eiXtra: published by NEMA (Image) Hot Topics
On the Hill/Around the Nation
International News
Monday, February 7, 2011
feature story
Rare Earth Elements Equal Green Energy

Scandium is used in s in high-intensity discharge lamps and light bulbs.
Scandium is used in high-intensity discharge lamps and light bulbs.
The January issue of Chemistry World includes a warning on impending shortages of certain elements. Among them are the rare earth elements, in particular neodymium, production of which, it is reckoned, will have to increase five times to build enough magnets for the number of wind turbines deemed necessary for a fully renewable future. Rough calculations indicate that this would still take 50–100 years to implement, depending on exactly what proportion of the renewable electricity budget would be met from wind power, and if the manufacturing capacity and other resources of materials and energy needed for this Herculean task will prevail.

Neodymium is a rare earth metal used extensively to produce permanent magnets found in everything from computer hard disks and cell phones to wind turbines and cars. Neodymium magnets are the strongest permanent magnets known, and a neodymium magnet of a few grams can lift a thousand times its own weight. The magnets that drive a Toyota Prius hybrid’s electric motor use around 1 kilogram of neodymium, while 10–15 kg of lanthanum is used in its battery. Interestingly, neodymium magnets were invented in the 1980s to overcome the global cobalt supply shock that occurred as the result of internal warfare in Zaire (now Congo). Around one ton of Rare Earth Elements (REE) based permanent magnets is needed to provide each MW of wind-turbine power.

By alloying neodymium with dysprosium, magnets are created that more readily maintain their magnetism at the high temperatures of hybrid car engines. However, far more dysprosium relative to neodymium is required than occurs naturally in the REE ores, meaning that another source of dysprosium must be found if hybrid cars are to be manufactured at a seriously advancing rate. 97 percent of REEs come from China, and it appears that China will run out of dysprosium within 15 years, or sooner if demand continues to soar.

Peak oil may already be with us, and peak coal in 10–15 years, while peak lithium remains a subject of speculation. Peak neodymium is the latest threat to green energy, while doubt emerges over the security of many other element groups including the rare earths, the platinum group metals, and elements such as antimony, beryllium, gallium, germanium, graphite, indium, magnesium, niobium, tantalum, and tungsten. Helium (used to cool superconducting magnets in hospital MRI scanners) and phosphorus (in agricultural fertilizers) are also under threat.

If even "renewables" cannot save us from waning fossil fuel depletion, the only solution is to begin the deceleration of consumption to a lower-energy society based around local communities immediately, with vastly reduced inputs of energy and all kinds of "mined" resources. Recycling must be key to this most difficult transitional step, in hand with a new concept of a "circular economy," that aims to model nature where nothing is wasted.

Source: Chris Rhodes, Forbes/Energy Source blog

We thank you for your cooperation in improving the quality of our materials.
Please contact Bill Green
at Communications@nema.org if you have any questions or suggestions related to eiXtra.

Hot Topics

For MRI Breast Screening, Second Time's a Charm
The rate of false positives from MRI breast screening drops almost in half when patients have earlier scans that can be used for comparison, according to a study published online this week and in the April print edition of the journal Radiology.

Canadian Affiliate of Electrical Safety Foundation International Launched
The Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) announced the establishment of ESFI Canada, a designated affiliate of ESFI. The announcement was made by ESFI President Brett Brenner during a presentation at the 18th Annual IEEE IAS Electrical Safety Workshop in Toronto, Ontario.

[ top ]
• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

On the Hill/Around the Nation

Senator Jeff Bingaman Negotiates Parameters of "Clean-Energy Standards"
Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chairman Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.) is working with the White House to iron out the details of a broad proposal to require that 80 percent of the country’s electricity come from "clean" sources.

[ top ]
• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

International News

U.S.-Oman Joint Economic Forum
Date: March 6–8, 2011
The Oman Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the U.S. Embassy in Muscat will co-host the U.S.-Oman Joint Economic Forum in Muscat on March 6–8, 2011. With the goal of generating revenue through U.S.-Oman trade and investment, the forum is an exciting opportunity for American and Omani companies.

For further information, please contact Dylan Davis at ddavis@nusacc.org or (202) 289-5920.

Trade Winds Forum—Mexico and the Americas
Date: April 6–12, 2011
City: Mexico City, Mexico
If you are new to the Americas or are looking to tap into new markets, the Trade Winds Forum is the ideal launching point for expansion throughout the region.

[ top ]
• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

NEMAcast podcast (Icon)NEMA podcast for the electroindustry.

NEMAcast focuses on news, information, and opportunities in the electroindustry. Listen online at podcast.nema.org. NEMAcast has several channels, each with a special focus on different parts of the electroindustry.


Industry News


Mergers & Acquisitions

  • Hologic Acquires Interlace Medical
    Hologic, Inc. announced it has acquired Interlace Medical, Inc., the developer and manufacturer of the MyoSure hysteroscopic tissue removal system. 01/24/11


  • GrafTech Announces Two Appointments
    GrafTech International Ltd. announced that it has appointed Mark R. Widmar as president of the Engineered Solutions segment. Hermanus L. Pretorius, who was previously the president of the Engineered Solutions segment, has been appointed president of Seadrift Coke. 01/26/11

[ Industry News Archives ]


NEMA’s Vids4Grids on Surge Arresters
This episode of Vids for Grids will take us to Hubbell's surge arrester plant in Aiken, SC where we will learn the role surge arresters play in the Smart Grid.
  • NEMA Responds to Court Ruling on Transmission Corridors
    NEMA expressed its disappointment with the outcome of the Department of Energy’s (DOE) efforts to establish two National Interest Electric Transmission Corridors (NIETC) as a result of yesterday’s decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit that overturned DOE’s 2007 NIETC designations. 02/03/11

  • NEMA Announces Smart Grid Interoperable & Conformant Product Strategy
    To further promote the development and deployment of the Smart Grid, NEMA announces the Smart Grid Interoperable & Conformant™ (SGIC™) testing scheme to promote testing for products and devices based on the Smart Grid standards identified by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the Smart Grid Interoperability Panel (SGIP). 02/02/11

Standardizations Trends

[ NEMA News Archives ]


[ top ]

Market Comments by Tom Robinson
Last week generally gave us good economic report except on the employment front. In the case of employment the rate fell in December to 9%, the lowest since April 2009, according to the Labor Department. read more...

Eicareers.org: The Electroindustry Career Portal - powered by NEMA (Image)
Job Title Company Name
Process Engineer Hydro Aluminum
Senior Quality Assurance Engineer Braden Manufacturing
Click here to view ALL job Listings

To view this email on the web, go to http://www.nema.org/media/eiextra/briefs/20110207eiXtra.htm

Event Calendar
February 2011
  1 2 3 4 5
6 7 8 9 10 11 12
13 14 15 16 17 18 19
20 21 22 23 24 25 26
27 28
Useful Links
Other Links
To Subscribe

NEMA Media Guide 2011 - (Advertisement)

NEMA's Electrical Standards and Products Guide (ESPG) - (Advertisement)

CSA Advertisement

UL Advertisement

NEMA's Vids for Grids

Subscribe to NEMAcast (Advertisement)

NEMACurrents Blog (Advertisement)

NEMA on YouTube (Advertisement)

NEMAupdates (Advertisement)

2011 National Electrical Manufacturers Association. eiXtra is a biweekly e-newsletter for electroindustry professionals summarizing key manufacturer, standardization, and regulatory news. NEMA does not sell or release subscriber's personal information and will never willfully disclose individually identifiable information to any third party without first receiving your permission. Privacy policy.
Follow NEMA: Blog BlogPodcasts PodcastsTwitter TwitterYouTube YouTubeLinkedIn LinkedIn
Printer-friendly version of eiXtra