The war about rare earth metals and minerals

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Downunder35m
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The war about rare earth metals and minerals

Post by Downunder35m »

Our industrial revolution was made possible thanks to fossil fuels and electricity.
And we kept going strong for a quite long time without ever looking back or looking forward to doing things differently.

Going green meant we started to invest more and more into what we now call renewable energies.
I would like to talk a bit about the conundrum with our approach...

Global warming isn't a new thing.
We knew from day one that covering our skies with clouds of toxic fumes will bite us back eventually.
This provided us with the "high chimney policies".
Simply build your chimney high enough to make sure the bad stuff is dispersed more widely and preferably makes if far away from your area before doing anything bad.
Once that no longer worked out because more more people got sick and also failed to accept how filthy THEIR eco systems came out we invented outsourcing.
Produce things cheaper in countries that care less about wages, worker's rights and conditions and of course their environment.
Today though we reached the point where it is hard to ignore how we managed to get such deep into the horse manure....
And in most countries there is an awareness about the causes, reasons and money made along the way.
Exploring the works of the old inventors, mixng them up with a modern touch.
To tinker and create means to be alive.
Bringing the long lost back means history comes alive again.
Downunder35m
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Re: The war about rare earth metals and minerals

Post by Downunder35m »

Going green or offering ANY change only works by accepting things.
Like accepting that despite higher investment costs using a cleaner production system that uses less energy will pay back over time.
People as well as a companies and governments rely on getting QUICK results.
With nothing quick about green energy in any way it was a hard thing to sell in those pioneering countries and still is in most other countries.
Especially in countries like the USA and China where preserving what you have was never anything to follow.

Today though we already face the downfall of going green and keep ignoring it.
Literally everything that allows us to utilize the sun and wind effectively comes at a very high price.
We can't do anything without rare earth metals and minerals.
And despite knowing only too well that China control over 90% of the market for all these rare things we need we keep investing billions into it.
WHY ?

If we check just how these super strong magnets are made that we use in our EV's, wind generators and now even off the grid solutions we can't help but wonder.
Dysprosium and Neodymium are the metals we can go without when it comes to the magnets we need.
Sourcing them means getting a few hundred grams per ton of material excavated.
From there it only gets worse.
Highly toxic chemical have to be used to separate the minerals from the rest and to refine the minerals to the point where you get the base metal out of them.
Since the only come together with radioactive material like Uranium it is wasteful on so many levels.
Similar story for what we need to create solar panels.
What those providing the technologies and promoting them - our leading energy providers and governments won't tell us how wasteful going green this way really is....

China keeps providing these rare metals and minerals to produce them at DUMPING prices.
Even with their filthy methods that ruin entire ecosystems over there they actually still provide them BELOW costs.
In recent years though we could see how this changed and their prices kept going up the same as our demand did.
It is now only a matter of a year or two until global demand outstrips what can provide with current capacity levels from their mines.
Right now we already use their old stockpiles....

So why do we ignore that producing a generator or solar panels does not just start with the metals but with how these metals are sourced and refined?
Probably because we already ignore that these resources ARE VERY LIMITED,which gave them the "rare" in their definition to begin with.
We have no established recycling systems in place.
Currently all those old solar panels and generators go to landfill.
The stuff around the, like housing and glass might be recycled but none of the rare and valuable materials.
Why?
Simply because recovering in order to use them again is about as toxic and wasteful as sourcing them.
Exploring the works of the old inventors, mixng them up with a modern touch.
To tinker and create means to be alive.
Bringing the long lost back means history comes alive again.
Downunder35m
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Re: The war about rare earth metals and minerals

Post by Downunder35m »

It is estimated that by 2030 we face a serious problem with our recycling of these rare metals, especially considering how we already struggle with just solar panels.
What makes this so hard to swallow is that we already know only too well that we are unable to keep going this route.
By 2050 and based on our current consumption, we will be out of these rare minerals and have to get creative on how to utilize those less productive mines.

Back in the 1800's there was the term of "control the electricity and you control the country".
Pioneers like Westinghouse created entire empires based on what they made by giving us electricity.
Later it was those providing us with fossil fuels and gas that allowed us to prosper while they shared the control and "license to print your own money" with the electricity giants.
And till today none of this really changed in any way....

If we look back on how innovative and creative we were when we kickstarted our industrial revolution we can't deny those claims that our technological evolution in many areas was and still is hindered and slowed down by the same forces.
We went from water wheels to steam engines but did not slow down in any way and shortly after steam was replaced by internal combustion.
And then NOTHING.
We had the electric motors, even great concepts on using them for all sorts of transport needs.
But fossil fuels and their engines were more convenient to use.
The total lack of any note worthy battery systems meant we ignored going electric from our early days onwards.
On the other hand it should have meant we keep the pace up and turn those flimsy internal combustion engines into something really usefull and efficient....
Nope....
Cheap fuel meant we had no need to change or improve anything, except the horse power output.


What makes all this almost funny is hot literal history keeps repeating itself without anyone daring to wake up.
We can ignore all the power and control games.
We can even ignore the insane profits made along the way in the name of going green.
But we can't keep ignoring the scam that is fueling it.
The war is already lost because we long know that what we do now is something we neither can sustain nor something we are willing to recycle.
We are literally riding a dead horse and refuse to see that we are going nowhere.
Exploring the works of the old inventors, mixng them up with a modern touch.
To tinker and create means to be alive.
Bringing the long lost back means history comes alive again.
Downunder35m
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Re: The war about rare earth metals and minerals

Post by Downunder35m »

So what comes after wind and solar power?
The real question should be what we do with all this crap once we moved on!

Already we have pioneers from the real world, not working for a company, that provide great alternatives to what we call electric motors.
Even school kids win $750000US science prices these days for presenting a crappy looking 3D printed motor housing and hand wound coils.....
Why?
Because they found ways of making these rotors move that are more efficient than anything we currently have on offer.
We also have people creating quite nicely working capacitors using just Kapton tape and a diode laser.
So why exactly is China still promoting such and obviously dead horse ? ;)
Right now none of our renewable systems is any good without battery storage options.
And guess what?
Right! China also controls the majority of our global Lithium supplies ;)
So our ill minded need to go green this way is one of the biggest financial gains in China's economy ....

With that in mind it can't come as a surprise that China already is the global leader when it comes to alternatives for what we need NOW.
Ok, but how exactly does all this translate to a war, especially since we try our best anyway to offend China?
HE WHO CONTROLS THE ELECTRICITY CONTROLS THE COUNTRY....
In today's world this literally translates to making as many billions from the green hype as you can that you invest in finding alternatives for once we run out of cheap enough magnets and solar panels.
The goal is to being able to provide what is needed by creating it on home soil and with local resources and people.
Literally trying to end the dependency on China that WE created to begin with.
Exploring the works of the old inventors, mixng them up with a modern touch.
To tinker and create means to be alive.
Bringing the long lost back means history comes alive again.
Downunder35m
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Posts: 1057
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Re: The war about rare earth metals and minerals

Post by Downunder35m »

Another aspect of our resource problems and how we prepare for the future is part of many conspiracy theories these days.
One that I recently discovered was particularly interesting, funny and clearly totally over the top.
But still, as with all good conspiracy theories it had some elements that can make you wonder.

I mean decentralised electricity supplies, local electricity storage and community grids.
The tempting idea behind is to allow small communities to have "their own" grid and electricity supply.
Feed your solar and wind power into our storage solution and you can go even on your electricity bill.
A few countries even provide a small provision for excess electricity fed back into the grid.
What made this theory so different was how the "features" that are highlighted are also the means to control the system.
To my surprise though I had no problem finding that in many areas these "community storage solutions" can be remotely taken OFF the local grid to provide electricity elsewhere.
Different to the conspiracy though the rules seem to be a bit different when it comes to using these powers.
Officially a local storage can be taken off only to the point where the local grid is not affected by this.
Like to give some extra for peak times if most of the town is at work anyway.
OR in case of emergencies....
I think this bit is what fueled this ill theory.
If you can take the electricity away for an emergency it is only a matter of defining what an emergency is and by how much it can affect a local community.
But with power providers already allowed to remotely disconnect your aircon if required ......
And with really no big difference between having YOUR OWN battery pack at home and having a huge battery storage in town one could wonder....
A vital part the theory leaves out though is WHO would have a benefit from this apart from the usual suspect in those theories.
Which brings me to the final part here:
What about the end user and things like rights?
Exploring the works of the old inventors, mixng them up with a modern touch.
To tinker and create means to be alive.
Bringing the long lost back means history comes alive again.
Downunder35m
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Posts: 1057
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Re: The war about rare earth metals and minerals

Post by Downunder35m »

Just try to think about your devices that need electricity for a moment.....
The TV, your game console, your phone charge, your LED lights and more - they all use switchmode power supplies.
Turning AC into DC to chop it up at a much higher frequency to be transformed down with much greater efficiency.
What really IS left that uses your AC from the outlet directly is things like toasters, your coffee machine, aircon, vacuum cleaner,.....
You know HIGH POWER devices.

If providing every home with more than enough solar panels is the goal for the short term then why not do it properly?
People lived off the grid on battery power for decades and with little to no issues if they had a proper system.
And the use of inverters was initially only to power those devices and things that you could not get to run on 24 or 48V DC.
Today though we would have no issue to provide more than just a fuse box with a meter inside....
We COULD, for example, provide a very efficient switch mode power supply acting as the controller for the solar and wind powered systems we have installed.
Whatever excess we produce is fed into our own battery storage and once that is full into the grid.
That however "is not supported".
The only thing you are currently allowed if your home is connected to the mains grid is to as you are told.
If that would not be the case our current green approach could indeed look very different.
Instead of running everything on mains power we would run most things on our own and local 48V supply.
And for what is left we can already find viable alternatives, like HVAC compressors running on 12, 24 OR 48V DC with enough capacity to even run a half decent air conditioner.
ONLY WHERE THERE IS A MARKET YOU CAN MAKE MONEY WITH YOUR PRODUCT ;)
If the market is DENIED you not only prevent new products from being developed but also ensure the end user won't get the idea that THERE ARE other ways of doing things if we wanted to.
The thing you won't get to hear though is what exactly we do once we run out of rare earth minerals and metals while still having no alternatives to produce electricity.
Only a few decades until the lights go out for good but still a few more until we master cold fusion not to mention our struggles with normal fusion reactors.
We can't drive efficiency up high enough to compensate for the needs of a growing population.
And we will run out of green energy the way we produce long before we have viable alternatives available.
Is then a surprise to see how many Asian countries already started investing into one hydroelectric dam after the other to EXPORT their electricity?

For how long can we keep fighting over resources that are limited while ignoring the recycling side of things, let alone the toxic and wasteful production?
And why exactly are we just not allowed to go off the grid to do our own thing ? ;)
Now imagine someone would start a global recycling campaign for those rare earth minerals and metals.
With those volumes recycling not only makes sense but also turns out to be far more efficient than small scale operations.
It would allow us to keep going a bit longer and without creating more toxic landfill sites full of viable and needed resources.
So where are all those creative and innovative minds and the global support?
Exploring the works of the old inventors, mixng them up with a modern touch.
To tinker and create means to be alive.
Bringing the long lost back means history comes alive again.
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