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New technology for critical metals, agribusiness, nuclear plants, 3-D printing, renewable energy — you name it, Japan’s there

Uniqlo
Having spent a few weeks (involuntarily) accompanying various shopping expeditions in Paris, I have become — suddenly — aware of Uniqlo. The crowds of women of all ages lining up at the cash registers at one of its Paris stores attests to the extraordinary success. And I read that staff are allowed just 60 seconds to process each retail transaction. Now this Japanese designer of casual wear is planning to launch in Australia, with a target of 100 stores in this country. The Uniqlo phenomenon, and I am assured by the shopper in this…

Solar sceptics may need to reconsider: power from the sun is becoming more economic

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Solar power has had some bad press in recent years. The case against it seemed increasingly persuasive: it cost too much: it would never replace fuels (like oil, coal and nuclear) which offered reliable base-load power generation; and even if solar systems could be made more efficient and, helped by better and better storage batteries, to produce reliable electricity even when the sun wasn’t shining, solar still couldn’t compete on price with other fuels, particularly coal. We’ve heard all these arguments and, in the case of this writer, pushed them ourselves. Well,…

Heartbleed Bug ‘contagion’ creates market malaise

Contagion
Our last week ended with the rumbling from the confusion that came from disruptive impact of the Heartbleed bug that had online paranoia at an all-time high. In case you have not drilled down through the endless media coverage and analysis on what happened here’s what your computer(s) and various electronics may or may not have caught: “The Heartbleed bug allows anyone on the Internet to read the memory of the systems protected by the vulnerable versions of the OpenSSL software. This compromises the secret keys used to identify the service…

Hop Boyd on the real advantage of having the right chemical processing engineer on the job

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April 10, 2014 -- Hop Boyd Jr., Chief Manager, Process Engineering Associates LLC (PROCESS) speaks to Tracy Weslosky, Editor-in-Chief and Publisher of InvestorIntel. Hop has been a chemical engineer for many years and he describes his job, in jest, as a "highly educated plumber". Of course, PROCESS does much more than that. It offers process engineering services - as opposed to electrical, mechanical or structural -- from design and to safety services, relying on its over 50 highly qualified, full-time chemical engineers. As a further analogy, Hop describes the typical scenario…

Agribusiness trends upward, Zinc hunt in full force, and ‘Shiny Black Gold’ leads the market

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Let’s enjoy this ride as March is the last month we will have the REE Leaders Index. And for the record, this is the only rare earth index in the world calculated by FTSE. Alas, REEL closed down 9.50%, closing at 284.01 versus the InvestorIntel members – up +2.17%. I was in NYC at John Tumazos Very Independent Research event on Monday, so you’re in luck this week with both the month-in-review for March 2014 and week-in-review ending April 4th, so you can get your gas pedals ready as I Tesla-drive…

Rising star U3O8 Corp. on uranium-vanadium in Argentina and uranium-phosphate in Colombia

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March 30, 2014 -- Richard Spencer, President and CEO of U3O8 Corp. ("U3O8" TSX: UWE | OTCQX: UWEEF), speaks to Tracy Weslosky, Editor-in-Chief and Publisher of InvestorIntel, about uranium, rare earths and phosphate projects in South America. In March, U3O8 completed an oversubscribed private placement resulting in proceeds of about USD$1.15 million. Richard said "the insiders stepped up yet again and we've developed some support from a new shareholder over the last couple months and this group has been amazing. They were in the market in December when no one else…

Market is like “waiting for water to boil”

War-Cycle
InvestorIntelReport Week-in-Review: Just tell everyone ‘we are phucked’ said Rockstar in reply to market questioning on Saturday. Hmmm, I thought – I prefer our book-keeper’s commentary that "it feels like we are waiting for water boil". At the end of the day, I agree with numerous members of our financial community that see strong signals that we have entered a "war cycle" in our marketplace, which means that basically investors need to tread carefully in the marketplace, as we genuinely have no idea where the mines are located. And this makes it…

The Impact of the “War Cycle” on Markets: High Tension Metals

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The Cold War supposedly ended in 1989 but it would appear that somewhere or other there has been a major regional war going on since that time. Just when it appeared that Iraq and Afghanistan were behind us, along came Syria and rising tensions over the Crimea. Of course any war is “good” for gold, both in demand and prices. The people in the war zone want the metal as a store of value if they need to flee while the broader global economy players tend to harbour gold because it’s…

Texas Rare Earths could supply Lithium to Tesla Motor’s battery ‘Gigafactory’

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Tesla Motors, the electric car manufacturer Tesla is planning a massive expansion of its production and wants to build its very own USD$5 billion battery factory. Tesla’s stock performance has been remarkable; its share price (NASDAQ: TSLA) has bewitched Wall Street, rising from USD$ 78 in February of 2013, when the Company was first listed on the NASDAQ to the present USD$ 236. This performance, which reflects the rising sales success of Tesla automobiles, explains the Company’s very ambitious plan to build its own Lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery factory. Tesla expects such…

Everything you need to know about the Lithium market

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Lithium – A Fluctuating Flavour: With lithium mainly mentioned in popular culture as drug to control moods swings it is somewhat amusing to reflect upon the manic-depression of the promoters in the metals in recent years. Many needed more lithium in their medicine cabinet than in their portfolios. The Lithium story started to get up a head of steam in the second half of 2008, boomed through the first half of 2009 (as a concept, but not price-wise in the physical), lost momentum as gold hogged the headlines and the momentum…
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News Releases & Media

Tesla Motors Announces Date for First Quarter 2014 Financial Results

April 18, 2014 (Source: Marketwired) – Tesla announced today that it will post its financial results for the first quarter ended March 31, 2014, after market close on Wednesday, May 7, 2014. At that time, Tesla will issue a brief advisory release via Marketwired containing a link to the first quarter 2014 Shareholder Letter, available on the company website. Tesla management will hold a…

Obama Launches Measures to Support Solar Energy in US

April 17, 2014 (Source: Inquirer.net) -- The White House Thursday announced a series of measures aimed at increasing solar energy production in the United States, particularly by encouraging the installation of solar panels in public spaces. President Barack Obama and his Democratic allies in Congress want laws to fight climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but Republicans, who hold the…

Researchers Develop the First Mobile Charging System for Electric Vehicles

April 17, 2014 (Source: Phys.org) -- The Instituto Tecnológico de la Energía (ITE) in Spain has developed the first mobile charging system for electric vehicles. This system allows users to charge their vehicle from any plug -not just from a specifically designed one- as long as it has been previously authorised by an electric power company. The PREMISE project aims to…

InvestorIntel Officially Launched for Entrepreneurs and Investors

Jack Lifton and Chris Ecclestone on BNN’s Commodities Thursday, April 17, 2014 April 16, 2014 -- Toronto, ON – ProEdge Media Corp., an online media company since 2001, is pleased to announce the official launch of InvestorIntel.com (“InvestorIntel”). InvestorIntel is a leading global investment intelligence news source for the innovative and entrepreneurial minded. Tracy Weslosky, Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of InvestorIntel…

Relieving Electric Vehicle Range Anxiety with Improved Batteries

April 16, 2014 (Source: PNNL) -- Electric vehicles could travel farther and more renewable energy could be stored with lithium-sulfur batteries that use a unique powdery nanomaterial. Researchers added the powder, a kind of nanomaterial called a metal organic framework, to the battery's cathode to capture problematic polysulfides that usually cause lithium-sulfur batteries to fail after a few charges. A paper…

NREL Unlocking Secrets of New Solar Material

April 16, 2014 (Source: NREL) -- A new solar material that has the same crystal structure as a mineral first found in the Ural Mountains in 1839 is shooting up the efficiency charts faster than almost anything researchers have seen before—and it is generating optimism that a less expensive way of using sunlight to generate electricity may be in our planet's…

Team Finds Electricity can be Generated by Dragging Saltwater over Graphene

April 16, 2014 (Source: Phys.org) -- A team of researchers at China's Nanjing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics, studying graphene properties, has discovered that the act of dragging saltwater over a piece of graphene can generate electricity. In their paper published in the journal Nature Nanotechnology, the team describes how in seeking to turn the idea of submerging carbon nanotubes in…

Shiny Quantum Dots Brighten Future of Solar Cells

April 15, 2014 (Source: LANL) -- A house window that doubles as a solar panel could be on the horizon, thanks to recent quantum-dot work by Los Alamos National Laboratory researchers in collaboration with scientists from University of Milano-Bicocca (UNIMIB), Italy. Their project demonstrates that superior light-emitting properties of quantum dots can be applied in solar energy by helping more efficiently…

Research Finds “Tunable” Semiconductors Will Allow Better Detectors, Solar Cells

April 14, 2014 (Source: Georgia State University) -- One of the great problems in physics is the detection of electromagnetic radiation – that is, light – which lies outside the small range of wavelengths that the human eye can see. Think X-rays, for example, or radio waves. Now, researchers have discovered a way to use existing semiconductors to detect a far…

U.S. Geothermal Acquires Development Rights to Vale Butte Geothermal Resource Area

April 14, 2014 (Source: Marketwired) -- U.S. Geothermal Inc. (TSX:GTH)(NYSE MKT:HTM) (the "Company"), a leading renewable energy company focused on the development, production and sale of electricity from geothermal energy, announced today that it has acquired geothermal property for evaluation of a new project at Vale, Oregon. The site is located 12 miles east of the Neal Hot Springs geothermal power…

Compact and Efficient Electromotor: The “MotorBrain” Research Team Presents the First Prototype at the Hannover Messe 2014

April 11, 2014 (Source: Infineon) -- German researchers present the prototype of an electric motor that may shape the future of electromobility: Small, light and efficient. The electric motor was created and constructed by the four German partners in the European research project “MotorBrain”: Infineon Technologies, Siemens, the Institute of Lightweight Engineering and Polymer Technology at the Technische Universität (Technical University) Dresden…

Yingli Starts Construction Of 25 MW Of Solar Plants In China

April 11, 2014 (Source: Solar Industry Mag) -- Yingli Green Energy Holding Co. Ltd. has started construction of two ground-mounted photovoltaic plants with a combined capacity of 25 MW in Hebei province, China. Yingli Green Energy will supply the PV modules to be used in the projects, which the company says have the required grid interconnection permissions. Once completed, they will generate…

High-Altitude Wind Turbines Have Potential to Generate Large Amounts of Electricity

April 11, 2014 (Source: University of Delaware) -- Wind turbines hovering high in the air and tethered to the ground, like kites, have the potential to generate huge amounts of electricity, based on a recent wind availability study led by the University of Delaware. Researchers pinpointed tracts of the atmosphere ideal for locating airborne wind energy (AWE) devices, which convert kinetic…

Stanford Scientists Model a Win-Win Situation: Growing Crops on Photovoltaic Farms

April 10, 2014 (Source: Stanford University) -- Growing agave and other carefully chosen plants amid photovoltaic panels could allow solar farms not only to collect sunlight for electricity but also to produce crops for biofuels, according to new computer models by Stanford scientists. This co-location approach could prove especially useful in sunny, arid regions such as the southwestern United States where…

Panasonic HIT® Solar Cell Achieves World’s Highest Energy Conversion Efficiency*1 of 25.6%*2 at Research Level

April 10, 2014 (Source: Panasonic Corporation) -- Panasonic Corporation today announced that it has achieved a conversion efficiency of 25.6% (cell area*3: 143.7 cm²) in its HIT® solar cells, a major increase over the previous world record for crystalline silicon-based solar cells. The previous record*4 for the conversion efficiency of crystalline silicon-based solar cells of a practical size (100 cm² and…
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