Sector: recycling

Date: August 18, 2014
Source: Massachusetts Institute of Technology


This could be a classic win-win solution: A system proposed by researchers at MIT recycles materials from discarded car batteries — a potential source of lead pollution — into new, long-lasting solar panels that provide emissions-free power.

The system is described in a paper in the journal Energy and Environmental Science, co-authored by professors Angela M. Belcher and Paula T. Hammond, graduate student Po-Yen Chen, and three others. It is based on a recent development in solar cells that makes use of a compound called perovskite — specifically, organolead halide perovskite — a technology that has rapidly progressed from initial experiments to a point where its efficiency is nearly competitive with that of other types of solar cells.

“It went from initial demonstrations to good efficiency in less than two years,” says Belcher, the W.M. Keck Professor of Energy at MIT. Already, perovskite-based photovoltaic cells have achieved power-conversion efficiency of more than 19 percent, which is close to that of many commercial silicon-based solar cells.

Initial descriptions of the perovskite technology identified its use of lead, whose production from raw ores can produce toxic residues, as a drawback. But by using recycled lead from old car batteries, the manufacturing process can instead be used to divert toxic material from landfills and reuse it in photovoltaic panels that could go on producing power for decades.

Amazingly, because the perovskite photovoltaic material takes the form of a thin film just half a micrometer thick, the team’s analysis shows that the lead from a single car battery could produce enough solar panels to provide power for 30 households.
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Posted: July 28, 2014
Source: Governing.com
By Jessica Moulden

Overwhelmed by severe drought, the Oklahoma legislature passed a law this year to help communities make the most of their water resources by treating and reusing wastewater.

As drought spread over 80 percent of the state, Oklahoma cities expressed interest in reusing water but lacked clear guidance from the Department of Environmental Quality on how to do it. A bill signed by Republican Gov. Mary Fallin at the end of May directs the state agency to design a process for creating water reuse projects and to establish rules and permitting requirements.

“Oklahoma is challenged, not just today but looking down the road,” said state Sen. Rob Standridge, who sponsored the bill along with fellow Republican Rep. Scott Martin. “Water is turning into an extremely important natural resource. It’s hard to envision a plan that doesn’t require some type of reuse.”

Oklahoma is one of many states reusing wastewater to address water shortages. The practice isn’t new _ California began reusing wastewater in the early 1900s _ but it is increasingly popular as huge swaths of the U.S. struggle with drought.
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Posted: May 14, 2014
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration

graph of energy consumption in the iron, steel, and aluminum manufacturing sectors by fuel, as explained in the article text

Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Manufacturing Energy Consumption Survey

The production of iron, steel, and aluminum is a highly energy-intensive process, accounting for 10% of total manufacturing energy use. The use of recycling in the manufacturing process of these metals has been a main driver of improvements in energy efficiency within the industry.
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Posted: April 23, 2014
Source: Environmental Leader.com

For about half of Americans, recycling starts and ends in the kitchen. A new survey shows that 72 percent of consumers consistently recycle in the home, but only about half do so in rooms beyond the kitchen.

The 2014 Cone Communications Recycling in the Home Survey shows there are several key barriers to expanding recycling in the home, including the lack of room-specific recycling bins and clear product labeling.

Americans are willing to recycle, but good intentions aren’t enough, according to the survey’s authors. They say that not having a recycling bin in each room prevents consumers from recycling more. Nearly one-in-five (17 percent) would recycle more if they had better or more convenient recycling bins throughout the house. The majority (56 percent) of recyclers keeps bins in the kitchen.

Bins aren’t the only roadblock to recycling. Consumers also fault not knowing what products or packaging are recyclable and the amount of space recycling requires as additional factors in favor of tossing recyclables in the trash, the survey revealed.

Of the consumers who do recycle, the majority does so because of a genuine concern for the environment (42 percent). Just 10 percent of Americans recycle solely because it is mandatory in their communities.

Posted October 31, 2013
Source: Science Daily

Oct. 30, 2013 — Many of today’s technologies, from hybrid car batteries to flat-screen televisions, rely on materials known as rare earth elements (REEs) that are in short supply, but scientists are reporting development of a new method to recycle them from wastewater. The process, which is described in a study in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces, could help alleviate economic and environmental pressures facing the REE industry.

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