About 80% of direct emissions at the Collahuasi copper mine in northern Chile (Anglo American 44%, Glencore 44%) come from the consumption of diesel, especially from mining trucks. As discussed in its recently released 2021 Sustainability Report, the miner’s efforts related to Scope 1 emissions are therefore focused on reducing the use of this fuel fossil in trucks and, where possible, completely replace it with other energy sources.
As a short-term measure, Collahuasi is studying incorporating in the trucks a small unit that produces hydrogen from water, through a process of electrolysis, and then injects it into the combustion chamber in gaseous form, which makes the burning of diesel more efficient. This solution does not require modifying the current motors of vehicles and could reduce diesel consumption by at least 5%.
In addition, looking to the medium term, Collahuasi has started working on the pre-feasibility engineering of a pilot for the use of synthetic fuel, manufactured from hydrogen plus methane, carbon dioxide or other compounds, the combination of which gives rise to a chain of hydrocarbons that can be converted into gasoline, diesel oil or a substitute for natural gas usable in combustion engines. It only requires a change to the injection system. If recycled CO2 and water are used as raw materials, and renewable energy in the thermochemical production process, this fuel does not generate emissions of GHGs.