Welcome to DU! The truly grassroots left-of-center political community where regular people, not algorithms, drive the discussions and set the standards. Join the community: Create a free account Support DU (and get rid of ads!): Become a Star Member


NNadir's Journal
NNadir's Journal
November 30, 2023

Apocryphal Account of the Cause of the Deepwater Horizon Platform Failure: Batteries.

Last night I attended a lecture by the Princeton University Science Librarian who formerly ran the USGS library.

She described her work during the Deepwater Horizon oil disaster which took place in 2010. Her access to literature proved to be a key aspect of addressing the disaster. She was under intense pressure.

The disaster, which killed more human beings (11 directly) than radiation releases at Fukushima has, although Fukushima if familiar to all antinukes and other people who can carry on endlessly about it, has gone down the Orwellian "Memory Hole."

Anyone and everyone can talk all about Fukushima, albeit from a perspective (usually) of extreme ignorance, but no one gives a rat's ass about Deepwater Horizon anymore. This is similar to the big concern over so called "nuclear waste" which has a spectacular record of not killing anyone in over half a century, while not giving a rat's ass about the 19,000 people (roughly) who die each day from fossil fuel waste, aka "air pollution," not even mentioning climate change.

Like all disasters, there were three issues, addressing the immediate consequences at Deepwater Horizon, monitoring the long term consequences. According to the librarian the cause was a battery failure, because the batteries powering the blowout valves, designed to prevent an explosion, were not designed to function at low temperatures.

I was surprised to hear this, but apparently it's been known for some time, and can actually be found on the Wikipedia page for the Horizon Deepwater event. But again, no one gives a shit anymore about Deepwater Horizon.

Have a nice day.

November 28, 2023

The lithium/carbon dioxide battery.

The paper to which I'll refer in this post is this one: Boosted Reaction Kinetics of Li–CO2 Batteries by Atomic Layer-Deposited Mo2N on Hydrogen Substituted Graphdiyne Junxiang Zhang, Guicai Qi, Jianli Cheng, Paula Ratajczak, Zhuanpei Wang, Francois Beguin, and Bin Wang ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering 2023 11 (45), 16185-16193.

My interest in this system does not at all contradict my frequent statement of the second law of thermodynamics in this form: "Storing energy wastes it."

Nevertheless, I do use batteries; my recently wrecked car was a hybrid car; I am looking to replace it; I own a battery powered lawnmower, and just purchased a battery powered snow blower. These batteries contain lithium, manganese, nickel and cobalt, the latter having a high moral cost, since cobalt is largely mined by modern day slaves.

Disturbed as I am by my moral hypocrisy, I do read a fair number of papers on batteries in my general reading, but this one really caught my eye because it's cobalt free, and because it reduces carbon dioxide to elemental carbon.

From the introduction:

Electric vehicles with longer driving mileage and unmanned aerial vehicles with prolonged cruise duration require urgently higher energy density of batteries. (1?4) Lithium–carbon dioxide (Li–CO2) battery, which demonstrates a high theoretical energy density of 1876 W h·kg–1 and a high discharge plateau (?2.8 V vs Li+/Li), has attracted increasing attention as one of the promising next-generation metal-gas batteries. (5?7) Li–CO2 batteries can simultaneously realize the fixation of greenhouse gas CO2 and high energy density supply, which show enormous application potentiality in CO2-rich situations such as deep-sea work and Mars exploration (96% of its atmosphere on Mars is CO2). The main reaction process involved in aprotic Li–CO2 batteries is as follows: 4Li+ + 3CO2 + 4e- ? Li2CO3 + C. (8?10) However, the sluggish kinetics of the discharged product Li2CO3 with stable chemical stability during recharging have greatly restricted the rate performance and cycling stability of Li–CO2 batteries. Meanwhile, the arduous decomposition of insulating Li2CO3 during recharging also leads to high overpotential and consequent electrolyte degradation. (11?13) The continuous accumulation of undecomposed Li2CO3 on the cathode occupies the reaction sites and severely blocks the CO2 diffusion channels, further resulting in large polarization and poor cycling performance of the batteries. Therefore, efficient cathode catalysts are highly imperative to boost the decomposition of Li2CO3 and facile reaction kinetics.

In recent years, several kinds of cathode catalysts, including carbon materials, (14?20) noble metals, (10,12,21?26) transition metals and their compounds, (27?36) metal–organic frameworks, (37,38) and covalent organic frameworks, (39,40) have been developed and improved the electrochemical performance of Li–CO2 batteries. Among them, integrating an efficient metal catalyst into highly conductive carbon have shown significantly facilitated kinetics in Li–CO2batteries as well as other gas-involved catalytic reactions. (29,32,36) A variety of carbon/metal composite catalysts, such as ultrathin Ir nanosheets on N-doped carbon fibers, (21) RuO2 on carbon nanotubes (CNTs), (22) ultrafine Ru nanoparticles on activated carbon nanofibers, (23) ZnS quantum dots on N-doped reduced graphene oxide(GO), (27) adjacent Co single atom/GO, (35) Ru–Cu nanoparticles on graphene, (41) Mo2C/CNTs, (42) Ru–Co nanoparticles on carbon nanofibers, (43) etc., have been prepared and showed outstanding catalytic activity and remarkably reduced the voltage gap between CO2 reduction and evolution process. However, reported carbon/metal composite catalysts have several drawbacks: weak bonding strength between carbon and metal catalysts, uneven distribution of the nanoparticles, and limited catalyst utilization, leading to the formation of large aggregates and high loading but partly inefficient catalytic behavior. Moreover, the loading amount, crystal structure, and catalytic sites of metal catalysts are difficult to precisely regulate to further improve and optimize their catalytic activity.

The emerged graphdiyne (GDY) material is a novel allotrope of carbon (44) which contains both sp and sp2 hybridized carbon atoms in the carbon framework and possesses a large specific surface area, uniform pore structure, and excellent electrochemical stability. Different from traditional carbon materials like graphene and CNTs, it was suggested that the coexistence of sp and sp2 carbon atoms is favorable for chelating metal atoms and facilitating the charge transfer between metal atoms and GDY. (45) These merits make GDY an ideal substrate for anchoring metal catalysts with suppressed aggregation. So, GDY/metal composite catalysts such as GDY-WS2 (46) and MoS2/N-GDY (47) have shown efficient catalytic activity in hydrogen evolution reaction (HER). In addition, single metal atoms can be stably anchored and evenly dispersed on GDY, such as Ni(Fe)/GDY, (48) Pd/GDY, (49) and Mo/GDY, (50) with highly efficient catalytic activity to the HER and the nitrogen reduction reaction. At the same time, GDY can be synthesized through a copper-catalyzed C–C cross-coupling reaction, which makes it possible to precisely adjust its morphology and chemical properties, including conductivity, pore structure, and affinity for metal atoms, thereby conveniently optimizing the catalytic activity of the GDY/metal catalyst...

The authors show how to address some of the kinetic drawbacks of these batteries by the plasma assisted atomic layer deposition of a molybdenum nitride catalyst.

This hardly ready for prime time, and it will certainly do nothing to make so called "renewable energy" a significant viable and sustainable form of energy, which it has not been, is not now, and never will be, batteries or no batteries.

Nevertheless a system that reduces carbon dioxide to elemental carbon should always be of interest.

In this sense it's a cool paper.

Earlier I wrote about such a system (which I view as a tool to make carbon based materials and electrodes for the FFC and Hall-Heroult reduction of ores to metals) here: Electrolysis of Lithium-Free Molten Carbonates

I see a lot of potential in this molten carbonate system, assuming it isn't lost in the shuffle.

Have a nice day tomorrow.
November 26, 2023

At the Mauna Loa CO2 Observatory, the Week to Week 10 Year Comparator Is the 3rd Highest Ever.

As I've indicated repeatedly in my DU writings, somewhat obsessively I keep a spreadsheet of the weekly data at the Mauna Loa Carbon Dioxide Observatory, which I use to do calculations to record the dying of our atmosphere, a triumph of fear, dogma and ignorance that did not have to be, but nonetheless is, a fact.

Facts matter.

When writing these depressing repeating posts about new records being set, reminiscent, over the years, to the ticking of a clock at a deathwatch, I often repeat some of the language from a previous post on this awful series, as I have been doing here with some modifications. It saves time.

As I note in this series of posts, the concentrations of the dangerous fossil fuel waste carbon dioxide which are killing the planet fluctuate sinusoidally over the year, with the rough sine wave superimposed on a quadratic axis:

Monthly Average Mauna Loa CO2

About two months ago we hit the autumnal local minimum for 2023, 418.29 ppm; the concentrations will rise until May or June. We may reasonable expect readings well in excess of 426 ppm, since we are doing nothing at all to address climate change.

There is considerable noise in these readings, and a way of leveling them is to look at the data over a 10 year period, which the observatory reports along with week to week comparators in the previous year.

Here is the current report of weekly data at the observatory:

Week beginning on November 19, 2023: 421.21 ppm
Weekly value from 1 year ago: 418.38 ppm
Weekly value from 10 years ago: 395.26 ppm
Last updated: November 26, 2023

Weekly average CO2 at Mauna Loa (Accessed 11/26/2023)

The comparator with week 46 of 2022 is a relatively modest 2.83 ppm higher; the average for 2023 for week to week comparators to 2022 is 2.55 ppm, with four readings being in the top 50 out of 2495 weekly readings in my spreadsheet, the highest being 4.40 ppm recorded in the week beginning 7/23/2023 (the ninth highest of all).

For this week it is the comparator with week 46 of 2013 that is remarkable. It is 25.95 ppm higher in 2023, the third highest of all such comparators going back to 1984. All of the top 50 ten year week to comparators have taken place since 2019 (when there were two), with 11 of these in 2023, and 16 in 2022.

Things are getting worse faster than ever.

People can lie, to each other and to themselves, but numbers don't lie.

Have a pleasant Sunday.
November 25, 2023

Hey! My Atrevida tee shirt finally came!

Perhaps you remember, among all the mass shootings, that guy Rich Fierro who was there with his wife, his daughter and her boyfriend enjoying the drags show at the QClub when a shooter walked in.

Mr. Fierro was unarmed but ran toward the shooter in the QClub Drag Show. tackled him and beat the shit out of him with the help of other patrons, including a drag performer who stomped him with his high heels.

His daughter's boyfriend was killed in the shooting.

Mr. Fierro and his wife own a small brewery and bar in Colorado Springs, Atrevida Brewery

Supporters rushed in to the small business after Mr. Fierro's brave selfless and courageous act:

The kegs were emptied but the hearts are full at Atrevida Beer Co. in Colorado Springs


Drinkers rushed to support owners Jess and Rich Fierro after finding out about their involvement in the Club Q shooting

I don't live in Colorado, but I went on line to order a tee shirt from them. I guess they must have been overwhelmed with orders, because the shirt never came, until a few days ago. I forgot about it. If they hadn't sent the shirt, and if I remembered it, I wouldn't have cared, but finally it came.



Diversity, it's on tap!

I can't wait to summer to wear it.

November 25, 2023

Well, I have singlehandedly assured New Jersey there will be no snowfall in our state this year.

After 28 years in my home, I bought a snowblower.

I'm too old to handle the sidewalk with my back. It's one of the Ego battery powered jobs, roughly 700 bucks.

This, I'm sure, will prevent it from snowing in NJ until after my death.

November 25, 2023

Growth of Coal Mining Operations in the Elk River Valley (Canada) and Selenium in a US River.

The paper to which I'll refer in this brief post is this one: Growth of Coal Mining Operations in the Elk River Valley (Canada) Linked to Increasing Solute Transport of Se, NO3–, and SO42– into the Transboundary Koocanusa Reservoir (USA–Canada) Meryl B. Storb, Ashley M. Bussell, Sara L. Caldwell Eldridge, Robert M. Hirsch, and Travis S. Schmidt Environmental Science & Technology 2023 57 (45), 17465-17480.

One of the big lies that flows around in the age of celebration of the lie is that so called "renewable energy" is driving the coal industry out of business.

People can lie, to each other and to themselves, but numbers don't lie.

The numbers are here: 2023 World Energy Outlook published by the International Energy Agency (IEA)Table A.1a on Page 264 .

In the period between 2021 and 2022, the coal industry (in units of primary energy produced) grew as fast as solar and wind combined, with the caveat the the coal industry produces prodigious energy and the solar and wind industries combined produce trivial energy, 170 EJ (Exajoules) for coal, 15 EJ combined for solar and wind, this at the expense of trillions of dollars spent on stuff that lasts only for a short time before needing replacement.

So called "renewable energy," as represented by the solar and wind scam is not reliable, and the only advantage that coal has over these generally useless forms of energy is that it is reliable, filthy, deadly, toxic, unsustainable, climate change driving, but reliable.

The paper cited at the outset of this post gives just one of the external costs of the rising use of coal and the lie that it is being phased out because so called "renewable energy" is so great. So called "renewable energy" generates lots of complacency, but insignificant energy.

The paper is open sourced, anyone who cares can read it by clicking on the link, but here's some text:

Worldwide, more than 260 river basins are divided and shared by multiple nations. Managing and preserving transboundary watersheds, their water resources, and cultural heritage is exceptionally difficult because political borders rarely coincide with watershed boundaries, and governments may have conflicting regulatory approaches. (1?3) Without cooperative resource management between governments, transboundary waterways are uniquely vulnerable to the influences of human land use on water quality and ecosystem integrity. One example is large scale mining and the alteration of land surfaces and aquifers due to placement of waste rock, which are known to profoundly influence groundwater and surface water quality. (4?6) Mining supports regional and national economies but has been shown to alter water, solute, and sediment dynamics and harm aquatic ecosystems. (7) Understanding environmental and water-quality impacts from mines located near borders provides information that may be used to protect, restore, and manage natural resources in the complex regulatory setting of transboundary watersheds. (8)

Koocanusa Reservoir (KOC, also called “Lake Koocanusa”) is a transboundary reservoir that is split between northwestern Montana (MT), United States (U.S.), and southeastern British Columbia (B.C.), Canada (CA). The reservoir was impounded in 1972 by the Libby Dam, near Libby, MT (Figure 1). KOC encompasses the headwaters of the Kootenai (Kootenay in CA) River Basin. Including KOC, the Kootenai River crosses the U.S./CA border twice and drains into the Columbia River just north of where the river crosses the international border a third time (Figure 1). The Kootenai and Columbia Rivers have significant cultural importance─the watershed itself is the basis for the Ktunaxa Creation Story. (9) Ecologically and culturally important fish resources in the Kootenai Watershed (U.S.) include the federally endangered Kootenai River White Sturgeon (Acipenser transmontanus), the threatened Bull Trout (Salvelinus confluentus), and two species of concern, Burbot (Lota lota) and Westslope Cutthroat Trout (Oncorhynchus clarkii lewisi). (10) The headwater drainages for KOC are present on both sides of the border. However, the three largest tributaries are in B.C., and the second largest is the Elk River, which drains a watershed that contains several open-pit, coal mining operations (Figure 1). (11,12)

According to the paper, the river is contaminated by sulfate SO4-2, nitrate NO3-1, and selenium as run off from the expanding coal mining operations in Canada. The polluted water flows across the border into the US. Selenium is one of those elements that is essential at very low levels (as selenomethionine) but very toxic above a threshold.

I hope you're enjoying the weekend.
November 25, 2023

Quantification of the Effects of Ultraviolet Germicidal Irradiation on COVID-19 Transmission

The paper to which I'll refer briefly is this one: Quantitative Microbial Risk Assessment for Quantification of the Effects of Ultraviolet Germicidal Irradiation on COVID-19 Transmission Ernest R. Blatchley III and Haiying Cui Environmental Science & Technology 2023 57 (45), 17393-17403.

The Covid crisis has mostly subsided, but given population density, and the speed of evolution of retroviruses, this paper remains of value. This paper evaluates the effect of the wavelength and air turnover time for inactivating aerosol viral particles, thus reducing the risk of transmission.

From the introductory text of the paper:

COVID-19 is caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), a novel ?-coronavirus that shares genetic similarity with other coronaviruses that have caused disease outbreaks among humans, including SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV. (1) SARS-CoV-2 is a positive-sense single-stranded RNA virus, with a genome size of roughly 29.9 kb. (2) SARS-CoV-2 transmission is largely associated with aerosols that originate in the respiratory systems of infected individuals, although fomites may also contribute to transmission. (3)

Beyond COVID-19, it is likely that other disease outbreaks, epidemics, and pandemics will continue and perhaps become more prevalent in the future. (4) History suggests that these outbreaks are likely to be associated with airborne respiratory pathogens. As such, a clear need for the development of rational, predictable control measures against airborne pathogens has emerged...

...UV-C-based systems accomplish pathogen inactivation by inducing photochemical damage to critical biomolecules. Damage to nucleic acids is observed across the entire UV-C spectrum (200 nm ? ? ? 280 nm). For wavelengths less than about 240 nm, photochemical damage to proteins becomes an important contributor to pathogen inactivation. (7?9) For SARS-CoV-2, this behavior has been demonstrated by comparison of the inactivation action spectrum with the absorption spectrum for RNA extracted from the virus (see Figure SI-1). (10) In general, the wavelength dependence of SARS-CoV-2 inactivation by exposure to UV-C radiation follows the same shape as the RNA absorbance spectrum. However, for wavelengths less than about 240 nm, SARS-CoV-2 inactivation is greater than that predicted by the trend of RNA absorbance; this behavior is assumed to be attributable to protein damage. For applications that involve simultaneous exposure to UV-C radiation at 222 and 254 nm, a synergistic inactivation response has been reported that involves lipid peroxidation. (11)

Recent research has demonstrated the potential for new UVGI system configurations to be developed based on Far UV-C radiation, informally defined as radiation with wavelengths in the range 200 nm ≲ ? ≲ 230 nm. (12) The most common source of Far UV-C radiation for these applications is the optically filtered krypton chloride excimer (KrCl*) lamp, although solid-state Far UV-C devices are being developed. A typical output spectrum for an optically filtered KrCl* lamp is illustrated in Figure SI-2. Far UV-C radiation is strongly absorbed by proteins. Because of this, Far UV-C radiation has limited potential to penetrate the germinative cells of human skin or eyes, resulting in substantial reductions of the potential for damage to these tissues, relative to conventional UV-C radiation. In recognition of this behavior, the Threshold Limit Values (TLVs) for exposure to Far UV-C radiation have been substantially increased by the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH)...

The paper contains an interesting table showing the average number of viral particles generated by an infected individual engaged in various activities:

Table caption:

a Values of virus emission rate represent the median or mean of reported values for each activity type reported from the references listed.

To understand the final figure detailing risk, it is necessary to have access to this table:

Table caption:

a For each assumed operating condition (designated by a lower-case letter), assumed parameter values are listed to define ? as well as the contributions to ? from each process: physical air exchange (A), natural decay (kD), and UVC irradiation (fEavgk). For each assumed operating condition, an estimate of the time-dependent risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection was developed for each of eight assumed virus emission scenarios (designated by uppercase letters), as illustrated in Figure 3.

An evaluation of risk for various wavelengths and rates of turnover defined in the previous table, figure 3:

The caption:

Figure 3. Estimates of the risk of COVID-19 transmission in a 500 m3 room with a single infected individual as an emitter in the room; the emitter was assumed to be releasing aerosolized, infective viruses at rates that correspond with the conditions indicated by capital letters (see legend and Table 2). Conditions of operation of the HVAC and UVGI systems are indicated by lower-case letters (see the bottom right of each panel and Table 4). Horizontal dashed lines indicate a reference risk of 10–3, as suggested by Buonanno et al. (29) The terms Amin and Amax represent practical minimum and maximum values of physical air exchange, respectively, that are likely to be applied, based on guidance from ASHRAE (19) and CDC. (20) The black star in panel (a) indicates measured disease transmission from the Skagit Valley Chorale group Superspreader event.

Interesting I think.

For the record, I am trying to relate and to convince my son, the value of industrial scale radiation of air based Brayton cycles with high energy radiation, in the gamma range, x-rays to address aerosol organofluoride pollution. The heat in the Brayton cycle should also reduce the amount of second most important climate change driving gas, methane, by oxidizing it.

This is related to the work described here, but on an industrial scale far greater than what is described in this paper. This process would also destroy airborne viruses, for good and for bad.

I trust you're having a nice weekend.
November 25, 2023

Material Flow Analysis of Dysprosium in the United States

The paper to which I'll refer in this post is this one: Material Flow Analysis of Dysprosium in the United States, Chuke Chen, Nan Li, Jianchuan Qi, Jianlimin Wei, and Wei-Qiang Chen Environmental Science & Technology 2023 57 (45), 17256-17265.

The paper is relevant to the widespread belief, which I do not share, that so called "renewable energy" is in fact sustainable, where "sustainable" would refer to centuries and/or ideally, millennia.

This paper refers to the US; earlier on I discussed this element in connection with China:

Unlocking Dysprosium Constraints for China's 1.5 C Climate Target

I'll just share some text from the current paper under discussion, along with a few telling graphics.

From the introductory text:

Modern innovative products tend to utilize a broad range of elements because each element has a unique fundamental property. (1) Magnetism is one of the major properties needed for clean energy technologies (e.g., power electric vehicles). Dysprosium (Dy), a rare-earth element, is effective in ensuring the magnetic strength of the most widely used magnet, neodymium–iron–boron (Nd–Fe–B). (2,3) Thus, the transition to clean energy is projected to be accompanied by an exponential increase in Dy demands. (4) However, only a few regions have provided Dy-bearing mineral resources in the last three decades. Approximately, 90% of minerals were produced by China and Burma in 2018 (Figure S1). Due to the growing demand and supply risk, Dy availability has received considerable attention. (4,5) Particularly in the United States (US), Dy has been regarded as a critical raw material since early 2012. (6) A recent study enhanced concerns about Dy supplies in the US because of the difficulty in recovering and reusing it. (7) Particularly in this post-pandemic period, supply risks are amplified by trade policy changes and suspended operations. Since 2009, throughout the globe, governments, companies, and research institutes have taken actions to minimize the potential impact of Dy shortage, (8) for example, by supporting the development of low-Dy Nd–Fe–B magnets by the Japanese government (9) and the recycling of Dy-bearing secondary resources by the European Commission. (10)

Exploring Dy flows between products and across countries is essential to devise strategic plans. Some researchers attempted to identify and quantify the major factors that contribute to the US Dy availability and supply risks, (11–13) such as the depletion time of domestic reserves, country concentration, and governance, and they primarily focus on Dy ore supply. Several other studies evaluated Dy demands for finished products under specific scenarios, such as for wind turbines driven by the Wind Vision Project (14) and Blue Map (15), and electric vehicles by automotive electrification, (16,17) which informed the decision-makers of potential material-related issues in particular initiatives. (18–23) Furthermore, several studies were conducted to identify particular sources of certain products (e.g., domestic extraction of ores, (24) cross-border trade of alloys (8,20,25), and finished products (23,26)). Owing to scarce data, element-specific material flow analysis (MFA) of rare-earth elements in the US has not been conducted, and information on domestic demands for Dy-bearing chemicals and alloys is unavailable. Element-specific information is crucial for making decisions on capacity planning (business level), industrial development (industry level), and national strategy formulation (country level). One such example is the volume of national strategic stockpiles (mostly composed of chemicals) determined according to the demands of manufacturing industries. So far, the information about Dy flows is still incomplete.

Thus, to bridge the knowledge gap related to the US Dy, we performed a dynamic MFA covering the period from 1987 to 2018. The MFA has been used as an effective tool to explore material flows into, out of, and within a certain system by analyzing material production, consumption, and international trade from a lifecycle perspective. (27,28) Notably, in this study, we explored the comprehensive coverage of products, processes, and periods. First, the MFA framework adopted in our study considers all types of Dy-bearing products available in the US market including ores, concentrates, chemicals, alloys, and finished products. Second, it distinguishes the US from the rest of the world, allowing for comparative analyses of domestic and overseas supply and demand. Third, it explores the scenario starting from 1987, when the first Dy chemicals were produced by factories in the US. The results reveal the temporal evolutions of the whole Dy supply chain as well as the causes and consequences and provide quantitative information on the Dy flows in the US. Based on these results, the progress of actions and policies, as well as near-term implications, are discussed...

A nice table in the paper gives insight to the amount of dysprosium found in various consumer items:

Some telling graphics:

The caption:

Figure 2. Cumulative Dy flows in the US from 1987–2018. Values are measured using the metallic equivalent weight (in metric ton Dy). According to the mass-balance principle, the domestic demands for the upstream products equal domestic supplies for the downstream industries. For example, the domestic demand for concentrates drives compound production. According to the results of the uncertainty analysis, the total domestic demand for finished products is likely to range from 6200 to 11,000 t Dy, with a 97.5% confidence.

The caption:

Figure 3. Dy demand (measured in t Dy) in percentage. (A) Average, (B) by years and amounts, and (C) for finished products.

The caption:

Figure 4. Total supplies (i.e., domestic production plus imports), import dependency, and demands (i.e., domestic consumption plus exports) of (a) concentrates, (b) chemicals, (c) alloys, and (d) finished products. Consumption is represented by the domestic production of downstream industries.

The authors conclude that major dysprosium (lanthanide) ore finds have been discovered in the United States, and potentially these might supply the United States for about 30 years.

Thirty years is not, of course, centuries and certainly not millennia however. I will be dead myself in 30 years, probably well before 30 years, but this does not eliminate my concern for those who come after me.

For the record, the heavy lanthanides, those beyond gadolinium in the periodic table, are not fission products that can be obtained from used nuclear fuel as the light lanthanides, lanthanum through europium, can. In any case, the high energy to mass ratio that defines why nuclear power is the most sustainable form of energy before humanity, means that even for those lanthanides found in considerable portions, in particular lanthanum and neodymium, will not be sufficient to maintain demand.

I trust you are enjoying the Thanksgiving holidays.

November 24, 2023

Making Filthy Hydrogen Slightly Less Filthy.

The paper to which I'll point - it's open to public for free reading - is this one: Techno-economic Analysis and Optimization of Intensified, Large-Scale Hydrogen Production with Membrane Reactors Dean M. Sweeney, Victor Alves, Savannah Sakhai, San Dinh, and Fernando V. Lima Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research 2023 62 (46), 19740-19751.

The point of this study is to utilize Le Chatleier's Principle, about which one should learn in a high school chemistry class, this shift the equilibrium of steam reforming of dangerous natural gas to more hydrogen by removing hydrogen through a selective membrane.

We have a wide spread myth that hydrogen is a "green" fuel, officially and culturally endorsed all around the world despite the fact that hydrogen is made almost exclusively from dangerous fossil fuels at a thermodynamic loss: Exergy destruction.

We have fossil fuel salespeople and salesbots selling dangerous fossil fuels here on DU by rebranding them as hydrogen: This is pure unadulterated greenwashing of the type associated with "CCS," carbon capture and storage, the building of huge carbon dioxide dumps that despite decades of jawboning, do not exist on any meaningful scale. In fact, if one looks, one will see that the hydrogen chimera is often advertised along with CCS, wishful thinking bullshit that has left the planet in flames.

The introduction of the paper, which I'll excerpt despite anyone can read the full paper themselves, states all of this very well:

Hydrogen (H2) is the main component in numerous industrial processes, such as ammonia and methanol synthesis, oil refining, and steel production. (1) Due to its widespread usage, H2 production has tripled since 1975, reaching ?70 million tonnes per year (MtH2/yr) in 2018. (1,2) Its versatility in production and transportation makes it an attractive decarbonization technique for various industries, including power generation and fuel supply for vehicles and ships. (1) The increased demand for H2 requires advanced developments for the scaleup of existing production technologies. Currently, 76% of H2 is sourced from natural gas, predominantly steam methane reforming (SMR). (1) SMR involves the reaction between purified natural gas and superheated steam in a high-temperature and high-pressure reformer furnace, producing mainly carbon monoxide (CO), water (H2O), and H2. Due to the high temperatures (800–900 °C) of the system, traditional SMR requires ample heat duties provided by the combustion of fossil fuels. Consequently, global H2 production leads to CO2 emissions of ?850 MtCO2/yr as of 2017. SMR’s large energy demand and carbon footprint introduce significant challenges when scaling-up its production to meet the increasing H2 demands while prioritizing decarbonization. (2) Alternative low-carbon technologies, such as electrolysis, can mitigate these emissions, but currently are not economically competitive with traditional SMR. To address the challenges associated with the simultaneous scaleup and decarbonization of H2 technologies, the International Energy Agency (IEA) issued seven key recommendations, addressing H2’s role in long-term energy projects, its commercial demand, and the various production and transportation techniques. (1) An essential recommendation outlined the development of current production facilities for less costly and less carbon-intensive H2 production. An alternative IEA study outlines the latter statement by simulating and costing the decarbonization of SMR plants with various carbon capture and storage techniques. (2) The study showed significant capital and operating expenses tied to the integration of various carbon capture technologies. Therefore, addressing the second recommendation for less costly and efficient H2 production is essential to the simultaneous scaleup and decarbonization of SMR.

One particular development in SMR involves process intensification through H2 selective membrane reactors. (3) The continuous equilibrium shift, caused by the removal of H2, significantly increases the efficiency of the traditional reformer and shift reactors. The lower-temperature operation (450–650 °C) promotes a three-reaction system, shown in reactions 1–3, with methane steam reforming (MSR), water–gas shift (WGS), and the overall reaction (OVR)...

I added the bold and the italics. The italics were added to point to the hypocrisy of antinukes, who repeat the idiotic lie that nuclear energy is "too expensive" based on the fact that benefits of nuclear energy will accrue to future generations, about whom antinukes, and the even more dishonest "I'm not an antinuke" antinukes who one sees from time to time couldn't care less. These same people however are fine with handing out "wind and solar" hydrogen lies, although the paper makes clear, electrolysis is "too expensive."

Of the 24% of hydrogen reported in this paper that is not made from dangerous natural gas, the majority is made from coal. This is the preferred source of hydrogen in China, in particular. Our DU fossil fuel sales people rebranding fossil fuels as hydrogen, often posts insipid dishonest videos from marketing organizations from China, often with pictures of solar industrial parks that produce very little energy, and in fact, very little hydrogen.

Hydrogen is made overwhelmingly made from fossil fuels and all of the Potemkin pictures of solar industrial parks will not change that fact.

A Giant Climate Lie: When they're selling hydrogen, what they're really selling is fossil fuels.

Reference 1 is also open sourced. It's an IEA document called "The Future of Hydrogen:" generated and published at the behest of Japan apparently. It is here: The Future of Hydrogen

It contains this interesting bit, alluded to in the introduction of the paper under discussion:

Hydrogen is almost entirely supplied from natural gas and coal today. Hydrogen is already with us at industrial scale all around the world, but its production is responsible for annual CO2 emissions equivalent to those of Indonesia and the United Kingdom combined. Harnessing this existing scale on the way to a clean energy future requires both the capture of CO2 from hydrogen production from fossil fuels and greater supplies of hydrogen from clean electricity.

They speak as if "clean electricity" is a thing. It really isn't, except for the 10% or so produced from nuclear energy, but it is a waste of nuclear electricity to divert it to making hydrogen.

...expanding further to repeat on the above excerpt...

Supplying hydrogen to industrial users is now a major business globally. Demand for hydrogen, which has grown more than threefold since 1975, continues to rise (Figure 1). Demand for hydrogen in its pure form is around 70 million tonnes per year (MtH2/yr). This hydrogen is almost entirely supplied from fossil fuels, with 6% of global natural gas and 2% of global coal going to hydrogen production.1 As a consequence, production of hydrogen is responsible for carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions of around 830 million tonnes of carbon dioxide per year (MtCO2/yr), equivalent to the CO2 emissions of Indonesia and the United Kingdom combined. In energy terms, total annual hydrogen demand worldwide is around 330 million tonnes of oil equivalent (Mtoe), larger than the primary energy supply of Germany.

I added the bold.

Look, we are never going to build those CO2 dumps. It hasn't happened; it isn't happening; and it won't happen.

Nor are we ever going to eliminate dangerous fossil fuels - a dire and exigent task - by making wilderness into industrial parks and mining the shit out of the planet for so called "renewable energy." Repeating this lie in chants that reek of saying the rosary for cancer patients is making things worse, not better.

The climate is degrading at the fastest rate ever observed; we are using more fossil fuels than ever; and we're doing nothing practical to address this.

At the Mauna Loa CO2 Observatory, we've again surged past 421 ppm for weekly readings.

I trust you're having a pleasant holiday weekend.

November 23, 2023

Here's a Radioisotope I've Never Seen Used Before: Scandium-46.

Scandium is an element in the periodic table about which I seldom think. Older literature I had laying around led me to believe that only a few kg of the metal had been prepared, but looking into the Wikipedia page, I discovered that a few tens of tons of the metal are produced each year.

I was surprised therefore to come across this paper, which caught my eye because of my love for radioactive things:

Solid Flow Mapping at the Bottom Section of a Pilot-Plant Scale Riser with the Help of a Radioactive Particle Tracking Technique Trilokpati Tribedi, Pankaj Tiwari, Harish Jagat Pant, and Rajesh Kumar Upadhyay Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research 2023 62 (45), 19133-19144

The issue was to study aspects of the flow in a chemical engineering tool known as a circulating fluidized bed. It's described briefly in the text:

Circulating fluidized beds (CFB) have attracted enormous interest in large-scale process industries like metallurgy, petrochemicals, and energy. (1) The CFBs have been widely used in combustion, catalytic cracking, and synthesis due to their benefits, including good heat and mass transfer performances, high efficiency in gas–solid contact, and status as a classic gas–solid contact reactor. In 1922 Winkler first used fluidized bed for coal gasification. The number of fluidized beds and circulating fluidized bed reactors has increased manifold over the past century. (2) In a reactor similar to a circulating fluidized bed, the structure of the gas–solid flow affects heat, mass, momentum transfer, and particle residence time. These variables directly affect the reaction rate and yield while also regulating the overall performance of the reactor. When the solid particles are distributed evenly, the overall efficiency of the riser is increased. However, most of the CFB operates at a high solids circulation rate and low gas flow rate, which causes both axial and radial uniformity of solid concentration. (3) Gas–solid flow in a riser can have distinct radial and axial flow structures based on gas flow rate, solid flux, and riser geometry. In general, axial flow structures are described as having a dense bottom region, a diluted upper section, and a transition region in between them. Based on the exit geometry of the riser, a relatively dense region can occasionally be seen at the top.

Most of the solid velocity data are reported in the literature (4?10) at the middle section or fully developed section of the riser. Some researchers (11?14) have investigated the influence of the outlet configuration on the flow pattern in CFBs using computational fluid dynamics (CFD). De Wilde et al. (13) have reported that strong restrictions on outlet geometry can alter flow patterns throughout the riser. The exit effect, however, is only visible in the immediate proximity of the outlet section in no-restricted outlet configurations...

To study the behavior of this widely used but not entirely understood device, the authors inserted glass beads impregnated with Sc46 among the solid particles and followed their locations by the use of scintillation detectors:

...Detailed experimental setup configuration has been presented already in previously published (9,19) works for the middle section and residence time distribution (RTD) measurements. The radioactive particle tracking (RPT) technique is used to track the motion of the solid phase. In the current experiment, a tracer particle made of the high-energy 46Sc isotope is doped in a glass bead of the same size as the bed material used as the solid phase. Ten scintillation (NaI) detectors are installed strategically around the riser’s bottom section from 30 to 80 cm. Details of detector positions are provided in the Supporting Information section, Table S1...

Sc46 has a half-life of around 84 days.

Reference 9 is this one: Measurements of Solid Velocity in a Pilot-Scale Geldart’s Group B Circulating Fluidized Bed Using a Radioactive Particle Tracking Technique Trilokpati Tribedi, Premsagar Pillajetti, Roushni Kumari, Harish Jagat Pant, Pankaj Tiwari, and Rajesh Kumar Upadhyay Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research 2022 61 (25), 9110-9121

I seem to have overlooked that paper last year during my regular reads of this journal. Possibly I was distracted by writing this post about other radioactive stuff more commonly available:

Defective TiO2/CdS for the Photochemical Reduction of CO2; the Capture of Radioactive Cesium.

Have a happy Thanksgiving.

Profile Information

Gender: Male
Current location: New Jersey
Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 32,779

Journal Entries

Latest Discussions»NNadir's Journal