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Daily Shorts: UK part-funds Ionic's rare earth magnet recycling plant, US small-sale solar additions hit record high, and more

Rare earths metals company LCM will be involved in the Ionic-to-Ford EV recycling chain. Image Courtesy: Less Common Metals

Ionic Rare Earths received an investment of $2 million from the UK government to set up a rare earth magnet recycling facility in Belfast. In a release, the company said it would produce high purity, separated rare earth metals at the 600 tonnes of magnet raw material per annum facility, which would be supplied to LCM, UK-based alloy manufacturer. These will then be converted into magnets used by Ford Motor's local EV production facilities.

US small-scale solar additions hit a record high in 2022, the country's Energy Information Administration announced. Data showed Americans added an estimated 6.4 GW of small-scale solar capacity in 2022, taking the total to 39.5 GW. That compares with 7.3 GW capacity in 2014. Small-scale solar (systems with 1 MW of capacity or less) account for about a third of the country's total solar capacity, the agency said.

Tesla and its suppliers have tripled their investment in Mexico to $15 billion, according to Samuel Garcia, governor of the state where the plant is located said. The factory in still under construction, but the amount is three times what officials have publicly claimed earlier. Tesla is reportedly interested in beginning production from 2025, but the date has not been made public. GM, Ford and BMW too have announced plans to set up or ramp up their EV capacity in Mexico.

Ecopetrol, Colombia's national energy company, will set up 1,900 MW of renewable capacity by 2030, the company's CEO Ricardo Roa said. Ecopetrol will look at projects abandoned by rivals, Rao said, adding that he estimated green hydrogen, green ammonia and methanol could bring in $20-25 billion in profits through 2040. Meanwhile, Reuters reported that Colombia, which deferred its first offshore wind auction recently, was considering making Ecopetrol a mandatory partner for such projects.

Israel could have about 1.3 million electric cars on its road by the end of the decade – or 30 percent of total vehicles – up from just 70,000 EVs now, the country's energy ministry said. In addition, 35 percent of the country's busses will be electric by 2030. EV charging could account for six percent of total power demand, the ministry estimated, saying this would require a 10-fold expansion in battery charging capacity. By 2050, the ministry estimates all six million cars on the country's roads will be electric. 

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