My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: Alternative Energy and Rare Earth Metals Recycling - Pass it on

Friday, July 16, 2010

Alternative Energy and Rare Earth Metals Recycling - Pass it on

Gold beget in brethren hate;
Gold in families debate;
Gold does friendship separate
Gold does civil war create.

Abraham Cowley, Anacreontics: Gold

Gold. Not the Black Gold or Oil, that Senator Barack Obama, President of the United States of America as stated in the article “Obama: End dependence on fossil fuels”, published June 2, 2010 7:45 PM, CBS News

The Obama Administration has been trying in a failed PR stunt to have a six (6) month moratorium on its exploration and extraction as stated in the article “Judge blocks Gulf offshore drilling moratorium”, published Tuesday June 22, 2010 By MICHAEL KUNZELMAN, Associated Press Writer, Yahoo! News and confirmed by the article “Big Oil Strikes Back, slams Obama’s drilling plan”, published June 22 2010 by JANE WARDELL and JENNIFER QUINN, Associated Press Writers, Yahoo! News only to recently succeed according to local News media.

Senator Barack Obama, President of the United States is indeed right when he states that the effect of the Deep Horizon Well off the coast of Louisiana exploding and sinking on Tuesday April 20th 2010 was on the environment.

It was still gushing Black Gold live in real-time HD (High Definition) now eleven (11) weeks and six (6) days since the dreaded environmental catastrophe occurred is on the same scale in term of its emotional effect on people as the 9/11 Attack on the Twin Towers as stated in the article “Oil spill is 'environment's 9/11'”, published Monday June 14 2010, BBC News.

So to be clear it is not black Gold. I am talking about that yellow brick road that lines Fort Knox, the benchmark against which the value of the US Dollar is based, that glittery metallic yellow metal that made California during the Gold Rush of the early 1800, now replaced by technology barons with companies in Silicon Valley, worth more than their weight in this stuff of legend.

Pirate treasure illegally being hawked on the streets near Bargain Village in May Pen, Clarendon, Jamaica with the annoying cry “Cash for Gold! Cash for Gold!” as if I were indeed of the inclination to give away my hard won baubles for JA$1000 per ounce to unscrupulous unlicensed individuals when in fact the actual price of real gold on the US Mercantile Exchanges is more like US$1000 per ounce.

Perhaps I should get into the gold trading business, as my now deceased girlfriend, Audia Granston would definitely love that, the irony being that as an Seventh Day Adventist, she is not inclined towards gaudy jewellery (religious people, oh how they bend their own rules!).

But there are metals which are far more valuable than Gold right now on the US Mercantile Exchanges and no one has cared to bother to realize the level of their abundance.

These metals more valuable not by the ounce, but by the milligram and are used in trace amounts in manufacturing of components of the booming Alternative Energy Sector: the little known Rare Earth Metals.

Rare Earth Metals, for the uninitiated in Inorganic Chemistry, as those metals in the Periodic Table so called due to their occurrence in trace amounts in the earths crust. Metals such as lithium, antimony, bismuth, indium, gallium, beryllium and titanium that are used in everything from:
  1. LED (Light Emitting Diodes)
  2. LCD (Liquid Crystal Displays)
  3. Microchips
  4. Fluorescent bulbs
  5. Batteries
  6. Fuel cells
  7. Photovoltaic cells or solar cells

Rare Earth Metals are in fact far more valuable than gold, with values as high as US$1000 per milligram and they are in short supply, thanks to the high demand for them in manufacturing.

They are often used in vapor deposition into components in trace amounts and the lack of adequate supplies worldwide and recycling of electronics gadgets, such as mobile phones and television sets, inclusive of CRT (Cathode Ray Tube) and HD Flat Screen TV Screens as stated in the article “Rare-earth metal recycling needed to power tech”, published May 17, 2010 7:31 AM PDT, by Martin LaMonica, CNET News - Green Tech.

But it is their specific usage in the making of Wind Turbines and Solar Cells, technology so pivotal to the Green Energy Revolution now having Venture Capitalists (VC’s) falling over themselves in a bid to fund what they hope is the next big energy breakthrough.

Especially as the President of the United States of America has also come out swinging in the direction of supporting more funding for Green Energy research start-ups in Silicon Valley to aid job creation in the Green Energy field as stated in the article “Obama commits billions to solar firms”, published July 4, 2010 11:34 AM PDT by Reuters, CNET News - Green Tech.

This is to counter the growing migration of companies to the People’s Republic of China, now awash with funding and Government Research money from the Government of the People’s Republic of China and the shortage of people in the still nascent Green Energy field as stated in the article “People power in short supply for green tech”, published March 26, 2010 8:29 AM PDT by Martin LaMonica, CNET News - Green Tech.

Granted, Telecom Providers are making strides to recycle mobile phones and their batteries, a chief source of Lithium.

Telecom Providers in the United States of America such as Telecom Provider Sprint have ponied up to the challenge, offering one of its mobile smart phones, the Samsung Reclaim, to its customers, which is 80% recyclable with a charger that uses 12% less power in standby mode as stated in the article “Green is in for wireless companies”, published August 6, 2009 4:11 PM PDT, by Marguerite Reardon, CNET News – Wireless.

Mobile handset manufacturers are seeking to standardize chargers so as to save on packaging material by adopting a universal charger for smart phones as stated in the article “Apple, others agree to universal cell phone charger standard in Europe”, published June 29, 2009 11:22 AM PDT, by Marguerite Reardon, CNET News - Wireless.

Even AT&T has came out swinging with a charger that reduces the presence of “Ghost Power” on the power grid by not pulling current when the cell phones in not plugged in as stated in the article “AT&T to sell eco-friendly phone chargers”, published March 17, 2010 1:52 PM PDT by Marguerite Reardon, CNET News – Wireless.

Locally, here in Jamaica, Telecom Provider Digicel has already spearheaded a program since 2009 to recycle unused old mobile phones, most of which like the Telecom Providers in the United States of America, are being recycled for their metals or refurbished to be used by people in impoverished Third World Countries with children suffering from HIV a stated in the article “Recycle phone, save a child - Digicel launched its HIV outreach campaign”, published Thursday August 13, 2009 by Grace-Ann Black, Gleaner Intern, The Jamaica Gleaner and confirmed in the article “DIGICEL LAUNCHES PHONE RECYCLING PROGRAMME” published Thursday, August 13, 2009 by The Jamaica Observer.

Broadcasters can get in the act of recycling electronics for their precious Rare Earth gems, especially as plans now activated in Great Britain, to achieve DSO (Digital Switch Over) means that CRT Television Sets are a relic of the past, and are no longer being sold at stores in Great Britain.

This as a means of discouraging people from purchasing the obsolete technology on their next visit to their local Tesco or Boots for a new Television purchase, as they will no longer work anyway by the completion of DSO by 2012 as stated in the article “End of the line for analogue TV's”, published Wednesday July 7th 2010, BBC News.

This means that persons with an analog or CRT Television Set will either have to get a Set top box or get a new HDTV Television Set on their next purchase at the store, with the old analog or CRT Television Set being recycled, quite obviously for its precious Rare Earth Metals.

A similar move can be made by the Broadcasting Commission in Jamaica in tandem with the Big Three (3) Broadcasters in the form of the RJR Communication Group, CVM Communication Group and LOVE Radio/TV, soon to make the decision to go DSO as stated in the article “Slow road to digital switch-over - Cable groups mum; Flow ahead but network coverage behind”, published: Saturday  August 15, 2009 by Mark Titus, Gleaner Writer, The Daily Gleaner to have persons carry in their old analog or CRT Television Set during their purchase of a new HDTV Television Set thereby accruing a significant discount on their purchase, especially in light of the pricing point of the Rare Earth Metals as noted above.

Rare Earth Metals recycling from electronic throwaways needs to be accelerated or new sources of Rare Earth Metal found, otherwise it will be a Material shortage and not a Green Energy Bubble as stated in the article “Green Tech can't shake the bubble question”, published March 10, 2010 12:36 PM PST by Martin LaMonica, CNET News - Green Tech that will kill this latest Gold Rush in Silicon Valley towards the Green Energy Revolution. Recycle. Pass it on. 

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