Category: Mineral Foundations of the Energy Transition

How a clean energy future is colliding with mining’s dark past 9/22/2022

How a clean energy future is colliding with mining’s dark past

Payne Institute Program Manager Jordy Lee contributes to this article about how no one wants a mine in their backyard. Clean energy will require a lot of metal.  As global demand for these “critical minerals,” a group that includes lithium, cobalt, nickel, and copper, is projected to increase by 400-600 percent driven by a surge in manufacturing of renewable technologies.  September 22, 2022. 

The Inflation Reduction Act Is the Start of Reclaiming Critical Mineral Chains 9/16/2022

The Inflation Reduction Act Is the Start of Reclaiming Critical Mineral Chains

Payne Institute Director Morgan Bazilian and Gregory Brew write about how green technologies depend on the supply of a few key resources.  But one important component of the the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) has been largely overlooked. Built within the IRA is a commitment to increasing the domestic U.S. supply of critical minerals—lithium, nickel, manganese, and graphite, among others—to provide the materials necessary for a vast expansion in electric vehicles (EVs), batteries, and renewable power production infrastructure. September 16, 2022.

Lithium mining’s water use sparks bitter conflicts and novel chemistry 9/13/2022

Lithium mining’s water use sparks bitter conflicts and novel chemistry

Payne Institute Faculty Fellow Jessica Smith is featured on this podcast exploring the impact of the world’s hunger for lithium-ion batteries, an important tool in the fight against climate change. Mining of lithium used to manufacture batteries in electric cars comes with a cost to the local environment and access to water. September 13, 2022.

Shifts in the Energy Workforce 9/6/2022

Shifts in the Energy Workforce

Payne Institute Critical Minerals Research Associate Caitlin McKennie, Director Morgan Bazilian, and Sustainable Finance Lab Program Manager Brad Handler write about how the recent passage of the Inflation Reduction Act heralds an unprecedented era of climate investment for the U.S. Such investment brings with it the promise of new jobs across the clean energy landscape. For rural communities that have historically depended on fossil fuel development or use, however, included several in Colorado, the outlook is at least more complicated.   September 6, 2022.

Colorado School of Mines, BHP announce founding partnership for Global Energy Future Initiative 8/30/2022

Colorado School of Mines, BHP announce founding partnership for Global Energy Future Initiative

Colorado School of Mines Global Energy Future Initiative and BHP announce a founding partnership ahead of the Inaugural Global Energy Future Innovation Forum and Innov8x Challenge set for Sept. 7-8.  BHP becomes a founding partner of the initiative to drive innovative sustainable energy solutions. Through this partnership, BHP will sponsor research projects and participate in steering committees and working groups, adding industry expertise to solve complex problems. In exchange for their expertise, BHP will gain access to cutting-edge research critical to building a sustainable future for the mining industry. Through this partnership, BHP and GEFI aim to develop renewable, secure, resilient, and adaptive energy systems and infrastructure, fostering worldwide economic development while reducing environmental impacts.  August 30, 2022.

Woburn startup wants to steer the steel industry away from coal 8/29/2022

Woburn startup wants to steer the steel industry away from coal

Payne Institute Faculty Fellow John Speer contributes to this article about how Boston Metal has developed a way to manufacture iron using sustainable electricity.  The startup, Boston Metal, wants to help the steel industry reduce its dependence on burning coal-based fuel and use electricity instead — ideally sustainably produced electricity from sources such as hydropower or solar.  August 29, 2022.

More Than Just a ‘School of Mines,’ CSM Is a Major Player in Climate Research 8/25/2022

More Than Just a ‘School of Mines,’ CSM Is a Major Player in Climate Research

Payne Institute Director Morgan Bazilian contributed to this article about how the Colorado School of Mines, with its historic connection to fossil fuel and mineral extraction, would seem an unlikely place for a high-level pursuit of the transition from a world powered by fossil fuels to a world of clean energy.  However, Mines recognizes that saving our planet depends on transitioning from oil and gas to other forms of energy that reduce or eliminate greenhouse gas emissions.  August 25, 2022.

The case for closing coal plants at scale 8/23/2022

The case for closing coal plants at scale

Deb Chattopadhyay, Payne Institute Sustainable Finance Lab Program Manager Brad Handler, and Director Morgan Bazilian write about how pressure to retire coal-fired power plants is building due to economic and environmental concerns. Four business models can be applied to plant closures but greater efficiencies can be achieved when there are coal plant closures-at-scale.  A hybrid model is likely better when a country or region wants to look at a large programme of coal plant closures-at-scale.  August 23, 2022.  

Perceptions and realities of mercury contamination in a Peruvian artisanal and small-scale gold mining (ASGM) community 8/22/2022

Perceptions and realities of mercury contamination in a Peruvian artisanal and small-scale gold mining (ASGM) community

Rolando Quispe Aquino, Payne Institute Research Associate Aaron Malone, Faculty Fellow Nicole M. Smith, and Fredy Fortunato García Zúñiga write about how artisanal and small-scale gold mining (ASGM) is the leading global source of mercury pollution. Efforts to reduce or eliminate mercury use in ASGM have produced limited results, in part because they do not engage the complex socio-technical nature of mercury issues in ASGM. The paper takes a multidisciplinary approach to understand the mercury issue with a socio-technical lens, pairing sampling of mercury in soils with surveys of miners’ and residents’ perceptions of mercury pollution and its dispersion.  August 22, 2022.