tv Tomorrow Today Deutsche Welle October 4, 2019 10:30am-11:01am CEST
you know what if this time not a voice in. the 77 percent talk about the stuff. from politics to flash from the top this is where they are. welcome to the 77 percent. this weekend on the w. . sand you'd think there's more than enough of it out there for anything. but deserts is totally unsuited for construction the sector that uses most of this ball
material. and that's not because the grains are too rounded scientists now say but because they too boy. no materials essential to our everyday lives the focus on tomorrow today this week. here's what's coming up. many plants have astounding characteristics some for example absolute metals prasun. researchers are working on organic mining systems. wind turbines and many other high tech products require other valuable role materials the rare earths and so now they've been hard to recycle now scientists are developing new ways to recover them. and we need to research and he's had a smart idea she wants to make nylon out of chicory roots instead of the petroleum that's normally. used in the manufacture of products not pantyhose. welcome to
tomorrow today. you can enjoy it human not like you it's. second chameleon sinensis. and selena voulgaris can do it as well all of these plans are what are known as hyper accumulate since they take up having their souls like lead and cadmium from the soil and store them in their teaching so why not take advantage of that ability then harvest the metals along with the plants a species called yellow tough to listen and has a taste for nickel and in albania people and nature are starting to benefit from that preference. albania's mountainous eastern border on the banks of lake or it is one of the poorest regions in europe. there's almost no industry here unemployment levels are high even farming is not really an option
because the ground is full of heavy metals a naturally occurring phenomenon. but there's one thing that grows everywhere here. yellow tuft of lisa for centuries this humble plant was useless to the farmers just a week but now it's the big hope for a better future. for the them a bone that they don't want to be in the past we tried growing corn here we had we beings too but it just wasn't profitable. so we simply stopped farming the land. as you can see many had tears of land have been left uncultivated it was just not worth it here because the ground has so few nutrients that the harvest doesn't even cover your costs. and. instead the
farmers are working with the elisa the plant is what's known as a nickel hyper accumulator which means it draws nickel out of the ground the farmers can then sell the metal and in 20 years the nickel levels in the ground could be depleted enough to allow food crops to grow. agricultural scientist. is heading up the project she uses a handheld x. ray unit to see how the crop is doing i'm checking the nickel content in different plant pots and the most interesting part is the leaves so the leaf between one percent and 2 percent nickel. the harvest is a success the plants are left out in the fields for a few days to dry in the sun. this process of using a leaf some plans to extract metal from the ground is known as fight all mining.
later the dried plans will be transported to friends who are scientists will extract a nickel from them incidentally yellow tough to the sum is officially labeled as a medicinal herb for export purposes as e.u. customs forms don't get have an entry for a nickel plants. the french university city of non-si has become a center for research into fido mining and recent years at a lab on the edge of the city. and his team set out to work on the harvest from albania. the ground up plants are placed into an oven to be burned. this not only allows the nickel to be extracted from the plants it also provides heating for the research station. we can burn as much as 50 kilograms of biomass per day of course. it is even more than what the building
needs for meeting. the nickel is then left in the ash now in a much higher concentration than it was in the plants. act is our end product which is the bio or the this is a bag of let's say approximately 5 kilograms of ash and this contains almost one kilogram of nickel. pm which is then taken to a laboratory at known sees university of luvin with a nickel can be extracted the scientists are not aiming for a pure nickel as that wouldn't be financially viable instead they produce nickel salt which sell better. listen than you can some producing on other people to clinical salts are used in industry for treating surfaces for example in the aviation and automotive industries metal components are basically dipped into a nickel based bath to protect them from corrosion. politics talk of what i call
who is you. who are. these look we can also produce special nickel oxides that are then used in paints and dies for ceramics glass artworks or for coating the lenses of glasses . that. the scientists unknown see are also working to optimize the way hyper accumulators are planted here they're testing how the roots of the some grow best one way is to put them together with other plants that loosen the soil structure and this is. as the roots of the at least some to penetrate down into deeper layers of soil so that they can draw in the nickel there to.
miss scientists have also learned that certain bacteria in the soil facilitate the plants absorption of metals. in another laboratory at the university biologist 17 lopez has been studying these bacteria. that they are. there founder regularly around the roots of hyper accumulator plants we 1st isolate the bacteria and then study their activities these activities can be advantageous to the plant improving its growth or mobilizing the metals in the soil allowing the plants to absorb them better. the scientists are still only in the early stages of their research but soon these bacteria could help to further improve the metal yield. in albania farmers are already reaping the benefits of the research project it's helping them to earn
money while at the same time improving the soil. given mrs mubarak by the way all the farmers welcome to this project it's a great opportunity for them especially if the project gets subsidies or is expanded people here are really interested because for the forseeable future it's the only way for the owners of land here to generate income and i think that our children will continue with us it's our only chance. once considered a wheat the yellow tuft of the sum now offers a brighter future for this impoverished region and perhaps it could provide a mom. well for other infertile areas with metal rich soil. many plants are amazing some provide a dependable supply for classical material wood but what role materials exactly
their materials that are taken from nature that can be processed industrially rabbit is one for example as of things like coal oil and various types of or. mineral deposits often contain bone materials known as rare earths they are key elements in many high tech products scientists in germany are looking at how to ensure a steady supply. r.w. th often is the largest technical university in germany. scientists here are trying to find a solution to a global problem how to ensure the supply of rare earth they're using a common kitchen appliance to investigate alternate methods for industrial production. most rare earth metals are imported from china but they're needed around the world. they're in the magnets in your hard drive and in electric motors especially wind turbines. down fleet is director of the metallurgy department at
austin he and his team are developing ways to recycle rare earth and to obtain them from new sources economic considerations also play a role. of can we produce our own rare earths independent of china of changing 90 or 95 percent of all rare earth metals from a single country is not an acceptable situation. to a. rare earth deposits are not necessarily all that rare they're found on all continents not just in china you delight or is found in large quantities in sweden and greenland for example and could be a good source for rare earth elements but extracting them isn't. easy. stuff is all of a beautiful what's interesting about this process is that we're trying to find alternative sources of rare earths in europe those sources have advantages and disadvantages a u.t.i. like we have in europe has a major disadvantage it has to be pre-processed which isn't the case with
conventional sources it's using a conventional process the pulverised or would come together that's why it's 1st treated with our hydrochloric acid it's expensive but can be used on a large scale. recycling could also be another viable solution for ending the near monopoly on the global production of rare earth. wind turbines electric motors and hard drives contain these metals in large quantities. we are investigating new recycling processes and alternatives here at the institute both experimentally and fear radically we want to be prepared should the need arise . it seems like that might happen if china were to suddenly limit the export of rare earths here at the institute shredded magnets from hard drives are being melted down is the 1st step in a special recycling process when heated to more than
a 1000 degrees celcius electricity is applied the metal separate that makes it possible to extract a rare earth like neodymium from industrial permanent magnets but it's a complex process. the problem isn't obtaining the hard drives but processing them everything has to be shredded and broken down and properly sorted then we can work with it duncanville. recycling sounds like it would be environmentally friendly but the process typically releases hydrogen fluoride compounds and lots of carbon dioxide. the scientists use a work around substituting argon for oxygen argon gas inhibits the toxic chemical reactions the final product is neodymium that's ready for industrial use so far most magnetic recycling on an industrial scale has been done in china even though europe also generates several 1000 tons of the raw material every year. would want
to believe that we really be sending all our magnetic scrap there or do we want to figure a way of doing this in europe. for europe and germany this near monopoly could back fire in the event of a trade war or other crisis. and his strategy is not only to sell rare earth metals and alloys the raw materials they'd like to export the end product the electric motors and that would have a serious impact on the automotive industries in other countries the motor is the crucial component in electric vehicles if manufacturers import large motors all that know how would vanish that would be a serious risk for our domestic automotive industry which is a mainstay of the german economy so it's a major consideration. recycling rare earths and sourcing them from or is in europe could provide enough of the raw materials to
last for generations. the researchers from athan have shown that you see a light or could be a very abundant source. for that though it would need to be mined on an industrial scale. humanity's hunger for raw materials is not restricted to. asteroids can also hold high concentrations of precious metals or even read earth's. that's why mining them since high on agendas at national space agencies. here on earth there are still many untapped deposits of raw materials in the arctic the race is on to exploit the region's oil and gas reserves and in the ocean depths life valuable nodules made of manganese but bringing them up is no easy task.
researchers from germany's federal institute. 4 geosciences and natural resources are hoping to find treasures on the ocean floor using this device. ski trip on top of one of the devices lowered for 4 kilometers until it reaches the ocean floor where it deploys a probe into the seabed it's open up the bottom and penetrates about 40 to 50 centimeters deep into the sediment then this flap closes and it's hauled back to the surface the whole procedure takes about an hour and a half. time and again they set out on the pacific to discover just how many natural resources can be found on the seabed they're looking for pieces of rock called manganese. they don't only contain the trace mineral manganese but also other valuable metals such as cobalt essential for the lithium ion batteries in electric cars and smartphones. since 2006 german scientists have been exploring 2 sections of an area between hawaii and mexico. and it's
important for countries with few natural resources like germany and south korea to stand on their own 2 feet and not have to rely on imports from perhaps politically unstable countries like the congo. in addition this seabed nodules contain more valuable metals than many soils on land and there are a lot of them. on 4 percent of the german sea bed alone there are enough manganese for 20 years of mining a potential gold mine but also the habitat of many organisms that were previously unknown and scientists want to discover more about them too would mining for manganese nodules drive away these organisms for good. and. some organisms would return but not in the same proportion and some organisms couldn't come back common couldn't it would take generations or even centuries. for an ecosystem like
this could recover and regain stability. touch. as of yet there is no suitable equipment with which companies could mine manganese nodules this prototype device is supposed to suck up the nodules together with the sediment. but in a deep sea test run in spring it failed to work. if you have lost i believe it will take at least another 10 years the technical equipment for the mining in the middle of the processing has to be developed and that will take time on its site the researchers plan further tests on their next pacific expedition they want to see how much the devices would disrupt the ocean floor and how deep seeded weller's react when humans come to extract those hidden treasures. salt is an abundant war material here on earth industry couldn't do without it.
it can be combined with life to produce neutron a compound commonly used in washing and cleaning agents as well as dye or even. a material that we want to talk about now. this week's question was sent in by a viewer from iraq. why does glass shatter. let's 1st take a look at how this transparent material is made. the usual ingredients for commercial glass or sounds of soda ashlie and often recycled glass it's all crushed together and melted at well over a 1000 degrees celcius. when the molten mass cools it undergoes a transformation into a tough but amorphous solid meaning it can be shaped into everything from bottles and drinking glasses to window panes. while other solids like metals may be pliable and flexible glass is hardened brittle. when it's put under too much pressure it
doesn't deform it breaks. and for that reason it rarely survives a fall. or a big temperature difference between say ice cold water and a hot glass bottle while filling a cold glass with boiling water is likewise not a great idea. unlike metals glass is a poor conductor of heat. so if you pour cold water into a hot glass the inside surface of the glass contracts. but the outside remains warmer creating a strain inside the material small fracture. as for months spread causing the glass to break. glass can also be shattered by sound
when of the right frequency the sound has to be very loud and sustained over this to work. when it is the glass begins to oscillate rather like this bridge and that can result in what's called a resonance disaster amplifying the oscillation and causing the glass to break. the glass will also break more easily if it has a flaw such as a tiny fracture or material weakness. and if that doesn't work. this option. the problem is right why are you. do you have a science question let us know via video text or email if we showcase your question on the program one thing with little surprise as
a thank you. go on just ask. and if you just can't get enough from the world of science and research head for our website overset us on twitter or facebook. oil is a very versatile role material. it can be burned to provide energy but it also supplies the basic chemical building blocks used to produce conventional plastics almost 2 and a half liters of oil come into an average t.v. set for example producing a toothbrush consumes 2 tenths of a liter the packaging for a sausage contains just a little less. nylon products also based on petroleum could it be replaced in the future by vegetables. and die or chicory is an alternative. raw material with great potential. believe a vegetable is rich in vitamins and minerals. but researchers are more interested
in its roots. typically they're tossed into the garbage or sent to a bio gas plant. but professor on to be a causa from the university of hohenheim has far different plans for the plants. they contain a substance that she needs for her research. this is the part you can eat the vegetable. is the root. the root contains a substance for storing glycogen cellulose and starch which we can turn into a base chemical compound for things like nylon pantyhose or bottles. of thank you floss and muffin. chicory roots are 2 better to eat apart from fermenting bio gas not much else can be done with them but that makes them ideal for andrea cool and her project. is looking as this is really the 1st time we've been able to produce
this space chemical compound from chicory roots or other waste substances yes. this is the that's what's special. these upset compound hydroxy methyl for for all it's already commercially available but made using sugar in a rather dirty process we have a clean process and we're using something that isn't a foodstuff which is important to us. in her university lab kusa spent over 5 years trying to find a suitable raw material. chicory is ideal because a substance forms in the root from which they can extract a basic chemical building block simply by boiling it. the chemical is used to obtain additional. substances which are used to make nylon .
kusa says it's a real alternative to crude petroleum based plastics because 500000 tons of chicory waste are produced every year in europe alone enough to manufacture 3000000000 pairs of pantyhose. as we know that oil is a finite commodity that it will run out one day and of course there's also the c o 2 problem to deal with problematic when we use crude oil we also burn it in some form to break it down so to speak a. form that produces carbon dioxide. by when you use biomass however while it also releases c o 2 into the atmosphere it's exactly the same amount the plants absorb when they grow box itself name until they are cool hopes that one day pantyhose and plastics
will be made from chicory roots but you'll need more funding to make her project marketable. that's all we have time for this week by join us again next time to learn exactly what this robot is doing and why spoiler alert it's not about learning to knit. thanks for watching and see you then on tomorrow today.
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