HAMNET Report 2nd April 2023

In a report issued by GDACS on Thursday, the Federal Emergency Management Agency in the US says that strong winds, tornadoes, hailstorms and thunderstorms continued to affect the Lower Mississippi Valley (in particular Mississippi, Georgia and Alabama) since 24th  March, causing severe weather-related incidents (particularly due to strong winds) that have resulted in casualties and damage.

FEMA reports, as of 28th  March, that there were 23 fatalities, 72 injured people and 82 people evacuated to shelters. In addition, FEMA reports 313 destroyed houses in Mississippi and up to 100 damaged houses in Georgia.

And on Friday evening our time, weather forecasters in the US were talking of threatening long-lasting tornadoes in Tennessee and surrounds.

HAMNET Western Cape has been informed by the organizers of the Two Oceans Marathon, which takes place in two weeks’ time, that they will not be requiring our communications services this year. No formal explanation has been given, but it appears they are going to try doing their own communications, and will see how things turn out. We hope that there will be no serious consequences.

Writing on Hackaday.com, Bryan Cockfield refers to the aspect of our hobby that involves bouncing signals off things. He says that the UK Meteor Beacon Project  hopes to encourage amateur radio operators and amateur radio astronomers to do more research about meteors as they interact with the atmosphere. A large radio beacon, which has already been placed into service, broadcasts a circularly-polarized signal in the six-meter band which is easily reflected back to Earth off meteors. Specialized receivers can pick up these signals, and are coordinated among a network of other receivers which stream the data they recover over the internet back to a central server.

With this information, the project can determine where the meteor came from, some of the properties of the meteor, and compute its trajectory by listening for the radio echoes the meteor produces. While this is still in the beginning phases and information is relatively scarce, the receivers seem to be able to be built around RTL-SDR modules that we have seen be useful across a wide variety of radio projects at an absolute minimum cost.

This is basically WSPR for meteors, using a steady beacon signal, and allowing receivers and servers to compile a data-stream of reflections and the directions they come from. This is yet another clever development to advance the ability to forecast what to expect and when.

Dailysabah.com says that Türkiye’s prompt response to the “disaster of the century” was featured on the agenda of the United Nations’ International Search and Rescue Advisory Group (INSARAG), with their secretariat and U.N. Disaster Assessment and Coordination (UNDAC) teams expressing their approval of the recovery efforts.

The evaluation report sent by INSARAG included said: (Quote) “The Government of Türkiye reacted quickly after the first earthquake and made an urgent declaration of a Level 4 disaster, which means a national disaster requiring international assistance. Long-term cooperation between the National Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD) and UNDAC/INSARAG made a collaborative response possible. AFAD coordinators in Ankara were on the phone with INSARAG an hour after the disaster. Our significant partnership with the AFAD allowed the rapid mobilization of international search and rescue assistance, which is critical in life-saving operations.” Close quote.

Meanwhile, houses destroyed or severely damaged are being rebuilt under the co-ordination of the Ministry of Environment, Urbanization and Climate Change. Currently, new houses in seven villages of Gaziantep’s Nurdağı district are nearing completion. The new houses will measure 122 square metres in size and have verandas in accordance with the local architecture. Mosques and community infrastructure are also being established in the recovering neighbourhoods.

A recycling method developed by Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) recovers up to 70% of lithium from battery waste without corrosive chemicals, high temperatures, and prior sorting of materials being required. The method combines mechanical processes with chemical reactions and enables inexpensive, energy-efficient, and environmentally compatible recycling of any type of lithium-ion battery. The results are reported in Communications Chemistry.

Lithium-ion batteries are omnipresent in our life. They are not only used for the wireless power supply of notebooks, smartphones, toys, remote controls, and other small devices, but also are the most important energy storage systems for the rapidly growing electric mobility sector. Increasing use of these batteries eventually results in the need for economically and ecologically sustainable recycling methods.

Presently, mainly nickel and cobalt, copper and aluminium, as well as steel are recovered from battery waste for reuse. Lithium recovery still is expensive and hardly profitable. Existing recovery methods mostly are of metallurgical character and consume a lot of energy and/or produce hazardous by-products. In contrast to this, mechano-chemical approaches based on mechanical processes to induce chemical reactions promise to reach a higher yield and sustainability with a smaller expenditure.

Such a method has now been developed by the Energy Storage Systems Department of KIT’s Institute for Applied Materials (IAM-ESS), the Helmholtz Institute Ulm for Electrochemical Energy Storage (HIU) established by KIT in cooperation with Ulm University, and EnBW Energie Baden-Württemberg AG.

The method reaches a lithium recovery rate of up to 70% without corrosive chemicals, high temperatures, and prior sorting of materials being required. “The method can be applied for recovering lithium from cathode materials of various chemical compositions and, hence, for a large range of commercially available lithium-ion batteries,” says Dr. Oleksandr Dolotko of IAM-ESS and HIU, the first author of the publication. “It enables inexpensive, energy-efficient, and environmentally compatible recycling.”

The researchers use aluminium as reducing agent in the mechano-chemical reaction. As aluminium is already contained in the cathode, no additional substances are required. The method works as follows: First, the battery waste is ground up. Then, this material reacts with aluminium to produce metallic composites with water-soluble lithium compounds.

Lithium is recovered by dissolving these compounds in water and subsequent heating to make the water evaporate. As the mechano-chemical reaction takes place at ambient temperature and pressure, the method is highly energy-efficient.

Another advantage is its simplicity, which will facilitate use on an industrial scale, as large amounts of batteries will have to be recycled in the near future.

Thank you to techxplore.com news for this excerpt from their report.

This is Dave Reece ZS1DFR reporting for HAMNET in South Africa.