Electric vehicle makers in the United States may struggle to qualify their customers for a federal tax credit under new rules established by the Inflation Reduction Act. Top of the list is a supply chain overhaul focused on domestic sources. It could mean a new market for halloysite, and if you don’t know what it is, we’re all about to find out.
Critical Materials and Electric Vehicle Tax Credit
Cheers erupted from many electric vehicle fans when they learned that the new Inflation Reduction Act extends an existing federal tax credit and extends it for the next ten years, until up to $7,500 for new electric vehicles and up to $4,000 for used electric vehicles. .
However, there is a big catch. Under the new law, the full credit only applies to an electric vehicle that meets certain requirements.
Among these requirements is a clause covering the national source of critical materials used in batteries for electric vehicles and other clean technologies. That’s a problem because U.S. automakers rely heavily on overseas supply chains for some of these materials.
The Congressional Research Service described the problem last month as applied to lithium-ion batteries.
“These electric vehicle battery chemistries depend on five critical minerals whose national supply is potentially at risk of being disrupted: lithium, cobalt, manganese, nickel and graphite,” CRS explained. “The U.S. Geological Survey has designated these and other minerals as ‘critical,’ based on methodology codified in the Energy Act of 2020.”
“The United States is heavily dependent on imports of these minerals for use in electric vehicle batteries and other applications. The United States currently mines lithium, cobalt, and nickel, but does not currently mine manganese or graphite. “, they added.
In 2013, the United States created the Critical Materials Institute to accelerate the development of national supply chains for critical materials, including recycling. However, as the Congressional Research Service points out, there is still a long way to go.
What is halloysite?
The critical materials effort also focuses on alternative materials that can be developed domestically, and this is where halloysite comes in.
Halloysite is a clay mineral. It belongs to the group of kaolinite clays, which is mainly known as fine white clay kaolin used to make ceramics as well as paper and paint.
Check out this description from the US Geological Survey and see if you can tell where cleantech compatibility lies:
“The kaolinite group includes the dioctahedral minerals kaolinite, dickite, nacrite, and halloysite, and the trioctahedral minerals antigorite, chamosite, chrysotile, and cronstedite. The main structural unit of this group is a layer consisting of an octahedral sheet condensed with a tetrahedral sheet. In dioctahedral minerals, the octahedral site is occupied by aluminum; in trioctahedral minerals these sites are occupied by magnesium and iron.
“Kaolinite and halloysite are monolayer structures. Although dickite and nacrite have the same basic structure, the layer stacking sequence is different in these minerals. Kaolinite, dickite and nacrite occur as plates; halloysite, which may have a single layer of water between its sheets, occurs in a tubular form.
More hallyosite for the EV battery of the future
If you picked up these lines on a single-ply structure that comes in a tubular form, that’s what it is.
The connection is made of carbon nanotubes, a new (or newer) material that has countless clean technology applications.
The carbon nanotubes passed through the Clean Technica radar in 2014 as a next-generation solution for EV batteries, in the form of a graphene-doped film that could replace lithium in lithium-ion batteries.
“The end result would be an electric vehicle with additional energy storage built into its body panels, allowing it to recharge much faster and travel much farther than current technology allows,” we were excited about. ‘era.
We may have been ahead of ourselves in terms of carbon angle, but the nanotube concept has taken on new life in the form of halloysite.
Startup Ionic Mineral Technologies, for example, came out of stealth mode last week with a halloysite-derived nano-silicon material launched under the proprietary name Ionisil.
“The natural nanotubular structure of Halloysite allows Ionic MT to employ a ‘top-down’ approach to fabricating nano-silicon, exhibiting significant advantages in scalability and environmental sustainability over competitors,” the company explains. . The silicon part of the equation is a natural silicate shell.
Ionic MT’s case doesn’t hurt, it’s control of a group of halloysite deposits, which it claims to be the largest single source of high-purity halloysite in the world.
That could mean various locations around the world, but Ionic MT hints that a nationwide sourcing for U.S. EV makers is on the way.
“The company is launched just weeks after the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) was passed. IRA tax credits for electric vehicles are dependent on domestically produced battery minerals, a supply chain largely non-existent. Ionic MT is well positioned to meet this ‘Achilles heel’ of legislation and provide US-sourced minerals and battery materials,” they state.
Also, their website says Utah.
Halloysite takes off like a rocket (literal)
In addition to the potential to solve the domestic electric vehicle supply chain in the United States, halloysite could find its way into other areas of clean technology.
An interesting development is the creation of “nanorockets” based on a mixture of halloysite, silver nanoparticles and a photosensitive metal oxide nanotube material (in this case, α-Fe2O3). A research team is working from this angle to design a new method based on photodegradation for the treatment of organic wastewater.
“Compared to the traditional fabrication of tubular micro-/nanomotors, this strategy has the merit of using natural clay as substrates for an asymmetrical tubular structure, the abundance and the absence of necessary complex instruments” , explains the research team.
Another developing area is bioplastics, where researchers are looking for ways to improve durability and performance without using fossil-based inputs.
One avenue of bioplastics research involves nanoscale fillers. A recent article in the journal Materials AZOM lists silica, wollastonite, carbon nanotubes, double layered hydroxides, metal oxides and graphene oxide as well as halloysite nanotubes.
Fans of the emerging green hydrogen economy might also want to sit up and take notice. A study published last spring in the journal Nature investigated the use of halloysite in a hydrogen storage medium.
“Haloysite nanoclay as a single substrate exhibits favorable properties in terms of hydrogen adsorption using the incorporation of physisorption and spillover mechanisms,” the study concluded.
In an interesting twist, the storage medium also incorporates graphene quantum dots, in the form of a powder rendered from the juice of a red onion.
For those of you who want to DIY red onion juice into graphene quantum dots at home, you’ll need a good filter and a sealed autoclave capable of maintaining a temperature of 180 degrees centigrade for eight hours.
follow me on twitter @TinaMCasey.
Photo: Halloysite nanotubes for the battery of the electric vehicle of the future, courtesy of Ionic Mineral Technologies (via businesswire.com).
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