-waste shrinkage study, Shahana Althaf, a postdoctoral associate at the Yale Center for Industrial Ecology. Recycling can recover most of the precious and rare metals used in smartphones and other devices, reducing reliance on imported raw materials, which some have seen as a threat to national security that needs to be handled soon.

By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com

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Here is an earlier THREAD pertaining to MINERALS & MINING & INDUSTRIAL ECOLOGY...

https://community.oilprice.com/topic/22083-researchers-are-harvesting-precious-metals-from-industrial-waste/

On the THREAD, EnviroLeach Technologies   EVLLF on the U.S. exchange.  is mentioned

EnviroLeach is an industrial technology company focused on precious metals extraction formulas and technologies.

Our unique patented and proven technology offers a cost-effective, eco-friendly and domestic alternative to the use of cyanide and smelters for the recovery of gold from E-Waste and conventional gold ores and concentrates.

Silver and Health are mentioned

Lithium is mentioned

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Can Sea Water Batteries Solve Our Energy Storage Problem?

By Irina Slav - Jan 12, 2021, 1:00 PM CST

https://oilprice.com/Energy/Energy-General/Can-Sea-Water-Batteries-Solve-Our-Energy-Storage-Problem.html

The stakes are rising with each passing day for energy storage. The world needs it, and it needs it cheaply and urgently, given all the plans in Europe, Asia, and the United States to considerably boost the amount of renewable energy in the power generation mix. As a result, breakthroughs in energy storage tech have become more or less a regular occurrence. The latest of these breakthroughs promises to solve the two challenges of energy storage: price and capacity. 

It does that by using seawater for a battery's electrolytes instead of solvents, which are much more expensive but also less safe than water. 

"The world's energy needs are increasing, but the development of next-generation electrochemical energy storage systems with high energy density and long cycling life remains technically challenging," says Xhenxing Feng, a chemical engineer from Oregon State University, which published the research, as quoted by Science Daily.

 "Aqueous batteries, which use water-based conducting solutions as the electrolytes, are an emerging and much safer alternative to lithium-ion batteries. But the energy density of aqueous systems has been comparatively low, and also the water will react with the lithium, which has further hindered aqueous batteries' widespread use."

To solve the energy density challenge, the researchers made a whole new nanostructured alloy for the anode of their aqueous battery. The anode combines manganese, zinc, and other metals. The zinc boosted the battery's energy density because it could transfer twice as many charges as lithium, according to Feng. The other elements of the anode increased the battery's safety by preventing the formation of dendrites that tend to form in overcharged lithium-ion batteries, sometimes resulting in spontaneous combustion.

Scientists in Germany are also working on aqueous batteries, as labs around the world push the boundary beyond lithium ions. This team, however, focused on zinc-air batteries, which have a lot of advantages such as energy density and stability but are, unfortunately, non-rechargeable. 

Or at least they weren't rechargeable until now.

Working with scientists from China and the United States, the researchers from the Westphalian Wilhelms University in Münster developed a new electrolyte for a zinc-air battery that is based on seawater, replacing the alkaline solutions that are typically used. They also introduced an anode based on a zinc salt that made the battery not just rechargeable, but quite durable, too, potentially able to compete with lithium-ion battery chemistry.

Both batteries would need a lot more work before they get out of the lab and reach the market. So at least for now, lithium-ion technology's dominance is ensured. But it may not be ensured for long if efforts persist in finding safer and, perhaps more importantly, cheaper alternatives.

The United States alone plans to boost its energy storage capacity by as much as 525 percent by 2025. Storage is already being added at a fast rate: the amount set up in the third quarter of 2020 was 240 percent higher than the amount set up in the second quarter, all despite the raging pandemic.

At the same time, current storage capacity is very far from sufficient to power the grid for more than an hour or two, which makes it fit for a replacement of peaker plants but not much else, especially the complete replacement of fossil fuels with solar and wind. For that, the grid would need enough stored electricity to last for many hours in case weather patterns interfere with power generation at solar and wind farms, which is a frequent occurrence.

Utility-scale storage and EV batteries will seal the fate of the renewable revolution pretty much single-handedly. Falling costs of solar and wind technology are always good news, but without storage, these falling costs are not really relevant for the long-term.

By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com

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Sharyl Attkisson is one of the few journalists with true integrity.  If you don't know her history and how she stood firm for truth in reporting at the expense of losing her well paid job, then you have not been paying attention.
 
In the following 9 minute report, Sharyl brings out some alarming facts.  Microsoft and Bill Gates are evil as they come (as is all the Big Tech companies).  Don't believe any "altruistic" thing which Bill Gates says...he is not here to benefit the public good.  In the following story, find out how a man went to prison for viably recycling E-Waste.
 

E-Waste | Full Measure

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Max Keiser gives his price predictions for gold, silver and bitcoin in 2021.  He was spot-on for 2020.

44 minutes

 

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Europe’s Largest Oil Producer Bets Big On Deep-Sea Mining

By Felicity Bradstock - Jan 13, 2021, 3:00 PM CST

https://oilprice.com/Energy/Energy-General/Europes-Largest-Oil-Producer-Bets-Big-On-Deep-Sea-Mining.html

In a shift away from fossil fuels, Norway is planning to deep dive for metals as part of its plan for a greener future.  Having gained most of the country’s wealth from its successful oil industry, Norway is now looking to get ahead of the curve in metals by mining copper, zinc and other metals found on the seabed. 

The deep-sea mining project, expected to commence in late 2023, will see metals mined for use in electric vehicle batteries, wind turbines and solar farms. 

However, environmentalists worry that disturbing the seabed could wreak environmental havoc. Huge polymetallic nodules - manganese, nickel, copper and cobalt - on the seabed are attractive to those trying to adapt to new technologies and move away from traditional energies such as oil and coal. But ocean experts are concerned about the environmental impact of deep-sea mining as it has not been done before, and the potential repercussions are still unknown. 

Reducing worldwide reliance on fossil fuels will require alternatives to be developed. Ditching oil and gas would mean using billions of kilograms of metal to fuel wind turbines and electric car batteries. For example, a wind turbine requires around a metric tonne of copper to work. 

At present, many of these metals come from terrestrial mines, which has led to deforestation and water pollution. Mining from the sea-bed, around 3 kilometres underwater, could provide a less harmful extraction option as global demand for these metals increases.

While the UN’s International Seabed Authority (ISA), established in 1994, has deemed deep-sea resources “common heritage of mankind” in recent years it has allotted 30 exploration contracts across an area of 1.4 million square kilometres. These contracts have been delivered to both private companies and governments, with the aim of developing these metallic resources. 

In response to environmental concerns, the Norwegian government plans to carry out an environmental impact assessment, after which the matter will go to vote in parliament in 2023. 

Norway presents an exception to ISA regulations as its metals are not in international waters. According to recent studies, Norway’s waters contain large quantities of these valuable metals. Higher estimates suggest the Norwegian continental shelf could provide as much as 21.7 million tonnes of copper and 22.7 million tonnes of zinc; figures well over the world’s annual output. 

If estimates are correct, Norway could see an annual revenue of up to $20 billion in metal mining within the next 30 years. While the country’s oil and gas industries contributed $61 billion in revenue in 2019, this is not insignificant as Norway adapts to greener energy practices. 

This week, Oil and Energy Minister Tina Bru told Reuters “We are moving forward on this, and the momentum is high”, explaining “This is an industry with great potential.”.

Cyprus-based Seabird Exploration plans to develop a deep-sea mining subsidiary, to be registered with the Euronext Growth Oslo small-cap stock exchange this year. The company aims to use existing oil and gas sector techniques to extract metals from the seabed by the late 2020s. Nordic Mining is also expected to request mining licenses if the plans go ahead. 

Several other countries already hold contracts for seabed exploration including Germany, China, South Korea, Brazil, Russia, and Japan. And others are highly interested in getting involved as regulators call for greener energy practices. Some of the countries that have so far shown interest include Poland, India, France, the UK, Belgian, Singapore, and the Pacific islands of Kiribati, Cook Islands, Tonga, and Nauru. 

However, many of these countries must rely on the ISA to grant permissions for exploration following a full environmental impact assessment of the area in question. This could significantly delay hopes of mining, as well as hinder development plans if the assessment deems the potential impact too high. 

Following recent interest in metal extraction from the world’s seabeds by several countries across the globe, as well as the increase in contracts issued by the ISA, it seems inevitable that mining will go ahead. The question now is when will this mining take place and what the environmental impact of the extraction will be in practice as we move into a “greener future”. 

By Felicity Bradstock for Oilprice.com

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Related to the story above...

During the Cold War, there was the nuclear arms race. Today, there's a lesser known race that's taking us to the bottom of the ocean. We’ll tell you why we need the rare minerals that lie beneath, and the boost they provide for our technology and weapons.

Full Measure is a weekly Sunday news program focusing on investigative, original and accountability reporting. The host is Sharyl Attkisson, five-time Emmy Award winner and recipient of the Edward R. Murrow award for investigative reporting. She is backed by a team of award winning journalists.

(8 minutes)

 

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(edited)

Tech being clean is just another conspiracy. Like clean coal and clean nat gas. The cleanest thing we can do is drop demand and forget growth. Overpopulation is the cheapest lowest hanging fruit. All the clean talk is bs. The debate is what is cleaner, not clean. 
Data bases create as much carbon as the airline industry. Bitcoin which is one of humans more stupid products, like 120 GW per sec. 

Humans will never give up transportation, housing, work and all the bells and whistles so let’s not talk clean but common sense says do it cleaner and more efficient.

Edited by Boat

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13 hours ago, Boat said:

Overpopulation is the cheapest lowest hanging fruit.

"Overpopulation" is a myth.  This is a Eugenics carry-over agenda, and that is why Bill Gates has always mentioned "Population Control" and pushing the vaccine agenda  (He helped to sterilize many, many thousands with his vaccine push).  Heck, they were sterilzing Native American Indians up until the 1970's...I remember.   Do some research on the topic of "Overpopulation". 

I encourage you to watch "Why Big Oil Conquered the World" for this New Biden Agenda, this "Great Reset"..  If you watch "How Big Oil Conquered the World" you will discover how Big Oil intentionally destroyed Mass Transit and alternative fuels for automobiles, and how they manipulated the entire educational system and how Big Oil helped to install income tax, The Federal Reserve private banking structure, and how Big Oil brought about the medical system which is Pharma based, rather than healthy natural based.

https://www.corbettreport.com/bigoil/

 

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14 hours ago, Boat said:

 Overpopulation is the cheapest lowest hanging fruit. All the clean talk is bs. The debate is what is cleaner, not clean.

Ah yes, the do as I say, not as I do crowd.  I have noticed all of the eco's aren't exactly grabbing the lowest hanging fruit, but always demanding others commit hari cari instead of  themselves.  At least most of them have few to no children...  So, we will give them a 2/5 rotten tomato score.

IF they truly wanted to "save the planet" they would be all be signing up for work gangs where they 24/7/365 build greenhouses reducing human footprint per acre down to a tenth of what it is today. 

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(edited)

3 minute video - Many famous people are mentioned here...

The Rise of Eugenics - Why Big Oil Conquered The World

The Rise of Eugenics - Why Big Oil Conquered The World

Edited by Tom Nolan

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The Green New Deal will make these metals skyrocket in value - Gianni Kovacevic

The “future” is already happening now, and copper stands to benefit the most from the electrification of our economy, said Gianni Kovacevic, CEO of CopperBank.

 

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On 1/11/2021 at 5:26 PM, Tom Nolan said:

Big Tech Isn’t As Clean As You Think

By Irina Slav - Jan 11, 2021, 3:00 PM CST

They are among the biggest—and most generous—backers of the renewable energy shift. They are advertising themselves as environmentally responsible companies that source their raw materials from ethical locations and cutting the offering of products that consumers don't use to reduce packaging-related emissions. And they are the driver behind a global electronic waste crisis. Meet Big Tech. Last year, Apple said its iPhone 12 will sell without a charging adapter, like the latest Apple Watches, to reduce the amount of electronic waste its products generate.

"There are also over 2 billion Apple power adapters out there in the world, and that's not counting the billions of third-party adapters. We're removing these items from the iPhone box, which reduces carbon emissions and avoids the mining and use of precious materials," Wired quoted Apple's VP of environment, policy, and social initiatives, Lisa Jackson.

Yet it's not the chargers that are the big problem, according to e-waste experts. Last year, the world generated a record amount of e-waste, topping 53.6 million metric tons, E-Waste Monitor said in its latest report. This amount represented a 21-percent increase over five years. And e-waste will continue growing, the report warned. It could reach 74 million metric tons by 2030.

Recycling rates, meanwhile, are meager. Last year, they stood at less than 20 percent of the total e-waste the world generated. Unless something changes very quickly and radically, this rate is unlikely to change much in the future, either.

"We don't have the technology to take a truck full of old iPhones, molt them down, grind them up and make new iPhones out of them. It's flat out physically impossible," the chief executive of repairs hub iFixit, Kyle Wiens, told CNBC's Dain Evans recently.

"Smartphones and tablets are challenging," according to John Shegerian, CEO of Electronic Recyclers International, who also spoke to CNBC's Wiens. "Many of them are no longer made with screws; they're made with glue. Glue makes things very hard to take apart and recover materials from because it degrades the value of the commodity product itself."

People are increasingly reliant on smartphones and other consumer electronics, and they don't last particularly long: the average productive life of a smartphone was about 24 months in 2018. This was becoming a problem for phonemakers: an average life of 24 months was two months longer than people used to keep their phones back in 2016, and this was hitting profits. Now, CNBC's Wiens noted in his article on e-waste, smartphones' lives are likely to start shrinking again as consumers shift to 5G devices.

A smartphone contains a host of precious metals and rare earths—not to mention the oil-sources plastic these metals and rare earths are encased in—and these have a substantial carbon footprint. Called invisible waste, the dirty trail of an average smartphone is about 86 kilos while that of a laptop is 1,200 kilos, according to Swedish waste management and recycling organization Avfall Sverige.

"Because the waste from manufacturing is not visible, consumers have trouble really understanding the full environmental impact the product has," the organization noted in its report. "It must be easier for consumers to take responsibility for their purchases. The invisible waste must therefore be made visible and knowledge about it must increase so we can reduce the quantities of waste over time."

Not everything is so gloomy, to be fair. A study published recently in the Journal of Industrial Ecology and cited by Yale Environment 360, reports that the amount of e-waste generated in the United States had fallen by 10 percent since 2015. However, this was not thanks to more responsible manufacturers or consumers but because of the replacement of bulky items such as CRT monitors with laptops and because of the multifunctionality of most devices.

The solution seems simple: Big Tech could simply start making more durable phones instead of launching a new model every 12 months. But this would be a problem for Big Tech's profits, which apparently depend heavily on the regular and frequent release of new products, as suggested by the trends from the last five years mentioned above.

Throwing away smartphones without recycling them meant throwing away materials worth $57 billion, according to E-Waste Monitor, and the report noted this was a conservative estimate. In other words, recycling smartphones and other consumer electronics could ultimately save tens of billions of dollars on top of the savings in manufacturing-related emissions.

Even better, waste could be a resource, according to the author of the e-waste shrinkage study, Shahana Althaf, a postdoctoral associate at the Yale Center for Industrial Ecology. Recycling can recover most of the precious and rare metals used in smartphones and other devices, reducing reliance on imported raw materials, which some have seen as a threat to national security that needs to be handled soon.

By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com

cell phones are nothing compared to solar panels and wind turbines. Add in printers and all the other tech junk we now have. 

See https://www.prageru.com/video/whats-wrong-with-wind-and-solar/

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