Aug 13, 2015

Chilean mines are turning to renewable energy

Latin America
3 min
The mining industry requires a lot of energy to keep moving, and bottom lines depend on keeping the price of that energy as low as possible. To maint...

The mining industry requires a lot of energy to keep moving, and bottom lines depend on keeping the price of that energy as low as possible. To maintain efficiency, the mining industry seems to be increasingly looking to the renewable sector to supply its power, an action that is especially prevalent in Latin America regions like Chile. According to a recent Wall Street Journal profile, it is estimated by Ernst & Young that mines in Latin America will invest upwards of US $1 billion in renewable energy projects by 2022, a sharp upswing from the $37 million invested in 2013—but with the benefits renewable are providing, it’s not hard to see why.

In its profile, the WSJ zeroes in on this trend in Chile, particularly at Codelco’s Gabriela Mistral mine. Once powered by 67,000 barrels of diesel a year, the mine now sources approximately 80 percent of its power from around 3,000 solar panels at a thermosolar plant run jointly by Chile’s Energia Llaima SpA and Denmark’s Arcon-Sunmark.

RELATED CONTENT: Nicaragua among green energy leaders in Latin America

According to the report, the trend in Chile has been spurred on by some of the world’s highest conventional energy costs due to Chile’s reliance on energy imports. At a rate of closer to $80 per megawatt hour, the price of renewable energy like solar and wind power makes perfect economic sense for Chile’s mining sector, to a much higher degree compared to countries with more access to domestic conventional energy sources. Not only is it being looked at favorably, but the Chilean government is actively encouraging renewable energy, with plans to make the country at least 20 percent reliant on renewables by 2025:  

“Unlike in developed countries where the main driver of renewable energy development has been the reduction of greenhouse-gas emissions, that isn’t the principal driver here, but rather energy security and competitive prices,” said Fernando Hentzschel, the director of development and technology at Cifes.


But where Chile lacks in traditional energy, strong winds and high solar radiation levels set the country up perfectly o reap the benefits of solar power, leading to a unique situation where the mining industry is experimenting with several ways to source energy—the report notes that in contrast to Codelco’s solar farm, Antofagasta is sourcing 20 percent of its power from wind turbines at its Los Pelambres mine.

RELATED CONTENT: Largest solar power plant in Latin America to be built in Mexico

In addition to driving costs down, the development of renewable energy infrastructure is also helping Chile to become energy self-reliant, which is always valuable. While the mining industry asserts that the renewable energy industry isn’t strong enough to be Chile’s sole energy source yet, it’s still a strong help:

“If you are producing [energy] eight hours, that is an issue,” said Carlos Barrera, the Latin American vice president for SunEdison Inc., a U.S.-based firm that supplies solar power to Chilean iron-ore company Compañía de Acero del Pacífico. “With those eight hours, you can still reduce the cost of mining in a big way, but obviously that is not the full solution required.”


But while solar and wind only provide energy part of the day, they are performing an essential service that could see significant further growth in the years to come.

[SOURCE: Wall Street Journal]

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Jun 7, 2021

Trafigura and Yara International explore clean ammonia usage

Dominic Ellis
2 min
Commodity trading company Trafigura and Yara International sign MoU to explore developing ammonia as a clean fuel in shipping

Independent commodity trading company Trafigura and Yara International have signed an MoU to explore developing ammonia as a clean fuel in shipping and ammonia fuel infrastructure.

Reducing shipping emissions is a vital component of the fight against global climate change, yet Greenhouse Gas emissions from the global maritime sector are increasing - and at odds with the IMO's strategy to cut absolute emissions by at least 50% by 2050. 

How more than 70,000 ships can decrease their reliance on carbon-based sources is one of transport's most pressing decarbonisation challenges.

Yara and Trafigura intend to collaborate on initiatives that will establish themselves in the clean ammonia value chain. Under the MoU announced today, Trafigura and Yara intend to work together in the following areas:

  • The supply of clean ammonia by Yara to Trafigura Group companies
  • Exploration of joint R&D initiatives for clean ammonia application as a marine fuel
  • Development of new clean ammonia assets including marine fuel infrastructure and market opportunities

Magnus Krogh Ankarstrand, President of Yara Clean Ammonia, said the agreement is a good example of cross-industry collaboration to develop and promote zero-emission fuel in the form of clean ammonia for the shipping industry. "Building clean ammonia value chains is critical to facilitate the transition to zero emission fuels by enabling the hydrogen economy – not least within trade and distribution where both Yara and Trafigura have leading capabilities. Demand and supply of clean ammonia need to be developed in tandem," he said.  

There is a growing consensus that hydrogen-based fuels will ultimately be the shipping fuels of the future, but clear and comprehensive regulation is essential, according to Jose Maria Larocca, Executive Director and Co-Head of Oil Trading for Trafigura.

Ammonia has a number of properties that require "further investigation," according to Wartsila. "It ignites and burns poorly compared to other fuels and is toxic and corrosive, making safe handling and storage important. Burning ammonia could also lead to higher NOx emissions unless controlled either by aftertreatment or by optimising the combustion process," it notes.

Trafigura has co-sponsored the R&D of MAN Energy Solutions’ ammonia-fuelled engine for maritime vessels, has performed in-depth studies of transport fuels with reduced greenhouse gas emissions, and has published a white paper on the need for a global carbon levy for shipping fuels to be introduced by International Maritime Organization.

Oslo-based Yara produces roughly 8.5 million tonnes of ammonia annually and employs a fleet of 11 ammonia carriers, including 5 fully owned ships, and owns 18 marine ammonia terminals with 580 kt of storage capacity – enabling it to produce and deliver ammonia across the globe.

It recently established a new clean ammonia unit to capture growth opportunities in emission-free fuel for shipping and power, carbon-free fertilizer and ammonia for industrial applications.

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