Energy expo to be in Grand Junction today

Chad Bernzott, left, with PG Exhibits, and Justin Schott of Calfrac Well Services assemble a display for the Energy Forum and Expo at Two Rivers Convention Center on Thursday. The expo starts at 8 a.m. today and speakers begin at 9 a.m. The event is free to the public and ends at 4 p.m.

The alternative-energy future will depend on old-fashioned mining, much of it for minerals that are now being imported to the United States, but some of which are embedded deeply in Colorado history. Dr. James R. Burnell of the Colorado Geological Survey will discuss many of those minerals as they relate to the development of alternative energy during the fifth annual Energy Forum and Expo at Two Rivers Convention Center today.

Tellurium for instance, which gave Telluride its name, figures prominently in some alternate forms of energy and high-tech applications, Burnell said.

The United States is dependent on imports of many of the minerals and rare earths on which alternate forms of energy, from wind turbines to advanced batteries, depend, Burnell said. Advancing alternative energy is dependent on continued access to those minerals, some of which can be mined in Colorado and in other parts of the United States, Burnell said.

His discussion is “pro-mining” in the context of the need for more forms of alternate energy, Burnell said.

“We need everything we can get,” he said. “We need every source of energy.”

While minerals figure in powering the future, their prices are volatile and easily affected by change. Tellurium, for instance, can be used in the latest generation of flash drives, the memory sticks that can hold data without an electrical charge, Burnell said.

When two companies announced breakthroughs in flash drives, which use tellurium, the price of the mineral leaped from $30 to $400 a pound in a week, he said.

Other minerals, many of them familiar in Colorado and other western states, such as vanadium, are tied to more than the steel and uranium industries, Burnell said.

Burnell will discuss “Resource Constraints on Alternative Energy Technologies” at 11:15 a.m.


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