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?