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Jet Engine With Teeth' Chews Old Rubber Into New Products


Every year, Americans discard about 300 million tires. That's about a third of the 1 billion thrown out worldwide. About half of those are burned for fuel, which is just slightly better than landfilling. The rest end up in playgrounds, mulch for gardens or in berms along highways.

Lehigh Technologies wants America's scrap rubber. The nine-year-old company has raised more than $50 million for processors that collect it, freeze it and shatter it into bits. ``Think of it as a jet engine with teeth,'' said Chief Executive Officer Alan Barton, who holds a Ph.D. in chemistry from Harvard University.

Barton's company has developed a process that lowers the material's temperature to negative-300 degrees Fahrenheit, which makes it brittle like glass. It's then fed into a specially designed mill -- a turbine that spins at more than 2,000 revolutions per minute.

The rubber blows out as a fine powder that can be manufactured into tires, asphalt, car parts, running shoes and more. Each pound of micronized rubber saves almost a gallon of oil and results in half the carbon emissions of a similar synthetically produced product, according to the company's website.

Lehigh has produced enough micronized rubber since its plant opened in late 2006 to produce about 140 million tires from recycled rubber. The company's goal is 1 billion tires, which is achievable within three to five years, Barton said.

Lehigh, which is closely held, today announced it completed a $16 million funding round with investments from Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers, Index Ventures and NGP Energy Technology Partners. ``One never says never, but our plan is that this will be our last fund raise'' before becoming self-sustaining, Barton said.

The company is attractive to clean-technology investors because, unlike many solar, wind or biofuel investments, Lehigh has never required federal subsidies, Barton said.

The company plans to use some of its new capital over the next six to nine months to add about 10 jobs to its current staff of 70. Remaining funds will be used for further research and development and commercial expansion in Europe and in Asia, where about 10 percent of the company's products are exported.

The company acquires about 30 to 40 percent of the rubber scrap and tires it uses for free, and the rest at ``very, very low cost,'' Barton said. ``Even if we're wildly successful, the amount of end-of-life rubber material out there, even in the U.S., is enormous.''


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<h1 class="heading">Contract for closure money not savings</h1>



HUNDREDS of millions of dollars the federal government saves by abandoning its plan to pay dirty power stations to close down shouldn't be used to prop up the budget, a leading green think-tank says.





I hear tell there is a fire at the Yallourn power station right now?

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Published - 10 September 2012 -- 2:36 mins (Expires in 6 Days)


Fracking boom benefiting Indian farmers


Fracking as an energy development technique requires a thick slurry of "mud" in the drill holes. The lowly guar bean is key, it makes a great slurry. So much so, there's a short supply internationally. Costly news for energy giants, great news for farmers in India. It's a rare victory for the littlest of the little guys in global trade. (<<spin from SBS>>)


price up 10 fold for guar in a year


So..... the other side:




Frackers in frantic search for guar bean substitutes


Oil and gas companies are racing to find a new substitute for India's guar bean, a key ingredient used in hydraulic fracturing, the drilling technology that has revolutionized the energy industry by opening up vast new fields for production.


Hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," first created a boom in natural gas drilling over the past decade that brought huge new supplies of the fuel to market, and that technology is now being used to unlock giant oil fields that were long considered too difficult to tap.


The extract from guar, a bean predominantly grown in India, produces a gel in fracking fluid that delivers "proppant" to hold open cracks in shale rock when it is fracked.


Within a day of each other in June, two Texas lawyers filed trademark applications for "AquaPerm" and "PermStim." What may at first sound like hair care products are actually substitutes for guar, a crucial ingredient in the fluid that is injected into fracked wells to extract oil and gas.....

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Guar, once cross linked, turns to jelly and it expands in size. You can pump it with sand and it turns to gel in the frac helping the sand mover further from the drill site and forcing the opening to expand further for an hour or two after pumping stops. Like blowing expandible foam into a plastic bag. It keeps growing after you stopped spraying it in.




Options are to pump longer without the Guar. Lots of people looking for a substitute but it has to be very cheap to compete, even at this price.




BTW it is used in shampoo (think high viscous liquids) and food products.


I am lead to believe there are a lot of crops planned.




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Australian Securities Exchange


The market operator has reportedly won crucial backing from fund managers and shareholder advocacy groups in its battle with investment banks over the spoils of bookbuilds from IPOs and capital raisings.

On Wednesday, the Australian Securities Exchange unveiled a plan to run bookbuilds itself, something usually conducted by the investment banks, on behalf of companies raising cash.

Given the condition of the Australian M&A market, the move by the ASX is all the more likely to create sustained opposition from the investment banks. But the market operator has some support outside the investment banks.

The Australian Financial Review reports that Perpetual head of Australian equities Matt Williams and Australian Shareholders Association chief executive Vas Kolesnikoff have thrown their support behind the plan.

The greatest advantage is that companies will be able to raise money from shareholders directly, rather than brokers being the end of the line. It would all take place in an open market.

The question that investment banks are asking in return is whether large companies will want to chance the diversity of their capital raisings or IPOs. They'll argue that they play a role in making sure that registers end up with the right people on that.

That argument doesn't have a good whiff about it.


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