deep sea rocksI got to admit it – when I saw the image above and made a connection with the gist of the story, I thought that it had something to do with kaiju poop. Apparently, what is depicted above is actually a deep sea rock, and it could very well hold the key to help smartphones and tablets of the future to be created and manufactured at a far more affordable rate, considering the amount of rare earth metals required to make up a smartphone or tablet. The deep sea rock comprises of lumps of iron and magnesium, which are known as ferromanganese nodules. Found strewn across the ocean floor, they take time to build up, with earth metals attaching to the nodules.

German geochemists have successfully discovered that when the solvent Desferal is applied to the lumps of ferromanganese, they were successful in extracting up to 80 percent of the earth metals, which could then be stored and repurposed. Other than mobile devices, these could see action in solar panels and wind turbines.

Considering how 95% of the 130,000 metric tons of earth metals are mined each year in China, and the demand growing to a projected 185,000 metric tons minimum in two years’ time, demand is going nowhere but up. Extracting earth metals from ferromanganese lumps would be able to help address the current imbalance of the world’s stockpile of rare earth metals, while preventing a situation where a monopoly ruins pricing tiers.

Filed in Gadgets. Read more about science. Source: psfk

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