Black Gold Alchemist writes: Dowa, a Japanese mining company in Kosaka has begun the recycling of rare earth metals from used cellphones and computers. This is in response to a recent, temporary trade embargo from China, which is the leading supplier of rare earth metals needed for production of products including hybrid cars, wind turbines, and LCD screens. Because of the shortage of rare earth metals, the Japanese trade minister, Akihiro Ohata is asking the government to include a rare earth strategy in its supplementary budget for this year.
Black Gold Alchemist writes: The Google-backed stealth startup Sundrop Fuels is apparently working on a solar powered gasification project in Broomfield, Colorado. This plant will refine almost any kind of biomass (including cellulose), into premium synthetic fuels, such as biogasoline. The produced fuels will be an exact, drop-in replacement for petroleum-based fuels. The plant uses a mirror array to focus sunlight and heat up the biomass, so that the raw biomass decomposes into a mixture of hydrogen and carbon monoxide known as syngas. This mixture is then used in the Fischer-Tropsch process to produce hydrocarbons of different varieties. The mirror array will be made by Google-backed eSolar.