Minerals and Materials for a Sustainable Future
For the first time this week, the Nature Research Group, publishers of Nature, will host an international conference in Trondheim in cooperation with NTNU, SINTEF and the Geological Survey of Norway. The theme for the conference, which runs from 11-13 September, is the sustainable use of minerals and materials.
Jostein Mårdalen, head of NTNU’s Department of Materials Science and Engineering says the decision to hold the conference in Trondheim reflects the expertise found in the city, not just at NTNU but at SINTEF and the Geological Survey of Norway.
“It’s clear evidence of the strength and breadth of the professional expertise found here,” he said.
Gemini Research News has published a number of articles about NTNU and SINTEF’s research on minerals, materials and sustainability . Here’s a sampling:
- New super laboratory coming to Trondheim: Research on minerals and materials is important in helping society make the transition to a greener economy. NTNU, the Geological Survey of Norway and SINTEF have joined forces to establish a national laboratory to that end.
- Mining ocean treasures: Underwater mining is a growing industry. Norway might be mining gold from 2000 metres below sea level in just a few years.
- Charting riches in the ocean depths: The deep sea contains mineral riches that offer a new frontier for research and exploration — and a new way to employ Norway’s deep sea expertise.
- Crushed aggregates provide major environmental benefits: Norwegian cities are expanding very rapidly and in the areas surrounding many of them, naturally-occurring aggregates for asphalt and concrete production are becoming scarce. The solution may lie in local rock outcrops.
- We know more about the moon than the ocean floor: NTNU researchers are delving deep to investigate the seabed and opportunities to extract precious metals that lie several thousand metres deep.
- Urban mines of tomorrow:Researchers Daniel Beat Müller and Gang Liu don’t look at an urban landscape the way an average person does. Instead of seeing skyscrapers and roads, streetlights and drainpipes, they see metal – lots of metal — the urban mines of tomorrow.
- After big oil comes the age of tiny things: When the oil runs out, Norway will have to depend on nanotechnology as its main source of income. Nanotechnology is all about creating custom materials on a tiny scale that allows for incredible possibilities in the real world.
- Saving on oil well costs using everyday nails: Ordinary nails can reinforce oil wells. There’s no quicker or cheaper way. Reinforcement that relies on nails is very effective even in porous rocks such as sandstone and chalk.
- Solar cells in the roof and nanotechnology in the walls: We may think that emissions from cars, trucks and planes are the biggest contributors to global warming. But cutting emissions from our homes using smart technologies will also make a big difference.
- The super material that can replace plastic:Plastic trash is a rapidly growing environmental problem. But a natural, biodegradable material could replace plastic packaging and eliminate this problem
- Recycling aluminium, one can at a time: Producing pure aluminium from ore accounts for as much as 1 per cent of all greenhouse gas emissions worldwide. Recycling is the best way to reduce that carbon footprint – but manufacturers and recycling companies will have to plan carefully to avoid problems with impurities that accumulate in recycled aluminium over time.
- Tomorrow’s degradable electronics: We may not be able to stop electronic devices from becoming obsolete, but Norwegian researchers are developing electronics that disappear to order.