Mining Industry

UNDERSTANDING THE POWER REQUIREMENTS OF THE MINING INDUSTRY

Mining operations, particularly those operating off-grid, have a unique set of requirements for power supply. SolarReserve has developed a suite of solutions for the mining industry with those requirements in mind, delivering significant savings and predictable energy costs to mining operations around the globe that are cost competitive with conventional energy sources.

Reliable 24/7 Baseload Supply

Mines operate 24 hours a day, practically every day of the year. Mining operators expect full reliability and availability from their power systems, with very low tolerance for outages or shortfalls. Most mines operate at a 70% to 90% annual load factor relative to their peak load, but peak loads can occur at any time of day in any season. Due to their inherent variability, most renewable technologies, like photovoltaic panels (PV) and wind, can only address a small fraction of the mine’s energy needs, and are not reliable enough for off-grid power. However, by using fully integrated molten salt storage, SolarReserve offers Concentrating Solar Power (CSP) solutions that are as reliable and available as conventional technologies, but fueled by the sun.

Energy Security

An off-grid mine has no backup from a utility transmission system; so no capabilities to obtain reserve power, system inertia, voltage support, or other grid services. The mine’s power source must supply all of these attributes itself. The nearest transmission line or natural gas pipeline may be hundreds of kilometers away. Even when a transmission grid exists nearby, it may be too fragile and unreliable. SolarReserve’s power plants, with the right combination of solar energy storage and steam generation, can operate in isolation and provide all of these services seamlessly through dedicated supply to the mine, and with minimum reliance on fuels like diesel or natural gas.

Fuel Abatement

Supplying diesel to a remote mine can be a very expensive proposition since it is typically trucked to a mine over long distances. Natural gas supply can also be very expensive, given the cost of building pipelines to remote areas. Energy supply is typically around 25% of a mine’s operating costs and fossil fuel based, which increases the risks from carbon tax regulations, environmental permitting, and fuel price volatility. Solar energy can significantly reduce cost and reduce risk. Integrating storage for a fully baseload solar supply will eliminate fuel risk while still reducing costs, improving competitiveness, and enhancing sustainability.

Lower Energy Costs while Focusing on Minerals

Mining companies are focused on the resources. The changing landscape around carbon emissions and renewable energy creates challenges that are best managed by working with an experienced partner. That’s why SolarReserve offers complete turnkey solutions for energy supply, so that our customers can focus on their core business activities.

REAL SOLUTIONS FOR MINING COMPANIES

SolarReserve offers mining companies the most reliable baseload solar generation on the planet, enabled by our industry leading CSP and molten salt storage technology.

Solar Solutions for Predictable, Cost Effective Power

SolarReserve’s products minimize fuel use and thereby reduce exposure to volatile fuel prices. The degree of fuel abatement varies based on the size and scope of the solution: a smaller solar project can offset a portion of fuel consumption, while a larger project can fully replace conventional power infrastructure, eliminating the need for the mine to build its own fuel supply, power plant or transmission line.

The Complete Power Supply Package, Customized

SolarReserve offers an end-to-end energy supply solution, which includes suitability assessment, technology configuration, permitting support, finance and EPC management, and ongoing power plant operations or operational support. The energy supply agreement can be structured such that all technologies are integrated behind the fence at SolarReserve’s facility, or SolarReserve can transfer control of the assets to the mine operator. In either case, the mine will enjoy a guaranteed fixed price of energy for the life of the project.

SPECIFIC SOLUTIONS FOR MINES

SolarReserve configures custom solutions based on the generating capacity, load factor, solar resource, level of fuel reduction, grid power availability, and degree of power infrastructure replacement desired.

 

CSP: M-Class and S-Class

Concentrating Solar Power (CSP) with Integrated Molten Salt Energy Storage

SolarReserve holds the world’s leading, patented, and most advanced large-scale solar thermal technology available today. Our molten salt tower receiver with integrated thermal energy storage leads the CSP industry in terms of efficiency, reliability and cost.

SolarReserve’s disruptive CSP technology delivers a cost-effective, reliable and most importantly, a non-intermittent baseload (24x7) supply of electricity that is critical to mining operations. End-to-end system solutions from tens to hundreds of megawatts are available for both on and off grid mines, with the ability to operate at a high capacity factor and availability percentage equal to that of a fossil fired power plant.

M-Class

SolarReserve’s M-Class is configured specifically for smaller off-grid mines in remote locations. The M-Class offers a half cylindrical receiver with a 180° heliostat field (north of the tower in the northern hemisphere, south of the tower in the southern hemisphere.) The M-Class is also faster to construct than the S-Class and due to the field geometry is more easily integrated with conventional power generation. Typical M-Class projects deliver 200-400 GWh per year at 20-50 MW of capacity depending on the configuration.

 

S-Class

SolarReserve’s S-Class is the company’s traditional configuration, as deployed at the Crescent Dunes Solar Energy Plant in Nevada, USA. The S-Class is characterized by a cylindrical receiver and 360° heliostat field. It is the largest and most cost-effective CSP configuration with molten salt storage commercially available today. S-Class projects typically deliver 500-700 GWh per year at a capacity of 50-200 MW depending on the configuration.

 

Both S-Class and M-Class CSP designs offer fully integrated molten salt storage. All of SolarReserve’s CSP projects are also capable of providing a mine with process heat or steam in addition to power generation.

 

Integrated Hybrid Power Plants

SolarReserve can seamlessly integrate CSP, photovoltaic panels (PV), and fossil fuel. These components are fully integrated within SolarReserve’s facility, such that the mine would only see the consistent and responsive power supply to suit its needs. Thus SolarReserve offers fully reliable power on par with traditional generation, but sustainable, and at a lower cost.

SolarReserve is the leader in commercially proven and financeable molten salt power tower systems.

Full Reliability through Fuel Integration

SolarReserve’s CSP technology with solar energy storage can typically offer a capacity factor of 80%-90% from solar energy alone, depending on the strength and consistency of the sunlight. For full 100% availability in off-grid scenarios, a relatively small amount of fossil fuel can be used on cloudy days. The most cost-effective fuel integration strategy usually involves burning fuel (typically diesel) to heat the salt; which still results in a dramatic reduction in fuel use, but also allows the CSP plant’s steam turbine to run at full capacity on fossil fuel if needed. Alternatively, depending on the duty cycle, auxiliary boilers or reciprocating engines can be incorporated economically. An in-depth model of the mine’s load factor can demonstrate which technology solution is optimal and what fuel quantity is used in this application.

Mining Diagram

 

PV Integration

Photovoltaic (PV) Solar Power for Fuel Abatement

For smaller mines, SolarReserve offers PV to be integrated into the existing infrastructure (typically diesel-fired reciprocating engines) in order to reduce operating costs and CO2 emissions as well as dependence on diesel fuel. SolarReserve can provide the control system, any required energy storage, EPC management, and performance guarantees necessary to seamlessly integrate the PV operations into the mine’s energy management system, reducing fuel use during the daytime. We can guarantee permanent system stability and ensure smooth control of the electricity generation.