Ripasso / THEnergy study: A hybrid solution with concentrated solar power (CSP) and fuel for baseload mining operations
Energy consumption in mining is typically high. Approximately 20% of the energy that the global industry consumes and around 10% of world energy consumption is used for extraction and processing of mineral resources. From the mining industrys perspective, energy is also an important cost factor. Normally 20-40% of a mines operating costs are expenditures for energy. Additional aspects are security of electricity supply, as we see blackouts in the electricity grids of many developing countries and mine outages due to issues with the diesel provision of off-grid mines. Renewable energy solutions have become increasingly interesting for mines. Falling costs have been a main driver over years for solar and wind energy solutions. One of the main barriers at this stage are intermittencies of solar and wind power plants. Already today there are quite a few examples of mines having integrated electricity from renewable resources into their energy mix.2 In off-grid contexts, the business case for so called solar diesel hybrid installations is particularly advantageous. One of the main issues is, however, that a high renewable energy share requires storage solutions, which are rather expensive today. The study analyses the Stirling engine based system and its suitability for mining applications. It covers aspects as baseload capabilities, robustness of the system, flexibility regarding fuel types and land and water use.