Chile’s Mines Run on Renewables

Chilean mines are more and more run on renewable energy, which will soon be bigger than conventional energy in Chile. Thanks to China, writes John Mathews.

Source: www.energypost.eu

>” […] Miners in Chile are building independent solar, solar thermal, wind and geothermal power plants that produce power at costs competitive with or lower than conventional fuel supplies or grid-connected electric power.

Consider these facts.

The Cerro Dominador concentrated solar power (CSP) plant (see here for an explanation of the different solar technologies), rated at 110 megawatts, will supply regular uninterrupted power to the Antofagasta Minerals complex in the dry north of Chile, in the Atacama desert. Construction began in 2014. This is one of the largest CSP plants in the world, utilising an array of mirrors and lenses to concentrate the sun’s rays onto a power tower, and utilising thermal storage in the form of molten salts, perfected by Spanish company Abengoa. It will supply steady, dispatchable power, day and night.

The El Arrayán wind power project, rated at 115 megawatts, now supplies power to the Los Pelambres mine of Antofagasta Minerals, using Pattern Energy (US) as technology partner. Antofagasta Minerals has also contracted with US solar company SunEdison to build solar panel arrays at the Los Pelambres mine, with a power plant rated at 70 megawatts; while the related plant operated by Amenecer Solar CAP is rated at 100 megawatts, the largest such array in Latin America when it came online in 2014.

There are many more such projects under review or in the pipeline. The Chilean Renewable Energy Center reported in 2014 that the pipeline of renewable power projects in Chile added up to 18,000 megawatts (or 18 gigawatts), which is more than the country’s entire current electric power grid. […]”<

 

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Why Electric Vehicles are not 100% Green

In 2013 Tesla’s [time-stock symbol=TSLA] Model S won the prestigious Motor Trend Car of the Year award. Motor Trend called it “one of the quickest American four-doors ever built.” It went on to say that the electric vehicle “drives like a sports car, eager and agile and instantly responsive.”

Source: time.com

>” […]

The secret behind Tesla’s success

While the power driving Tesla’s success might be its battery, that’s not the real secret to its success. Instead, Tesla has aluminum to thank for its superior outperformance, as the metal is up to 40% lighter than steel, according to a report from the University of Aachen, Germany. That lighter weight enables Tesla to fit enough battery power into the car to extend the range of the Model S without hurting its performance. Vehicles made with aluminum accelerate faster, brake in shorter distances, and simply handle better than cars loaded down with heavier steel.

Even better, pound-for-pound aluminum can absorb twice as much crash energy as steel. This strength is one of the reasons Tesla’s Model S also achieved the highest safety rating of any car ever tested by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

But it’s not all good news when it comes to aluminum and cars.

Aluminum’s dirty side

[…]  Before alumina can be converted into aluminum its source needs to be mined. That source is an ore called bauxite, which is typically extracted in open-pit mines that aren’t exactly environmentally friendly. Bauxite is then processed into the fine white powder known as alumina, and from there alumina is exposed to intense heat and electricity through a process known as smelting, which transforms the material into aluminum.

Aluminum smelting is extremely energy-intense. It takes 211 gigajoules of energy to make one tonne of aluminum, while just 22.7 gigajoules of energy is required to produce one tonne of steel. In an oversimplification of the process, aluminum smelting requires temperatures above 1,000 degrees Celsius to melt alumina, while an electric current must also pass through the molten material so that electrolysis can reduce the aluminum ions to aluminum metals. This process requires so much energy that aluminum production is responsible for about 1% of global greenhouse gas emissions, according to the Carbon Trust.

There is, however, some good news: Aluminum is 100% recyclable. Moreover, recycled aluminum, or secondary production, requires far less energy to produce than primary production, as the […] chart shows. […]”<

 

See on Scoop.itGreen Energy Technologies & Development

Commodity Copper Price Forecast Drops on Rising Dollar, Falling Oil

Copper prices will fall next year as a strengthening U.S. dollar and weaker oil prices push down marginal production costs, according to Goldman Sachs Group

Source: www.hellenicshippingnews.com

>” […]

Copper for delivery in three months on the London Metal Exchange fell 0.3 percent to $6,682 a ton at 12:44 p.m. in Shanghai. Prices are down 9.2 percent this year and headed for a second annual decline.

The bank said prices could fall below its estimates to average $5,600 a ton if China’s state stockpiling agency stops buying copper. The State Reserve Bureau will buy 500,000 tons of refined copper this year and 200,000 tons in 2015, supporting prices at around $6,200 to $6,300 a ton, according to the bank

The U.S. dollar’s rise will reduce marginal costs of copper mine production as 83 percent of operating costs are in local producing-country currencies, the bank said in the report. The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index, which measures the greenback against a basket of 10 peers, is up 7.5 percent this year.

Lower energy and labor expenses, as well as the cost of equipment such as steel needed to grind copper ore and mining explosives, point to declining production costs over the next six to 12 months, the bank said. Brent crude, the global oil benchmark, has fallen 29 percent this year.

The bank lowered its six-month price forecast to $6,200 a ton from $6,600 and its 12-month outlook to $6,000 a ton from $6,200.”<

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New Wyoming lithium deposit could meet all U.S. demand

See on Scoop.itGreen & Sustainable News

The U.S. currently imports more than 80% of the lithium it uses, with the silvery metal winding up in batteries from cell phones to electric cars.

Duane Tilden‘s insight:

“University of Wyoming researchers found the lithium while studying the idea of storing carbon dioxide under ground in the Rock Springs Uplift, a geologic formation in southwest Wyoming. University of Wyoming Carbon Management Institute director Ron Surdam stated that the lithium was found in underground brine. Surdam estimated the located deposit at roughly 228,000 tons in a 25-square-mile area. Extrapolating the data, Surdam said as the uplift covered roughly 2,000 square miles, there could be up to 18 million tons of lithium there, worth up to roughly $500 billion at current market prices.”

See on www.mining.com