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Woo Hoo!

A new study investigates a novel process for lessening the negative environmental impact of coal mine drainage and extracting rare-earth elements from it, precious minerals needed to manufacture many high-tech devices.


The process is currently more costly than the current market price of rare metals,


“Rare-earth elements, like yttrium, for example, are necessary components of electronics, computers, and other gadgets that we use every day,” said Jeff Bielicki, co-author of the study and an associate professor in civil environmental and geodetic engineering and the John Glenn College of Public Affairs at The Ohio State University.

If this is being led by some tosser who thinks yttrium is widely used in electronics (jet engines and nickel alloys, maybe) then we’ve a problem right there.

But there’s a lovely thing here. This is an output of Trump era subsidies. There was a big push to find something – anything – that could be got out of coal. To, you know, save those coal miners’ jobs. To the point there were subsidies flying around for all sorts of things. Capture rare metals from coal! But, umm, don’t try to capture rare metals like germanium from fly ash, you can have some money to do it from clinker though. The thing being that fly ash works, clinker and raw coal doesn’t – but jobs!

No, really, this whole rare earths from coal thing is a Trump era policy. Damn fool thing too. But none of those about to laud this are going to connect it to Trump now, are they?

7 thoughts on “Woo Hoo!”

  1. What’s negative about the drainage of coal mines on the environment?
    The steam engine was started as a way of draining coal mines, and seeded the entire industrial revolution, FFS.

  2. “The steam engine was started as a way of draining coal mines”

    I thought it was draining tin mines (in England at least) myself – coal was not particularly wanted as long as there was wood.

    As for yttrium being wanted, the questions to ask are “how much and for how much?”

  3. @Ed P
    YAG is yttrium-aluminum-garnet. YIG is yttrium-iron-garnet, which is used for tunable microwave bandpass filters.

    Then you have YBCO yttrium-barium-copper-oxide, which is used for high temperature superconductors.

  4. ‘The earliest examples for which reliable records exist were two engines in the Black Country, of which the more famous was that erected in 1712 at the Conygree Coalworks in Bloomfield Road Tipton now the site of “The Angle Ring Company Limited”, Tipton.’

    These are the first, M. If you believe wiki that is. But they did use them in tin mines as well, of course.

    As for coal, Eleanor of Provence is said to have fled Nottingham as the plebs were burning horrid coal, not decent wood as real people did. Of course Eleanor of Aquitaine fled the wood smoke in Tutbury castle 100 years earlier. So I suppose they were both wimps just like me. As was Edward 1, who banned coal burning in London in 1306 while Parliament was in session.

  5. As was Edward 1, who banned coal burning in London in 1306 while Parliament was in session.

    If only we could give the modern bansturbators the same fate as his successor!

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