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Posted: 4/19/2010 7:58:31 AM EST
Story Link

Is the Prius supporting an oppressive communist regime?

A switch to electric may be far more dangerous to U.S. security than remaining on foreign oil, argued one expert at a recent summit.

The electric vehicle movement may move mankind away from relying on one scarce resource, but into relying on another, believes Robert Bryce, author of "Power Hungry: The Myths of 'Green' Energy and the Real Fuels of the Future" (PublicAffairs; 2010).  Bryce addressed journalists at the 2010 Toyota Sustainable Mobility Seminar in La Jolla, California detailing the industry's growing addiction to rare earth metals.

Most electric vehicles and hybrids heavily rely on a series of elements called the lanthanides, which rarely occur on Earth, and thus are aptly nicknamed "rare-earth metals".  The Toyota Prius, the world's most popular hybrid, for example, uses 2.2 pounds of neodymium and about 22 pounds of lanthanum, in addition to cerium, yttrium, and zirconium.

Early fears about the electric vehicle industry focused on its reliance on lithium.  Fortunately, recent surveys have indicated lithium stocks to be more extensive than previously thought.  However, rare-earth metals are fast emerging as a more serious concern.

Competition is tight for the rare compounds.  Neodymium is used heavily in wind turbine magnets, and other rare earth elements are used in solar panels and computers.

One headache for the U.S. is not only that the elements are so scarce, but where they primarily come from.  According to an April 1 report, China by the Government Accounting Office, entitled "Rare Earth Materials in the Defense Supply Chain", states, "Most rare earth material processing now occurs in China. In 2009, China produced about 97 percent of rare earth oxides."

When it comes to production sources, there is some hope in the near future, says Bryce.  The U.S. does have substantial rare-earth reserves of its own, but it just hasn't exploited them.  The GAO believes that by 2014 the U.S. will be heavily mining these deposits.  Bryce isn't so convinced.  He states, "At the moment, the only hope for the United States when it comes to domestic lanthanide production appears to be Molycorp Minerals, which owns America's only operable rare-earths mine."

That mine has switched ownership several times, making its future seem in doubt.  Meanwhile, other deposits would require new mines, a massive investment, and which would damage the environment –– a concern for those advocating EVs from a "green" perspective.  

Meanwhile China is doing its best to remain in control of this increasingly valuable resource.  It's focusing its academic efforts on the field of rare-earth metal processing.  It also has banned foreign investment in rare-earth metal mining and has raised taxes on rare-earth metal exports.

Bryce accuses "neoconservatives" of spreading alarmism about petroleum.  He states, "Though it's true that the Saudis are influential, they only control about 10 percent of daily world oil production.  These same neoconservatives hate OPEC - but OPEC only controls about one-third of world oil production."

Most oil production, he points that the U.S.'s top three foreign oil sources in January were Canada (1.882 million barrels per day), Mexico (1.033 million barrels per day), and Nigeria (0.996 million barrels per day).

He says that there may be enough rare-earth metals to eventually sustain a switch to electric vehicles, but that the world economy currently isn't ready for it.  And a premature switch could hand even greater world dominance to a growing nation whose human rights violations and lawlessness are considered by many to be a serious threat, he says.
Link Posted: 4/19/2010 8:18:21 AM EST
This'll go way over the heads of the hippies...
Link Posted: 4/19/2010 8:22:14 AM EST
I would suggest that US companies exploit rare-earth metals in this country, but then that would be supporting an oppressive regime, too, wouldn't it?
Link Posted: 4/19/2010 8:24:20 AM EST
Hah!  I've been saying that all along.  The shit in a prius battery ain't exactly tofu and green beans.  God knows what kind of environmental impact comes from mining lithium and all that other stuff that's needed.
Link Posted: 4/19/2010 8:27:55 AM EST
Do fuel cells use rare earths?
Link Posted: 4/19/2010 8:32:36 AM EST




Quoted:

I would suggest that US companies exploit rare-earth metals in this country, but then that would be supporting an oppressive regime, too, wouldn't it?


All US rare-earth deposits are probably in places where some rare rat (that is indistinguishable from all other rats) or rare clover (likewise indistinguishable from all other clovers) are located, so the Environmental Protection Agency, PETA, and the Sierra Club will prevent any mining or processing (especially processing, because a rare-earth processing plant has a 1:1000000000000000000000000000000000000000 chance of causing cancer in left-handed Emperor penguins or causes ice to melt in the sun or some such nonsense).

Link Posted: 4/19/2010 8:32:45 AM EST
And you can't recycle these metals when the parts using them are no longer serviceable?
Link Posted: 4/19/2010 8:32:45 AM EST
Quoted:
Do fuel cells use rare earths?


Good question.  You're talking about the voodoo magic machines that recombine hydrogen from a tank and oxygen in the air to make electricity, right?

I have no idea.  Paging kieth...
Link Posted: 4/19/2010 8:34:47 AM EST
Quoted:
Quoted:
Do fuel cells use rare earths?


Good question.  You're talking about the voodoo magic machines that recombine hydrogen from a tank and oxygen in the air to make electricity, right?

I have no idea.  Paging kieth...


They aren't voodoo, they've been around for a long time.
Link Posted: 4/19/2010 8:35:23 AM EST
Quoted:
Quoted:
Quoted:
Do fuel cells use rare earths?


Good question.  You're talking about the voodoo magic machines that recombine hydrogen from a tank and oxygen in the air to make electricity, right?

I have no idea.  Paging kieth...


They aren't voodoo, they've been around for a long time.


Do you understand the physics behind them?  I sure don't.

hence, voodoo.
Link Posted: 4/19/2010 8:36:17 AM EST



Quoted:


This'll go way over the heads of the hippies...


They don't care.  Green is all about feel good, and little about facts.

 
Link Posted: 4/19/2010 8:38:45 AM EST
Quoted:

Quoted:
This'll go way over the heads of the hippies...

They don't care.  Green is all about feel good, and little about facts.  


Most of them are commies anyway, why would this concern them?
Link Posted: 4/19/2010 8:41:13 AM EST
This is all true and making and throwing away batteries is not exactly clean.
Link Posted: 4/19/2010 8:45:20 AM EST
Quoted:
This is all true and making and throwing away batteries is not exactly clean.


you better believe it.  all the acid in batteries is a huge problem for groundwater
Link Posted: 4/19/2010 8:49:40 AM EST
Quoted:
Hah!  I've been saying that all along.  The shit in a prius battery ain't exactly tofu and green beans.  God knows what kind of environmental impact comes from mining lithium and all that other stuff that's needed.


True.  But enviros are incapable of thinking in those terms.  All they see is evil oil and give no thought to the highly toxic heavy metal compounds found in batteries.
Link Posted: 4/19/2010 8:54:45 AM EST
Do fuel cells use rare earths?


Currently all good fuel cells require a lot of platinum, its only one of the rarest of them all and what has kept the fuel cell industry from taking off.

There has been a recent breakthrough that eliminates platinum, but as of now its a wait and see.
Link Posted: 4/19/2010 9:29:04 AM EST
Quoted:
This'll go way over the heads of the hippies...


Sort of like long division or even subtracting with a calculator.  

Not a joke, I had high school students that couldn't subtract or divide with a calculator because they didn't know which number to enter first.  They did think democrats were great though.
Link Posted: 4/19/2010 11:38:33 AM EST
Quoted:
Quoted:
Quoted:
Quoted:
Do fuel cells use rare earths?

Good question.  You're talking about the voodoo magic machines that recombine hydrogen from a tank and oxygen in the air to make electricity, right?
I have no idea.  Paging kieth...

They aren't voodoo, they've been around for a long time.

Do you understand the physics behind them?  I sure don't.
hence, voodoo.


Unknown electronic stuff = FM (Fucking Magic).  

Link Posted: 4/19/2010 11:41:20 AM EST
Am I wrong is saying that every single item on earth is limited?  We're not making more of anything unless we're using something....
Link Posted: 4/19/2010 11:41:26 AM EST
The Neocon rant kinda throws the whole article into WTF?
While the Saudis only control 10%, as the leader of OPEC, they control the taps by changing production.
Canada and Mexico don't control oil prices, OPEC (and Saudi Arabia) does.  And more to the point, Oil has fuck all to do with the article, so what is the point here?
Link Posted: 4/19/2010 11:44:50 AM EST



Quoted:


Do fuel cells use rare earths?


They use transition metals, most notably platinum.



 
Link Posted: 4/19/2010 11:45:58 AM EST





Quoted:



And you can't recycle these metals when the parts using them are no longer serviceable?



You certainly can, the question is: do you have enough of the materials in the first place to make enough of the vehicles.  



ETA:  As an example, a lot of the thin-film solar cells use a material called indium-tin oxide as a tranparent electrode.  There isn't enough indium on the planet to construct the quantity of cells required to produce a sizable fraction of our electric power needs.





 
Link Posted: 4/19/2010 11:57:11 AM EST
Quoted:
Quoted:
Quoted:
Quoted:
Do fuel cells use rare earths?


Good question.  You're talking about the voodoo magic machines that recombine hydrogen from a tank and oxygen in the air to make electricity, right?

I have no idea.  Paging kieth...


They aren't voodoo, they've been around for a long time.


Do you understand the physics behind them?  I sure don't.

hence, voodoo.


A fuel cell is actually quite simple in concept.  Think of it as being nothing more than a battery that uses fuel as a continuously feeding electrolyte. A typical battery only has self contained electrolyte that runs out.

To greatly simplify the operation of a fuel cell, they work by pumping hydrogen through a catalyst that splits off electrons and protons. The protons flow through a proton exchange membrane to a cathode, separating them from the electrons that go to the anode.  This creates current flow.

Making an efficient proton exchange membrane is extremely expensive. They also don't last and have about a 5 year life.
Link Posted: 4/19/2010 12:07:32 PM EST
you don't need those metals to make electric motors, just to make better electric motors.

You don't need fuel cells for electric cars.
Link Posted: 4/19/2010 12:50:32 PM EST



Quoted:


you don't need those metals to make electric motors, just to make better electric motors.



You don't need fuel cells for electric cars.


A good point.  The question is, is it possible to make effective and efficient hybrid or electric vehicles without those materials, or with the limited amounts available.  



 
Link Posted: 4/19/2010 1:07:06 PM EST
Possibly


Tl-Ba-Cu-oxide super conducts at 125 K
and all of the elements are mined here.
Link Posted: 4/19/2010 1:29:31 PM EST
Of course then you have to factor in a cryo system for the car, and realize that it takes energy to produce LN2.
Link Posted: 4/19/2010 2:43:04 PM EST
Quoted:

Quoted:
And you can't recycle these metals when the parts using them are no longer serviceable?

You certainly can, the question is: do you have enough of the materials in the first place to make enough of the vehicles.  

ETA:  As an example, a lot of the thin-film solar cells use a material called indium-tin oxide as a tranparent electrode.  There isn't enough indium on the planet to construct the quantity of cells required to produce a sizable fraction of our electric power needs.
 


Annual production of iridium is only 3 tons or so...and it sells for almost $400/gram at its cheapest.
Link Posted: 4/19/2010 3:27:42 PM EST
I guess that we could make as much as we needed using a super collider but that takes energy too.




Impeach Obama for being an Idiot.
Link Posted: 4/19/2010 3:33:19 PM EST
China hasn't been making a strategic investment in terrorism, though, have they?

I wouldn't worry about it yet. Especially since we can engineer our way out of it.

Trade offs...
Link Posted: 4/19/2010 3:36:17 PM EST
Related question...

are there any rare materials related to the production process of synthetic petroleum?
Link Posted: 4/19/2010 3:43:49 PM EST
Figures.



More ways to enrich and strengthen communist China. Trust me the liberals do know this and it's all part of the plan.




Link Posted: 4/19/2010 3:46:56 PM EST
Article is ridiculous.  Everything that goes into the production of a Prius (and a great many other things too!) is bought and sold on the global market.  If a manufacturer needs some quantity of a metal, he calls a supplier to get a market price for it.  If the supplier can't get very much cheaply, then he will ask an exorbitant price which will be passed along to the consumer, provided no other alternative is feasible.  This is pretty basic stuff folks.



The only time you ever hear Arfcom sniveling and whining about mining metals and manufacturing technology, is when the Prius is the subject.



Here's a couple of concepts for you:



Don't like the car?  Don't buy one.



OR



Buy them now, because they are stuffed to the gills with "rare-earth metals" which will provide a comfortable retirement for you when the supply runs out.





Link Posted: 4/19/2010 3:53:43 PM EST
Quoted:
Quoted:
This is all true and making and throwing away batteries is not exactly clean.


you better believe it.  all the acid in batteries is a huge problem for groundwater


Imagine the mess every time there is a major accident on the roads.

Link Posted: 4/19/2010 3:56:05 PM EST
The majority of ARFcom is proud to burn tire and dump oil down the storm sewer but now they are concerned about lead acid batteries in the unlikely event that they are cracked open in an accident?
Link Posted: 4/19/2010 4:35:27 PM EST



Quoted:


The majority of ARFcom is proud to burn tire and dump oil down the storm sewer but now they are concerned about lead acid batteries in the unlikely event that they are cracked open in an accident?


Only if the batteries are Prius batteries.  The bigger batteries in an F250 are good to go!







 
Link Posted: 4/19/2010 5:26:16 PM EST
Quoted:
This is all true and making and throwing away batteries is not exactly clean.


Ya'll are so silly.......

Learn before you speak.......

Electric forklifts that have been around since the 40's use a lead acid battery that weighs oh about 1,500 lbs. We recycle those every day. A battery company pays use about 500 bucks each, picks them up pulles them apart and recycles them.
Link Posted: 4/20/2010 5:20:58 AM EST
Quoted:
Quoted:
This is all true and making and throwing away batteries is not exactly clean.


Ya'll are so silly.......

Learn before you speak.......

Electric forklifts that have been around since the 40's use a lead acid battery that weighs oh about 1,500 lbs. We recycle those every day. A battery company pays use about 500 bucks each, picks them up pulles them apart and recycles them.


How many electric forklifts versus how many cars that would be on the road?

Link Posted: 4/20/2010 5:27:34 AM EST
Again I ask, what is the real environmental impact of the production of these so-called green products?  The energy that goes into mining and processing such rare materials probably far outweighs the benefit.  I wonder how much fossil fuel is burned to create a Prius.
Link Posted: 4/20/2010 11:56:51 AM EST



Quoted:



Quoted:


Quoted:

This is all true and making and throwing away batteries is not exactly clean.




Ya'll are so silly.......



Learn before you speak.......



Electric forklifts that have been around since the 40's use a lead acid battery that weighs oh about 1,500 lbs. We recycle those every day. A battery company pays use about 500 bucks each, picks them up pulles them apart and recycles them.





How many electric forklifts versus how many cars that would be on the road?





There's plenty.  He's exactly right.  We operate dozens of them (a small percentage of our fleet), and they get replaced every few years.  A single forklift battery that gets replaced every 3-5 years contains as much material as 20 large car batteries.  A battery powered forklift that operates 24/7 needs to have 3 batteries to support it.  8 hrs to operate, 8 hrs to charge and 8 to cool down.  Otherwise the life is dramatically shortened.  With states like California clamping down so hard on the amount of indoor air pollution, it is getting difficult to continue using superior and cheaper propane forklifts, and these will probably be replaced by electric as they age, so that means more batteries.



A single electric forklift can contain as much "battery evilness" as 60 cars!



Honestly, I don't see anyone lining up to bash lead or acid from any source OTHER than the tiny Prius battery.



This is a complete non-issue.





 
Link Posted: 4/20/2010 11:58:54 AM EST



Quoted:


Again I ask, what is the real environmental impact of the production of these so-called green products?  The energy that goes into mining and processing such rare materials probably far outweighs the benefit.  I wonder how much fossil fuel is burned to create a Prius.


Who cares?  Who believes any of that crap anyway?  I swear the only time ARFCOM goes full retard is when a Prius is discussed.



 
Link Posted: 4/20/2010 12:41:41 PM EST
Quoted:
Again I ask, what is the real environmental impact of the production of these so-called green products?  The energy that goes into mining and processing such rare materials probably far outweighs the benefit.  I wonder how much fossil fuel is burned to create a Prius.

Do you actually care?  I mean, really?  You could be one of the few ARFCom GD'ers who does, or is willing to admit it - I don't know - but given the tendencies of this place, I have to doubt it.  So what's your point?
Link Posted: 4/20/2010 1:46:49 PM EST
They should just use the souls of babies and get it over with. How rare and green would that be?
Link Posted: 4/20/2010 1:51:47 PM EST
Say that the majority of cars in this country ran on fuel cells whose only emission is clean, pure, water vapor.

Wouldn't that cause an environmental problem by raising the humidity ?
Link Posted: 4/20/2010 1:57:47 PM EST




Ken ya tell me where to go a look'n for this here Iridium?
Link Posted: 4/20/2010 2:05:49 PM EST



Quoted:


Am I wrong is saying that every single item on earth is limited?  We're not making more of anything unless we're using something....


Well, bullshit and stupidity have no bounds, but you're pretty much correct.



 
Link Posted: 4/20/2010 2:19:02 PM EST



Quoted:





Quoted:

And you can't recycle these metals when the parts using them are no longer serviceable?


You certainly can, the question is: do you have enough of the materials in the first place to make enough of the vehicles.  



ETA:  As an example, a lot of the thin-film solar cells use a material called indium-tin oxide as a tranparent electrode.  There isn't enough indium on the planet to construct the quantity of cells required to produce a sizable fraction of our electric power needs.

 


I thought solar cells could be made with a photocopier and a pizza oven now?



 
Link Posted: 4/20/2010 3:45:55 PM EST




Quoted:





Quoted:





Quoted:

And you can't recycle these metals when the parts using them are no longer serviceable?


You certainly can, the question is: do you have enough of the materials in the first place to make enough of the vehicles.



ETA: As an example, a lot of the thin-film solar cells use a material called indium-tin oxide as a tranparent electrode. There isn't enough indium on the planet to construct the quantity of cells required to produce a sizable fraction of our electric power needs.



I thought solar cells could be made with a photocopier and a pizza oven now?





You still need a transparent electrode.  There are organic ones, but none of them currently work as well as the metal oxides.  Graphene is promising, but it's a fairly new material.
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