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Newly manufactured Tesla electric cars are pictured in a storage area at The Western Docks in Southampton on April 20, 2020

LONDON — Britain could revive domestic production of super strong magnets used in electric vehicles and wind turbines with government support, to cut its reliance on China and achieve vital cuts in carbon emissions, two sources with direct knowledge said.

A government-funded feasibility study is due to be published on Friday, laying out the steps Britain must take to restart output of rare earth permanent magnets, the sources said.


A magnet factory would help Britain, hosting the COP26 U.N. climate talks in Glasgow, Scotland, meet its goal of banning petrol and diesel cars by 2030 and slashing carbon emissions to net zero by 2050.

British production of the magnets vanished in the 1990s when the industry found it could not compete with China. But with the huge growth in demand, the government is keen to secure enough supply.

Last month, the government set out plans to achieve its net zero strategy, which includes spending $1.15 billion to support the roll out of electric vehicles (EVs) and their supply chains.

The study outlines how a plant could be built by 2024 and eventually produce enough of the powerful magnets to supply 1 million EVs a year, the sources who have read the report said.

"We're looking to turn the tide of shipping all this kind of manufacturing to the Far East and resurrect U.K. manufacturing excellence," one of the sources said.

The government's Department for Business declined to comment on details regarding a possible magnet factory because the report has not been released.

"The government continues to work with investors through our Automotive Transformation Fund (ATF) to progress plans to build a globally competitive electric vehicle supply chain in the U.K.," a spokesperson said in an email.

EV ramp up

British rare earth company Less Common Metals put together the feasibility study and is considering seeking partners to jointly build the factory, the sources said.

LCM is one of the only companies outside of China that transforms rare earth raw materials into the special compounds needed to produce permanent magnets.

Automakers will need the magnets as they ramp up EV output in Britain. Ford said last month it would invest up to $310 million in an English plant to produce around 250,000 EV power units a year from mid-2024.

Rare earth magnets made of neodymium are used in 90% of EV motors because they are widely seen as the most efficient way to power them.

Electric cars with these magnets require less battery power than those with ordinary magnets, so vehicles can travel longer distances before recharging.

A race by automakers to ramp up EVs and countries to switch to wind energy is due to boost demand for permanent magnets in Europe as much as tenfold by 2050, according to the European Union.

The sources said government support would be vital so Britain could compete with China, which produces 90% of supply.

The strategy mirrors similar efforts by the EU and the United States to create domestic industries of raw materials, rare earth processing and permanent magnets. (VOA/RN)

Keywords: Magnets, Rare Earths, Neodymium, Electric Cars, UK


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Indian astronomers have found an active galaxy in a very bright state with 10 times more X-ray emission than normal

Indian astronomers have found an active galaxy in a very bright state with 10 times more X-ray emission than normal, equivalent to more than 10 trillion of the sun, and located five billion light years away that could help probe how particles behave under intense gravity and acceleration to the speed of light.

It could help study the role of strong gravity and acceleration of matter in the formation, interaction and evolution of galaxies in the early universe.

Every galaxy in the universe is believed to host a supermassive black hole at its centre. In some galaxies, the black hole is actively devouring a large amount of material and shooting a jet of plasma almost at the speed of light towards us. These are called blazars.

OJ 287 belongs to a class of blazars known as BL Lacertae objects which show very rapid and large amplitude flux variations but barely discernible emission line features.

This class of sources emit in the whole electromagnetic spectrum, a rather uncommon phenomenon which requires extreme physical conditions. Hence, a study of such sources tells us about the behaviour of matter in an extreme gravitational field where it is difficult for light to escape from the vicinity of the black hole.

Astronomers at Aryabhatta Research Institute of Observational Sciences, an autonomous institute of the Department of Science and Technology, Government of India, have been monitoring one such black hole system named 'OJ 287' since 2015. This source shows a repeated optical brightness enhancement almost every 12 years.

"The repeated optical enhancement makes OJ 287 very intriguing as this class of sources does not show any repeating features in flux variations. The repeated optical enhancement made the researchers believe that the system hosts a binary black hole," said a release from the Ministry of Science and Technology.

In 2020, the source was very bright at optical and X-ray bands with X-ray flux more than 10 times the normal (non-active phase) flux. This flare was very different as it was not expected in models proposed for this source and thus, indicated a more complex system and physical conditions.

Investigating the extreme brightness shown by OJ 287 at optical and X-ray bands, astronomers led by Pankaj Kushwaha and Alok C. Gupta reported the source in a completely new spectral state.

The team argued that this change of state holds clues to the researcher's quest to understand how matter behaves in very strong gravity and how it accelerates the particle to almost the speed of light -- a feat that is out of the scope of even the most advanced CERN accelerator.

The research published in 'The Astrophysical Journal' tracked the details of changes in optical to the X-ray emission spectrum of the source with time from 2017 to 2020 -- after the second brightest X-ray flare of the source. It revealed how the source gradually started to change its spectral behaviour from mid-2018 to the new spectral state in 2020.

The study included data recorded by the ground-based facility operated by Physical Research Laboratory, Ahmedabad, operated Mount Abu observing facility in near infra-red bands and the space-based NASA's satellites -- the Niels Gherel Swift satellite at optical, UV and X-rays with gamma ray data from the Fermi satellite, the release added. (IANS/JB)

Keywords: Science, NASA, Satellites, Black Hole, Gravity, India


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Tospread awareness about the significance of reading, Rachna Kalra, who hails from Gurugram (Haryana), started the Silent Book Club in the year 2019.

Who doesn't like reading, and that, too, reading along the company of mother nature? Well, this book club is truly a fantasy turned to reality.

As said by a regular reader at the Silent Book Club, “There is something meditative about reading. Sitting quietly with a book, without any distractions, is almost spiritual for me," this exactly is the case with many such readers.

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Ninety-eight per cent of Indian travellers say they want to stay in a sustainable accommodation in the coming year.

A Travel Sustainable badge, provides highly coveted information to travellers all over the world looking to make more sustainable travel choices. Booking.com has launched the Travel Sustainable Badge, a first of its kind in the industry, designed to be applicable to a wide range of property types, from apartments, B&Bs, and vacation homes to hotels, resorts, and even treehouses, and adaptable to local realities and considerations.

Ninety-eight per cent of Indian travellers say they want to stay in a sustainable accommodation in the coming year, and with more than 28 million listings on Booking.com, the company sees a huge opportunity to highlight more of the impactful efforts its partners are making to create more sustainable experiences, making it easier for travellers to find a sustainable way to stay.

Follow NewsGram on Facebook to stay updated.

With 88 percent of Indian travellers indicating that they would be more likely to choose a specific accommodation that implements sustainable practices, it rewards and encourages providers to take the next steps on their individual sustainability journeys.

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