Tikkun Olam תיקון עולם‎ and Technion : JEWS IN SPACE

February 20, 2011

The Technion grad is making strides to advance Canada’s greater adoption of “Mild Hybrid”, “Hybrid”, and “Electric Cars”, that might soon utilize his “IEP” (Integrated Electric Pump), as well as the work being done by the company Better Place in Israel. Technion alumnus Shai Agassi is the founder and chief executive of Better Place, the leading electric vehicle services provider. Agassi and his company have been focused on one of this century’s biggest challenges: moving the world from oil-based to sustainable transportation. The result of the work completed by Better Place so far is an infrastructure and intelligent network, delivering a range of services to drivers, enabling widespread adoption of electric vehicles, and optimizing energy use.

A glimpse into their accomplishments can be seen in the video.

In an interactive discussion, titled Batteries Not Included 2, keynote speaker will be Dr. Victor Chernov. A graduate from the Faculty of Aerospace Engineering at Technion, his work has focused on the rheology of gel fuels. Dr. Chernov, presently a Lyon Sachs post-doctoral fellow in the Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering at the University of Toronto, investigates the creation and behaviour of soot in hydrocarbon-air flames.

With the human race continuing to push the boundaries on how far we can travel through space, rocket and jet propulsion is a fascinating and complex field that is based on simple, intuitive principles.

Dr. Chernov will discuss the basic physics and the principles (we promise – no equations!) behind modern, state-of-the-art aviation and space propulsion. Additionally, it will be shown how these principles are taken to the edge at the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology in several ground-breaking works of water ram-jets, the aforementioned gel fuels for rocket propulsion and more.

China Said to Widen Its Embargo of Minerals to the United States

October 20, 2010

Doesn’t seem like Obama has impressed the Chinese at all when he bowed to the Japanese Emperor to show he doesn’t only bow to the Saudis.  Another sign of the worst foreign policy in history.  Show weakness… and China does this to you.   China is going to have us by the balls with this if we leave Afghanistan like we did in Iraq. these minerals just showed up in our war zone a few months ago… so what appeared to be just about of goat lovers and rocks is the future of green tech if we let Afghanistan go the way of Bolivia…

The signals of a tougher Chinese trade stance come after American trade officials announced on Friday that they would investigate whether China was violating World Trade Organization rules by subsidizing its clean energy exports and limiting clean energy imports. The inquiry includes whether China’s steady reductions in rare earth export quotas since 2005, along with steep export taxes on rare earths, are illegal attempts to force multinational companies to produce more of their high-technology goods in China.

REE, used in fiber-optic telecom cables, military gear, computers and other technologies, aren’t actually as uncommon as the name implies. Some of them are about as abundant as industrial metals like nickel, copper, zinc and lead. For comparison, the two least abundant REE (thulium and lutetium) are almost 200 times more common than gold. But the problem is it’s rare for these metals to become concentrated in deposits that are easy to tap, and as a result, most of the world’s supply comes from just a few sites.

China, which has been blocking shipments of crucial minerals to Japan for the last month, has now quietly halted shipments of those materials to the United States and Europe, three industry officials said on Tuesday.

Rare Earth Elements: The World Is Rapidly Running Out And China Has Most Of The Remaining Supply

August 3, 2010

Most people have no idea what rare earth elements are, but a wide array of the technologies that we use every single day are dependent on them. Without rare earth elements, we would have no hybrid car batteries, flat screen televisions, cell phones or iPods. Without rare earth elements, the entire “green economy” would not be able to function, because almost all emerging green technologies use them. Not only that, but rare earth elements are used by the U.S. military in radar systems, missile-guidance systems, satellites and aircraft electronics. Without rare earth elements, the U.S. military (and militaries all over the globe) would not be able to function. There are 17 key rare earth elements that we rely on every day. But there is a huge problem. China owns more than 85 percent of the known global reserves of rare earth elements. Right now, the rest of the world is absolutely dependent on China’s exports of these metals. Without these Chinese exports, the western world would quickly run out of these precious resources. But in just a few years, the rapidly expanding Chinese economy will gobble up the entire domestic production of Chinese rare earth elements. So what will the rest of the world do at that point?
This is a major problem that you aren’t hearing a lot about in the mainstream news.
But analysts are now predicting that by 2012 this could be a tremendous crisis.
So exactly what are rare earth elements?
Well, rare earth elements are a group of 17 relatively rare chemical elements that you can find on the periodic table. These rare metals have names you may not be familiar with such as lanthanum, cerium, tantalum, neodymium and europium. As mentioned above, they are used in products that we use every day such as laptop computers, iPhones, magnets, catalytic converters, night vision goggles and wind turbines. These metals are not well known, but they are absolutely crucial to our way of life.
So what is going to happen when we start running out of them?
According to The Independent, the move towards “green technology” will cause a dramatic increase in demand for rare earth metals in the years ahead. In fact, it is being projected that the world will need 200,000 tons of rare earth elements by the year 2014.
But analysts fear that China may drop exports of rare earth elements to exactly zero tons by 2012.
Can anyone else see a problem forming?
Last summer, one leaked report indicated that Chinese authorities were already considering a complete export ban of the most critical of the rare earth elements.
But while we may speculate when the complete ban is coming, the truth is that China has already moved to dramatically cut back exports of the metals.
China recently announced that they have cut export quotas for rare earth elements by 72 percent for the second half of 2010. The U.S. government reacted quite angrily to this news and warned that this could potentially cause a trade war.
TechNewsDaily recently quoted W. David Menzie, chief of the international minerals section at the U.S. Geological Survey, regarding the coming shortage of rare earth elements….
“Countries and companies that have or plan to develop industries that need rare earth minerals to make products are concerned about China’s growing consumption, which they fear will eliminate China’s exports of rare earths.”
So what needs to be done?
Well, nations and corporations that use rare earth elements need to start weaning themselves off the supply coming from China.
But there is a huge problem.
That cannot be done overnight.
According to a recent report by the U.S. Government Accountability Office, building an independent U.S. supply chain for rare earth elements could take up to 15 years.
So what in the world will we do until then?
That is a very good question.
The truth is that those running the U.S. government are just not very good at thinking strategically.
The U.S. Government Accountability Office report mentioned above lists Mountain Pass, California as perhaps the largest non-Chinese rare earth deposit in the world.
But it almost fell into Chinese hands unnoticed.
You see, the mine in Mountain Pass is owned by Unocal, and in 2005 a Chinese bid for Unocal almost succeeded.
Yes, the Chinese were trying to strengthen their monopoly on rare earth elements and it almost worked.
Not that they don’t have the rest of the world in a very difficult situation already.
The truth is that if China cut off the export of all rare earth elements to the rest of the world tomorrow, it would throw the global economy into absolute chaos.
That is a lot of power for China to have.
Let’s just hope they don’t use it any time soon.

uh oh… one of those uh huh moments. we need to look at all these green technologies and ask ourselves how sustainable are they really?

Potato Batteries May Power The Future

June 22, 2010

Researchers in Israel have discovered that boiled potatoes can do more than power the body. It can also power a light switch.
According to a press release (PDF format) from Yissum Research Development Company Ltd., the technology transfer arm of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, the company has produced a new solid organic electric battery based on treated potatoes.
The press release stated that researchers found out enhancing the salt bridge capability of treated potato tubers can generate electricity. The easy to use power source is being touted as being able to improve the quality of life of 1.6 billion people who currently lack access to electrical infrastructure.
“The ability to provide electrical power with such simple and natural means could benefit millions of people in the developing world, literally bringing light and telecommunications to their life in areas currently lacking electrical infrastructure,” Yissum CEO Yaacov Michlin stated in the release.
Scientists discovered that boiling a potato prior to using it in electrolysis increases electric power up to 10 fold over an unboiled potato and lets the battery last for days and possibly weeks. The battery is constructed using zinc and copper electrodes and a slice of potato.
They claim that cost analysis shows the treated battery could generate electricity five to 50 folds cheaper than 1.5 volt D cells. It also stated that the power would be 6 times more economical than kerosene lamps.
The findings were published in the June issue of the Journal of Renewable and Sustainable Energy and this week’s Research Highlights section of Nature.
Miniscience.com showed how a battery can be made by a potato. According to the website, batteries generate electricity through a chemical reaction between copper and zinc electrodes as the needed electrodes and a potato as the electrolyte.
The water-soluble chemicals cause a chemical reaction with one or both of the electrodes.
The catch, stated Miniscience.com, is making a battery that can continue to produce more electricity for a longer period of time. A regular potato would create about 1 to 1.5 volts, and usually does not create enough current to turn on a small light.
The website Hothardware.com suggests that the time is right to replace traditional batteries, saying that “the fact that we’re still dealing with lead-acid batteries is sort of a baffling thing to wrap one’s mind around.”
“We won’t get our hopes up too high until fuel cells become the viable alternative that we have been told that they are, but we strangely have more faith in a vegetable than a science lab to revolutionize the battery,” the website stated.

via myfoxla.com

 in the mean time I’m just glad they found Lithium in Afghanistan so we don’t have to count on reserves in Bolivia… near where Potatoes and other tubers originally came from

U.S. Discovers Vast Riches of Minerals in Afghanistan

June 14, 2010
Guess what America found in Afghanistan?  your next laptop and car.  too bad our government isn’t as bad as the Anti-War Left says we are… if we really had occupying tendencies then we would not of let the rest of the world outbid us for oil fields in Iraq that we let the Iraqis put on the market autonomously.  now apparently American blood will also spill in the Afghan… without any financial gain… and now apparently we just found one.  

The previous leftist claim was that the Afghan territory was of use for the pipeline between Iran, Turkey and Russia.  That never held water because there were other routes.

Now apparently we have something to lose.  I have no doubt that those against the war will attempt to spin this.

The United States has discovered nearly $1 trillion in untapped mineral deposits in Afghanistan, far beyond any previously known reserves and enough to fundamentally alter the Afghan economy and perhaps the Afghan war itself, according to senior American government officials.

This is only good news for the U.S. if America wants to occupy the Afghan long term. The alternative Lithium mining for us is Bolivia which is also an unstable Nation. It’s good news for those that would like to fight the opium trade, but the oil in Iraq for example was given in bid and lost to America by non American companies because the U.S. does not force business over the countries they occupy and for the most part allows the locals to get the best price for their resources

The previously unknown deposits — including huge veins of iron, copper, cobalt, gold and critical industrial metals like lithium — are so big and include so many minerals that are essential to modern industry that Afghanistan could eventually be transformed into one of the most important mining centers in the world, the United States officials believe.
An internal Pentagon memo, for example, states that Afghanistan could become the “Saudi Arabia of lithium,” a key raw material in the manufacture of batteries for laptops and Blackberries.
The vast scale of Afghanistan’s mineral wealth was discovered by a small team of Pentagon officials and American geologists. The Afghan government and President Hamid Karzai were recently briefed, American officials said.
While it could take many years to develop a mining industry, the potential is so great that officials and executives in the industry believe it could attract heavy investment even before mines are profitable, providing the possibility of jobs that could distract from generations of war.
“There is stunning potential here,” Gen. David H. Petraeus, commander of the United States Central Command, said in an interview on Saturday. “There are a lot of ifs, of course, but I think potentially it is hugely significant.”
The value of the newly discovered mineral deposits dwarfs the size of Afghanistan’s existing war-bedraggled economy, which is based largely on opium production and narcotics trafficking as well as aid from the United States and other industrialized countries. Afghanistan’s gross domestic product is only about $12 billion.
“This will become the backbone of the Afghan economy,” said Jalil Jumriany, an adviser to the Afghan minister of mines.
American and Afghan officials agreed to discuss the mineral discoveries at a difficult moment in the war in Afghanistan. The American-led offensive in Marja in southern Afghanistan has achieved only limited gains. Meanwhile, charges of corruption and favoritism continue to plague the Karzai government, and Mr. Karzai seems increasingly embittered toward the White House.
So the Obama administration is hungry for some positive news to come out of Afghanistan. Yet the American officials also recognize that the mineral discoveries will almost certainly have a double-edged impact.
Instead of bringing peace, the newfound mineral wealth could lead the Taliban to battle even more fiercely to regain control of the country.
The corruption that is already rampant in the Karzai government could also be amplified by the new wealth, particularly if a handful of well-connected oligarchs, some with personal ties to the president, gain control of the resources. Just last year, Afghanistan’s minister of mines was accused by American officials of accepting a $30 million bribe to award China the rights to develop its copper mine. The minister has since been replaced.
Endless fights could erupt between the central government in Kabul and provincial and tribal leaders in mineral-rich districts. Afghanistan has a national mining law, written with the help of advisers from the World Bank, but it has never faced a serious challenge.
“No one has tested that law; no one knows how it will stand up in a fight between the central government and the provinces,” observed Paul A. Brinkley, undersecretary of defense and leader of the Pentagon team that discovered the deposits.
At the same time, American officials fear resource-hungry China will try to dominate the development of Afghanistan’s mineral wealth, which could upset the United States, given its heavy investment in the region. After winning the bid for its Aynak copper mine in Logar Province, China clearly wants more, American officials said.
Another complication is that because Afghanistan has never had much heavy industry before, it has little or no history of environmental protection either. “The big question is, can this be developed in a responsible way, in a way that is environmentally and socially responsible?” Mr. Brinkley said. “No one knows how this will work.”

If the United States people really were evil and as bad as the Anti-war people claim then this would be very good news. Sadly… as we have learned watching the similarity between Bush and Obama in theory, the Anti War people are wrong. It would be nice to see America running our Chevy Volts on Afghan Lithium… but the real good news would be a local U.S. source of Lithium