Royal Society: Oh dear fucking God

Demand for rare
earth elements has undergone a sharp rise in recent
years. The price of lanthanum oxide has risen from
US$5 per kilogram in early 2010 to US$140 per
kilogram in June 2011 (DOE 2011).

Please tell me they\’re joking?

They\’re using a price rise stemming from the Chinese imposition of quotas and restrictions on mining to point to a rise in demand and thus the scarcity of the resource?

Sirsly?

About 15000
tons per year of the lanthanides are consumed
as catalysts, in magnets and in the production of
glasses.

150,000 tonnes, fuckwits.

7 comments on “Royal Society: Oh dear fucking God

  1. Wait, it may just be their sloppy writing, but “consumed as catalysts”?

    Are they meaning the manufacture of new catalyst systems?

  2. Wikipedia, which gives a source, has

    About 15000 ton/year of the lanthanides are consumed as catalysts and in the production of glasses. This 15000 tons corresponds to about 85% of the lanthanide production.

    . Perhaps the Royal Society copied from them, introducing another error as it did so by treating the 85% as the whole.

    Unsurprisingly enough, Wikipedia and the Royal Society are wrong, as Tim says. This source gives annual global demand (of rare earth oxides) as a little over 50,000 metric tons.

    According to Wikipedia, the largest single use is in catalytic converters. The precious metals in them would be worth recycling, so perhaps the lanthanides get recycled too.

  3. I thought the point of a catalyst was that it DIDN’T get “consumed”?

    In the actual reaction, yes – but repeated heating and cooling cycles, contaminants etc will result in wastage (even if not actual chemical conversion) of the catalyst. And then, of course, you have the ones that are dumped at the end of the useful life of the machine and not recycled.

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  6. Oh, dear.

    but – you’ve been warned – with added heavy swearing

    So we’ve got a Guardian journalist and editor insisting that the full force of the law be employed to force us to live the way he thinks we should. Yet objects to two uses of the word “fuck”.

    What a strange and sheltered world these aged infants live in.

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