Critical materials are once more the center of attention with a focus on some countries developing new supply positions be Australia for silicon raw materials (Mining.com) or Africa and Vietnam for rare earth elements (Brookings and Argus Media). Also some interesting analysis about critical energy minerals and their associated geopolitical tensions (Energy Magazine and Reuters) as well as an overview of global lithium production over the past 25 years (Visual Capitalist). Last but not least, some clarification about eligible EVs and eligible countries for the US Inflation Reduction Act - LFP batteries qualify even though iron and phosphate are not listed as critical minerals (US Treasury Department).
Now on the scientific front with new bioplastics developed through a common project of University of Amsterdam, Lego and Avantium (Nature Communications), cobalt free cathodes at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, lithium vanadium oxide anodes at Yokohama and Kyoto Universities (Nature Materials), more safety for Li Ion batteries at Standford and SLAC (Materials Today), further improvement in throughput and power consumption thanks to spintronics at Tohoku, Messina and Santa Barbara Universities, liquid tin to mitigate corrosion of nuclear reactors (Tokyo Institute of Technology), epigraphene platform for nanoelectronics at Georgia Tech (Nature Communications). And of course the great news as for the first time we got more energy from nuclear fusion than the laser energy used to drive it (LLNL).
Regarding sustainability initiatives we chose to highlight a review on electronic wastes and their possible contribution to sustainability (Nature), a breakthrough solar desalination technology (Ural Federal University), an AI platform to drive more sustainable urban centers in development in Switzerland (EPFL), new paths to produce fertilisers without CO2 emissions and new recycled concrete aimed to build post-war Ukraine (ETH Zürich). And finally how to harvest heat from data centers for heating urban areas (CleanTechnica)
Also 15 of our Start Up alumni were in the news this month with a series C financing (Citrine Informatics - USA), tech growth funding (CompPair - Switzerland, Nitricity - USA), many partnerships announced or ongoing (Bcomp - Switzerland with Super Formula, Citrine Informatics - USA with Elektroninks, Cold Pad - France with companies in Singapore, UK and Angola, UbiQD - USA with the NASA), some awards or nominations (BeFC - France, FREDsense - USA,Lixo - France), some significant scale-ups (Carbios - France, Cycladex - USA, FREDsense - USA, Graphene Manufacturing Group - Australia) and many interesting press articles as usual (UBQ Materials - Israel, Woodoo - France, Zeta Energy - USA).
As always, we hope that you enjoy the reading.
The WMF Editorial Team. Victoire de Margerie, Sélène Ciancioni & Valentin Desbuis
Mining.com, December 11th: Developing a supply chain for silicon key to Australia's leadership in solar energy