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Berkeley Lab seeks to help US assert scientific leadership in critical materials
Date:1/11/2012

manufactured, such as car batteries, and see if the battery can be designed and manufactured in a way to get the same performance but so that not only do we not waste anything but also puts the metal in a form that we can get it back," said McMahon.

The analysis and modeling adds two other dimensions missing from many other lifecycle analyses: place and time. "If you look at a plant in California versus Wyoming, there's different weather, different water availability, different pollutants, so it matters where you are," McMahon said. "It also matters when you do it: things like photovoltaics are evolving, so five years from now, it will be different materials and different technologies."

Many factors ranging from political events to environmental trends to changes in markets for products influence the availability of resources for manufactured goods. "A critical material today wasn't a critical material 20 or 30 years ago," Houle said. "Who knows what the crisis is going to be in 30 years. The main goal should be to be more resilient to shortages. Having alternatives and good reuse and recycling programs is essential."


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Contact: Julie Chao
jhchao@lbl.gov
510-486-6491
DOE/Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
Source:Eurekalert

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