Improving energy efficiency to counter global warming
Hitachi should read Lewis' articles then they'd know that global warming was nothing to worry about.
Japanese electronics giant Hitachi has unveiled what it claims to be a highly efficient mid-sized electric motor built without using the rare earth minerals which have become essential to the production of much of modern technology. The 11kw motor is designed to power pumps or fans in factories and tunnels and should be ready …
........ the prices for the products will remain the same to the consumer as if they had rare earths in. Patent lawyers will see to it.
All that will happen is the profit will be moved from China to some courtroom.
Still, at least the environment gains I suppose, so not all bad.
The beauty of capitalism is the continous development of products caused by competition. I grew up in Hungary during the communist years and believe me without competition which is the basic difference between the capitalist and communist systems you could not even comment about this article, because if it was not for the beauty of capitalism we would not even have internet.
"In any case, in a few years the dreaded Chinese rare earth monopoly will have collapsed, with the assistance of the Chinese themselves, and the free world can enjoy its hybrid vehicles, its smartphones, its Tomahawk missiles, and its night vision goggles free of the anxiety that China will make the rare earth world go dark."
but this particular item is a fairly specialist bit of kit (an enormous synchronous motor). Most industrial motor applications (excluding robotic and CNC axis positioning servos) presumably just use boring old 3-phase async AC motors which don't even need normal magnets, let alone rare earth ones. We're not quite out of the rare earth woods yet.
At least half of current rare earth usage is in consumer and business electronics. Only a few percent is in industrial and automotive electric motors -- but Hitachi, Toyota, and Nissan naturally want to reduce that to nil, and have all recently announced efficient rare-earth-free motor designs.
That means they produce 97%, not that 97% of the stuff in the earth's crust happens to be in China. There's plenty of rare earths everywhere else, only it's cheaper to extract them in China because of low labour costs and a, shall, we say, rather cavalier approach to environmental standards.
Of course getting them anywhere else would be more expensive, but I doubt that would affect individual bits of kit that much, a device such as a smartphone, TV etc etc would only contain a few micrograms of rare earths
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There are huge desposits in Canada and Australia. But digging up toxic heavy metals with rock grinders is not kind to one's lungs. In the first world theres understandable health and safety concerns which makes them expensive to mine. China doesn't have the same worries about its staff with its unlimited supply of willing men with shovels, so is able to undercut the other countries. The claim about improving environment conditions isn't a wild statement.
So its not that China has the supply of rare earth minerals, just that they are prepared to dig them up at a cost people will buy.
BOTH apply. The only way you can make rare earths cheap enough to be economically viable is to use an inexpensive mining resource. China has that inexpensive mining resource (a surplus of desperate people). In their eyes, it's killing two canaries with one mine: brutal but true.
Apparently, there are undersea deposits with much greater concentrations than those found in China. There are also large undeveloped land based deposits in Australia, India, Vietnam and other Asian countries.
Since these minerals are frequently found in volcanic vents undersea, they are very deep but Japan is looking at robotic mining methods. Where those volcanic deposits have been pushed above ground, they can be more easily mined. Extracting the minerals from ore is the problem as they have to be disolved with toxic acids and reacted to extract only the desired elements, then oxidizing furnaces create the actual compounds that are required. The whole production path is fraught with environmental and energy issues.
Y. Kato et al. Deep-sea mud in the Pacific Ocean as a potential resource for rare-earth elements. Nature Geoscience. Published online July 3, 2011. doi:10.1038/NGEO1185.
Rare Earths are all over the planet. Part of the reason they are called 'earths' is that they bind with substances in the crust. The reason China has a near monopoly is that they are found with radium.
So the radium is in the ground - harmless. You dig it up and take out the rare earths. You would think that you could put the radium back in the ground where it would be exactly as dangerous as it was before. But no. In western countries, this common substance is now treated as nuclear wastes that must be 'protected from the environment' for millions of years. And if you don't deal with it, there are plenty of environmental groups willing to sue you.
The rare earth 'shortage' will vanish at exactly the same time as we get sane laws about dealing with low level radioactive wastes.
Warm regards, Rick.
Your point about the widespread nature of rare earth oxides is true to a point, but the fact is that discovered minable concentrations are less common than for most other ores. US and world resources are contained primarily in bastnäsite and monazite. Bastnäsite deposits in China and the United States constitute the largest percentage of the world's rare-earth economic resources, while monazite deposits in Australia, Brazil, China, India, Malaysia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and the US constitute the second largest segment. The remaining resources (apatite, cheralite, eudialyte, loparite, phosphorites, rare-earth-bearing (ion adsorption) clays, secondary monazite, spent uranium solutions, and xenotime) are still not felt to be profitable.
Add the fact that the profit-driven US industry drops out of any business as soon as it can be acquired more cheaply from China, and it's no wonder that China is now responsible for over 95% of the world rare earth production.
Your canard about interference from meddling environmental groups is simply disingenuous. When California's Mountain Pass mine closed down, they cited competition from China as the primary reason. Their only run-in with environmental issues stemmed from repeated spills of radioactive waste water; and all that cost them was a cleanup order and a tiny $1.4m fine. They're now back in business under Molycorp, and aren't being picketed by the Sierra Club.
"Add the fact that the profit-driven US industry drops out of any business as soon as it can be acquired more cheaply from China, and it's no wonder that China is now responsible for over 95% of the world rare earth production."
Thank you. That is the reason that 'rare' Earth's are produced in China. It's the same reason that iPhones are produced in China; The mega corp doesn't want to do anything if it can outsource it for less elsewhere. Everyone collectively outsourced RE production to China by closing or ignoring local solutions, and now teh same are complaining about it.
I also see lots of people complaining that "all the manufacturing jobs have gone to China", but they are all the people who are so proud of all their material things that they could only afford BECAUSE they were made in China, and it is these people buying the cheaper Chinese things that is pushing production there.
China should seize Taiwan to gain control of TSMC if the United States and its allies impose sanctions against the Middle Kingdom like those now in place against Russia, according to a prominent Chinese economist.
The move follows the suggestion last year out of the US that Taiwan should be prepared to destroy its semiconductor factories if China were to invade.
This latest development comes in a speech by Chen Wenling, chief economist for the China Center for International Economic Exchanges, delivered at the China-US Forum hosted by the Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies at Renmin University of China at the end of May. The text of the speech was posted to the Guancha (Observer) online news site.
The Cyberspace Administration of China has announced a policy requiring all comments made to websites to be approved before publication.
Outlined in a document published last Friday and titled "Provisions on the Administration of Internet Thread Commenting Services", the policy is aimed at making China's internet safer, and better represent citizens' interests. The Administration believes this can only happen if comments are reviewed so that only posts that promote socialist values and do not stir dissent make it online.
To stop the nasties being published, the policy outlines requirements for publishers to hire "a review and editing team suitable for the scale of services".
Updated Intel has said its first discrete Arc desktop GPUs will, as planned, go on sale this month. But only in China.
The x86 giant's foray into discrete graphics processors has been difficult. Intel has baked 2D and 3D acceleration into its chipsets for years but watched as AMD and Nvidia swept the market with more powerful discrete GPU cards.
Intel announced it would offer discrete GPUs of its own in 2018 and promised shipments would start in 2020. But it was not until 2021 that Intel launched the Arc brand for its GPU efforts and promised discrete graphics silicon for desktops and laptops would appear in Q1 2022.
State-sponsored Chinese attackers are actively exploiting old vulnerabilities to "establish a broad network of compromised infrastructure" then using it to attack telcos and network services providers.
So say the United States National Security Agency (NSA), Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), which took the unusual step of issuing a joint advisory that warns allied governments, critical infrastructure operators, and private industry organizations to hurry up and fix their IT estates.
The advisory states that network devices are the target of this campaign and lists 16 flaws – some dating back to 2017 and none more recent than April 2021 – that the three agencies rate as the most frequently exploited.
The former director of the University of Arkansas’ High Density Electronics Center, a research facility that specialises in electronic packaging and multichip technology, has been jailed for a year for failing to disclose Chinese patents for his inventions.
Professor Simon Saw-Teong Ang was in 2020 indicted for wire fraud and passport fraud, with the charges arising from what the US Department of Justice described as a failure to disclose “ties to companies and institutions in China” to the University of Arkansas or to the US government agencies for which the High Density Electronics Center conducted research under contract.
At the time of the indictment, then assistant attorney general for national security John C. Demers described Ang’s actions as “a hallmark of the China’s targeting of research and academic collaborations within the United States in order to obtain U.S. technology illegally.” The DoJ statement about the indictment said Ang’s actions had negatively impacted NASA and the US Air Force.
The US arm of Chinese social video app TikTok has revealed that it has changed the default location used to store users' creations to Oracle Cloud's stateside operations – a day after being accused of allowing its Chinese parent company to access American users' personal data.
"Today, 100 percent of US user traffic is being routed to Oracle Cloud Infrastructure," the company stated in a post dated June 18.
"For more than a year, we've been working with Oracle on several measures as part of our commercial relationship to better safeguard our app, systems, and the security of US user data," the post continues. "We still use our US and Singapore datacenters for backup, but as we continue our work we expect to delete US users' private data from our own datacenters and fully pivot to Oracle cloud servers located in the US."
Opinion Last year, the US Army War College published a paper suggesting that the Taiwanese government might give TSMC's chip fabs their own self-destruct systems in case China invaded. At the time, China said it had no interest in TSMC, thus defusing the Strangelove scenario. Now, the Middle Kingdom's talking about changing its mind. It might want TSMC very much indeed.
This change of heart was signalled in May by a speech from a top Chinese economist, who proposed that should China be on the sticky end of the sort of sanctions the West has doled out to Russia, it should invade Taiwan pronto and nab TSMC's chip-churning capability sharpish. Suddenly, the American plan is back in the news.
Threat researcher Joey Chen of Sentinel Labs says he's spotted a decade worth of cyber attacks he's happy to attribute to a single Chinese gang.
Chen has named the group Aoqin Dragon, says its goal is espionage, and that it prefers targets in Australia, Cambodia, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Vietnam.
The gang is fond of attacks that start by inducing users to open poisoned Word documents that install a backdoor – often a threat named Mongall or a modified version of the open source Heyoka project.
Russia and China have each warned the United States that the offensive cyber-ops it ran to support Ukraine were acts of aggression that invite reprisal.
The US has acknowledged it assisted Ukraine to shore up its cyber defences, conducted information operations, and took offensive actions during Russia's illegal invasion.
While many nations occasionally mention they possess offensive cyber-weapons and won't be afraid to use them, admissions they've been used are rare. US Cyber Command chief General Paul Nakasone's public remarks to that effect were therefore unusual.
The saga of the US government's plan to rip and replace China-made communications kit from the country's networks has a new twist: following reports that applications for funding far outstripped the cash set aside, it appears two-thirds of such applications lack adequate cost estimates or sufficient supporting evidence.
The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) informed Congress that it had found deficiencies in 122 of the 181 of the applications filed with it by US carriers for funding to reimburse them for replacing telecoms equipment sourced from Chinese companies.
The FCC voted nearly a year ago to reimburse medium and small carriers in the US for removing and replacing all network equipment provided by companies such as Huawei and ZTE. The telecoms operators were required to do this in the interests of national security under the terms of the Secure and Trusted Communications Networks Act.
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