Tag Archives: ammonia

Orica addresses Scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions in latest GHG reduction pledge

Orica has announced its ambition to achieve net zero emissions by 2050, covering Scope 1 and 2 greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and its most “material” Scope 3 GHG emission sources.

The ambition builds on Orica’s previously announced medium-term target to reduce Scope 1 and 2 operational emissions by at least 40% by 2030.

To advance its net zero emissions ambition, Orica says it will:

  • Continue to reduce its operational footprint: prioritising Scope 1 and 2 operational emissions reductions by deploying tertiary catalyst abatement technology, sourcing renewable energy and optimising energy efficiency and industrial processes;
  • Collaborate with its suppliers: as new and emerging technologies scale and become commercial, partner with suppliers to source lower emissions intensity ammonium nitrate (AN) and ammonia to reduce Orica’s Scope 3 emissions, which account for approximately 70% of Orica’s total Scope 3 emissions;
  • Prioritise lower carbon solutions: developing lower carbon AN, as well as new products, services and technology offerings to help customers achieve their own sustainability goals; and
  • Report progress: transparently disclose performance consistent with the recommendations of the Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosure.

Orica Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Sanjeev Gandhi, said: “Our ambition of net zero emissions by 2050 shows our commitment to playing a part in achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement. This is a strong signal that the decarbonisation of Orica will, and must, continue beyond 2030 and requires a collaborative approach across all of our stakeholders.

“We’re making solid progress having already achieved a 9% emissions reduction in financial year 2020 (to June 30, 2020) and further reductions this financial year. We’ve taken our 2030 medium-term target and extended our planning over the long term, developing a credible roadmap to support our ambition to achieve net zero emissions by 2050.

“Over the next decade, Orica is deploying tertiary catalyst abatement, prioritising renewable energy opportunities and supporting a trial of carbon capture utilisation and storage technology. Beyond 2030, how we achieve our ambition is dependent on effective global policy frameworks, supportive regulation and financial incentives, and access to new and emerging technologies operating at commercial scale.

“Orica is a company with a long history of technical innovation which is already helping our customers improve mine site safety, productivity and efficiency. We will apply the same approach by deploying low-emissions technologies to our major manufacturing sites and working with our global suppliers and stakeholders on reducing the footprint of our supply chain.”

Orica says it has already undertaken several initiatives to drive action towards its medium-term target and support its 2050 net zero emissions ambition.

In FY2020, Orica’s Bontang AN manufacturing facility in Indonesia recorded a 43% reduction in net emissions and its Kooragang Island nitrates manufacturing plant (pictured below) in Australia achieved a 6.3% reduction in net emissions, by replacing and improving the performance of selective catalyst abatement technologies, the company said.

In partnership with the Alberta Government this year, Orica’s Carseland AN manufacturing facility in Canada has commissioned tertiary catalyst abatement technology, reducing emissions by approximately 83,000 t/y of CO2e.

Orica has assigned approximately A$45 million ($33 million) over the next five years in capital to deploy similar tertiary abatement technology across its Australian AN sites, which, it says, could deliver an annual reduction of 750,000 t CO2e.

Orica will also support the construction of a mobile demonstration plant of carbon capture, utilisation and storage technology at its Kooragang Island manufacturing facility, led by Mineral Carbonation International, in partnership with the Australian Government and the University of Newcastle. The plant is scheduled to be built on Orica’s Kooragang Island site by the end of 2023 and have direct access to some 250,000 t of captured CO2 from Orica’s manufacturing operations.

Fortescue Future Industries, Incitec Pivot to study ‘green’ hydrogen options at Gibson Island

Fortescue Future Industries (FFI) says it is partnering with Incitec Pivot, Australia’s largest fertiliser supplier, to conduct a feasibility study to convert its ammonia-production facility at Gibson Island in Brisbane, Queensland, to run on green, renewable hydrogen.

The ammonia-production facility at Gibson Island currently uses natural gas as a feedstock and has a contract in place for this supply until the end of 2022.

FFI also plans to construct an on-site electrolysis plant, which will produce up to 50,000 t/y of renewable, green hydrogen for conversion into green ammonia.

The project, if successful, will create a new domestic and export market for green, renewable ammonia, according to FFI. The resulting green ammonia could also provide a low-carbon fuel supply to the Port of Brisbane and Brisbane airport.

Decarbonising existing industrial plants remains a major challenge in the transition to a green, renewable future, FFI says. The company aims to demonstrate that infrastructure conversion is both technically and economically feasible, in order to accelerate decarbonisation while protecting jobs.

FFI says today’s announcement aligns with the Queensland and Commonwealth governments’ strategy to develop an innovative and competitive green hydrogen industry that delivers reliable domestic supply and new export opportunities.

Incitec Pivot produces around 2 Mt/y of fertilisers for use in Australia’s grain, cotton, pasture, dairy, sugar and horticulture industries. The first step of the project will be a feasibility study, with preliminary results available by the end of 2021.

This is the second major announcement by FFI this week in Queensland, following an announcement to establish the world’s largest electrolyser, renewable industry and equipment manufacturing centre, the Global Green Energy Manufacturing Centre, at Gladstone.

FFI says it is committed to generating 15 Mt/y of green hydrogen by 2030, rising to 50 Mt/y in the decade thereafter. While FFI’s green hydrogen will supply both domestic and export markets, it will also enable Fortescue to achieve its industry-leading target of carbon neutrality by 2030.

FFI Chief Executive Officer, Julie Shuttleworth, said: “FFI’s goal is to become the world’s leading, renewable energy and green products company, powering the Australian economy and creating jobs for Australia as we transition away from fossil fuels.

“FFI’s partnership with Incitec Pivot is an exciting opportunity to harness existing infrastructure at Gibson Island, fast tracking the production of green ammonia at an industrial scale.”

Incitec Pivot Managing Director, Jeanne Johns, said: “We are pleased to be partnering our world-class manufacturing and ammonia expertise in Australia with FFI’s hydrogen and renewable energy capabilities to contribute to Australia’s potential as a green ammonia powerhouse.

“If feasible, this project would sustain highly skilled manufacturing jobs at Gibson Island and allow us to leverage our existing capabilities and assets to create a thriving renewable hydrogen ecosystem in Australia in the near term.”

Fortescue issues ‘industry-leading’ Scope 3 emissions targets

Fortescue Metals Group has announced what it says is an industry-leading target to achieve net zero Scope 3 emissions by 2040, addressing emissions across Fortescue’s entire global value chain, including crude steel manufacturing which accounts for 98% of the company’s Scope 3 emissions.

Fortescue’s approach to reducing Scope 3 emissions is to develop projects and technologies with a focus on reducing emissions from iron and steel making and to work with current and prospective customers on the application of the technology and the supply of green hydrogen and ammonia from Fortescue Future Industries (FFI). Fortescue will also prioritise the decarbonisation of its own fleet of eight ore carriers and engage with shipping partners to reduce, and aiming to eliminate, emissions from shipping.

FFI is targeting the production of 15 Mt of green hydrogen annually by 2030, which will underpin opportunities to work with customers and shipping partners on emissions reduction and elimination projects.

In addition to the long-term goal to achieve net zero Scope 3 emissions by 2040, the following medium-term targets have been set:

  • Enable a reduction in emissions intensity levels from the shipping of Fortescue’s ores by 50% by 2030 from financial year (FY) 2021 levels; and
  • Enable a reduction in emissions intensity levels from steel making by Fortescue’s customers of 7.5% by 2030 from FY21 levels, to 100% by 2040.

Fortescue Chief Executive Officer, Elizabeth Gaines, said: “Climate change is the most pressing issue of our generation and at Fortescue, setting stretch targets is at the core of our culture and values and we are proud to set this goal to tackle emissions across our value chain.

“Fortescue has commenced its transition from a pure play iron ore producer to a green renewables and resources company, underpinned by the world’s first major carbon emission heavy industry operation to set a target to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030. This Scope 3 target is consistent with this transition and complements our targets for Scope 1 and 2 emissions reduction.

“Collaboration is integral to driving the rapid transition to green energy, and we remain committed to actively engaging with our customers, suppliers and other key industry participants to facilitate the reduction of emissions. This includes the development of technologies and the supply of green hydrogen and ammonia through FFI, which will provide significant opportunities for the steel, cement and land and sea transport industries to decarbonise.”

To achieve the target, Fortescue and FFI are focused on accelerating a number of key initiatives:

  • Conversion of existing maritime vessels, including Fortescue’s fleet of ore carriers, to be fuelled by green ammonia;
  • Supporting the adoption of green ammonia in new vessel construction;
  • Pursuing opportunities for emissions reduction and elimination in iron and steel making, facilitated by the use of renewable energy and green hydrogen; and
  • Research and development work to produce green iron and cement from Fortescue ores at low temperatures without coal.

FFI Chief Executive Officer, Julie Shuttleworth, said: “Our investments in technologies and research and development are focused on demonstrating that the production of iron ore, cement, iron and steel can operate with renewable energy.

“Our work to decarbonise Fortescue’s iron ore operations will position Fortescue as the first major supplier of green iron ore in the world, paving the way for production of green iron and a new green steel industry.”

Liebherr advances Zero Emission Program with help of ABB, ENGIE

Liebherr, on the back of an increased industry focus on GHG emissions reduction, has announced at MINExpo 2021 that it is accelerating the implementation of its existing low carbon solutions and triggered future projects to offer completely fossil fuel free mining equipment options.

While much of this development will occur in house, the company has confirmed it is partnering with ABB on trolley assist infrastructure and ENGIE on integrating different renewable energy solutions into loading, hauling and dozing processes.

Liebherr Mining’s strategy to reduce GHG emissions will mainly focus on the operational phase of its machinery, as studies showed that more than 90% of GHG emissions over the complete lifecycle of the equipment occurred during this phase.

Liebherr Mining’s Zero Emission Program, which was established to develop these future solutions, is well aligned with the values of the Liebherr Group as an independent and responsible, family-owned company, it says.

The Liebherr Group has existing in-house core competencies, across all 13 product segments, in electrification, batteries, internal combustion engines, injection systems and alternative renewable fuels. Building from this experience, the Zero Emission Program has clear targets and a roadmap to achieve low carbon solutions for the full range of off-highway trucks and excavators in 2022, and fossil fuel free solutions for the majority of applications by 2030.

The Zero Emission Program strives to deliver long-term sustainable products and services, providing different options centred on environmental sustainability, safety, cost, flexibility and maintainability. Modularisation, along with an energy-type agnostic approach to drivetrains, are key elements in Liebherr Mining’s strategy, easing the transition for customers with the possibility to retrofit modules.

2022 target: Liebherr’s low carbon emission technology

Liebherr Mining has developed and offered electrification solutions for many years and is now about to finalise all initiatives to achieve its first 2022 target to offer low carbon emission solutions for its complete digging and hauling range.

The technologies, including the haul truck Trolley Assist System and electric excavator range, are consistently achieving proven results in the field to lower carbon emissions, according to the company. The newly introduced in-built Liebherr Power Efficiency control system has also shown excellent results since field operation began in 2019, the company says.

Trolley Assist System for Liebherr haul trucks

With the T 264 trolley components production-ready in 2022, all Liebherr trucks will be available with Trolley Assist System, providing a low emission solution for customers.

The Liebherr Trolley Assist System is, the company says, an effective first step on the road to zero emission mine sites of the future. Using an overhead pantograph or trolley bars to connect the electric-drive system to the electrical network, the Trolley Assist System offers increased truck fleet productivity, or reduction in fleet size, while maintaining yearly production when compared with standard trucks. A significant reduction of diesel fuel consumption is also made possible with the Trolley Assist System along with a reduction of the truck fleet CO2 emissions. However, this of course depends on the percentage of renewable energy content in the grid supplied power.

Oliver Weiss, Executive Vice President R&D, Engineering and Manufacturing, Liebherr-Mining Equipment SAS, outlined some of the company’s trolley assist operations at MINExpo 2021 today

Liebherr delivers proven field experience with 39 T 284 units fitted with the Trolley Assist System currently in operation on two different sites, with more to be commissioned in 2022. Liebherr is also the first company to run a 100 t truck under trolley, with a fleet of T 236 trucks running on a 5 km trolley line in Austria at the Erzberg mine – the longest trolley line in the world, according to Liebherr.

‘The largest range of electric excavators’

The Liebherr Group has over 30 years of experience in electric driven machines for earthmoving, material handling and mining applications. Today, Liebherr Mining says it is the OEM offering the largest range of electric driven excavators on the market. Ranging from 130 t to 800 t, the R 9150, R 9200, R 9250, R 9350, R 9400, and R 9800 are all available as electric drive versions. The electric drive R 9600 will soon be available.

Liebherr electric excavators are existing and already proven solutions helping customers to build future sustainable mine sites, it says. Focusing on reliability, maintainability and maximum safety, Liebherr’s engineering teams strive for solutions requiring minimum change to existing energy infrastructure and operational behaviour on customer sites. Thanks to 70% of parts commonality with diesel versions, Liebherr also offers complete retrofit options for existing machines.

To offer better machine mobility and safety for the workforce on site, Liebherr has developed a cable reel option for all electric drive excavators either in backhoe or face shovel. The cable reel is completely autonomous and has a capacity of up to 300 m depending on the excavator type. Furthermore, Liebherr proposes an operational concept for excavators with cable reel in backhoe application, particularly in double benching operations.

Liebherr Power Efficiency

Liebherr says it is continuously improving and upgrading its standard machines to enable the transition to emission reductions. Liebherr Power Efficiency (LPE) is the most recent built-in technology upgrade making this productivity and sustainability contribution.

Starting with Generation 7, all Liebherr mining excavators will be equipped with LPE as standard. This specific engine and hydraulic management system drastically reduces fuel consumption by up to 20%.

The system:

  • Adapts piloting processes according to operator requirements;
  • Electronically controls pressure and oil flow;
  • Has increased efficiency of the control valves and the new Liebherr pumps;
  • Has a fully integrated engine control system;
  • Reduces hydraulic losses and load profile of the engine for increased component lifetime; and
  • Reduces energy consumption without impact on the machine performance.

Based on research and development, Liebherr is able to provide size-equivalent machinery with higher production rates and less fuel consumption.

“In fact, the combination of LPE together with the improved productivity of the R 9600, has shown 29% less fuel consumption per tonne of produced material over a one-year production study, compared to its predecessor, the R 996B,” Liebherr says. “Expressed in fuel efficiency, tonnes per litre, this corresponds to a 40% better utilisation of the fuel.”

These efficiencies allow Liebherr excavators to set new benchmarks in its respective classes and are a very important enablers for any kind of future drive train, as they significantly reduce the effort for cable handling or refuelling and storage of alternative fuels, the company says.

Pathway to zero emission solutions

As second step, Liebherr is now targeting to offer completely fossil fuel free mining equipment for hauling, digging and dozing by 2030. This development will take into consideration the GHG emissions over equipment’s full lifecycle, as well as the overall well-to-wheel energy ecosystem. The company is also taking into account the operational mining process conditions that influence the right energy type choice.

Liebherr will develop three drivetrain options to achieve near zero emissions for its off-highway trucks: battery power module, internal combustion engines powered by renewable fuels, and H2 fuel cell-battery power module.

Drivetrain electrification through battery combined with trolley assist is already underway, according to the company.

Despite some challenges, Liebherr sees also an opportunity that the propulsion energy can be provided by using hydrogen fuel cell-battery hybrids.

Research and development for internal combustion engines operating with renewable-based alternative fuels is progressing very well within the Liebherr Group, with Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil (HVO) as an approved fuel for machines powered by Liebherr engines as a first step.

Hydrogen combustion engines are also currently being tested in Liebherr’s factory in Switzerland. The methanol combustion process has been developed for large displacement engines and is ready to move towards serial engine industrialisation based on market demand, according to the company. Additionally, the ammonia combustion process is under investigation, with Liebherr seeing high potential in the usage of ammonia for heavy mobile, high energy demanding machines and gensets.

Liebherr mining excavators and dozers will also both have the option to be powered by internal combustion engines running on alternative fuels, along with the already existing electric drive version for excavators.

To achieve near zero emissions for the mining dozer and excavator, it is also crucial to use the most efficient drive system to reduce fuel consumption. The Liebherr hydrostatic drive system already achieves up to 20% improved fuel efficiency compared with mechanical competitor products, it says.

Despite this, Liebherr is currently in the process of comparing efficiency of an electric drive on a dozer prototype with hydrostatic drive efficiency. Given Liebherr’s expertise in both hydrostatic and electric AC drive systems, the company says it is in the best position to choose the most appropriate option for the best drive system for the near zero emission solution.

To accelerate the process and ensure the best solutions will be offered, Liebherr is partnering with industry experts for its Zero Emission Program.

ABB, a leader in power and automation technologies, develops state-of-the-art technology and equipment for overall electrification of mine sites and supports Liebherr’s customers and the company with a particular focus on trolley assist infrastructure deployment.

ENGIE, a renewable hydrogen, low-carbon energy and services company, will jointly with Liebherr evaluate the different renewable energy solutions, in particular renewable hydrogen and hydrogen-derived fuels, for loading, hauling and dozing processes. This cooperation ensures that an integrated well-to-wheel approach is basis to define the best solutions for the mining industry, Liebherr says.

With concept studies nearly finalised for trolley-battery hybrid, and ammonia and methanol for internal combustion engines, Liebherr expects to undertake field validation from 2024-2026, followed by the integration of proven fossil fuel free solutions from 2026-2030 into the entire range of mining machines.

Australian government backs mining and metal sector decarbonising initiative

A new Cooperative Research Centre focused on integrating green energy sources such as hydrogen, ammonia and solar into high-heat and high-emission manufacturing processes for products like steel, aluminium and cement has won Australia government backing.

The Heavy Industry Low-carbon Transition Cooperative Research Centre (HILT CRC), to be led by the University of Adelaide, has been provided with A$39 million ($29 million) of funding through the CRC Grants program. It is also backed by an additional A$175.7 million in funding and in-kind support from research and industry partners such as Alcoa, Rio Tinto Aluminium, South32, Roy Hill, Fortescue Metals Group, the Australian National University and the CSIRO.

South Australia Minister for Industry, Science and Technology, Christian Porter, said the CRC would help to secure the future of heavy industries right across the country by helping them to lower costs and establish a reputation as exporters of high-quality, low-carbon, value-added products.

“In order to remain internationally competitive, it is crucial that our heavy industries begin the transition to lower cost and cleaner energy technology to secure the long-term future of their operations,” Minister Porter said. “By connecting those industries with our best and brightest minds from within our major research institutions – coupled with the significant funding that’s now available to fast-track this work – we expect real-world solutions can be delivered within the 10-year life of the CRC.”

Dr David Cochrane, who is Technology Lead at core CRC partner South32 and also an industry leader of the HILT CRC, said: “The HILT CRC will play an important role in transitioning to a low-carbon future by creating a framework for industry to collaborate, sharing knowledge and experience while lowering the risk of trialling technology.

“For South32, we have recently set medium-term targets to halve our operational emissions by 2035 as we transition to net zero by 2050 and initiatives like the HILT CRC are part of our plan to achieve these targets.”

Susan Jeanes, who is Chair-elect of the HILT CRC, said: “Decarbonising Australia’s heavy industry will position it to be competitive in the rapidly developing, global low carbon markets for green iron and aluminium products that have higher value than our current exports. These new markets are being driven by our trading partners in countries like China, Japan and Europe, which are introducing a range of financial measures to meet their carbon targets, such as EU’s Carbon Border Tax.

“Our mineral resources geographically co-exist around the continent with our first-class renewable energy resources making decarbonising more competitive here than in other parts of the world.”

Anglo American tests out sustainable biofuel in shipping operations

Anglo American says it has successfully trialled the use of sustainable biofuel to power a chartered capesize ship during a voyage from Singapore to South Africa.

The biodiesel blend, produced by converting waste cooking oil from Singapore’s food and beverage industry, reduces carbon dioxide emissions compared with using 100% conventional marine fuel.

Peter Whitcutt, CEO of Anglo American’s Marketing business, said: “Low emission ocean freight is crucial in driving the long-term sustainability of the maritime industry. Shaping an effective transition requires a comprehensive framework of complementary solutions, in which alternative marine fuels have an important role to play.

“We are partnering with like-minded industry players to improve our understanding of factors likely to impact the future scalability of this solution. The success of this trial marks an important step forward in establishing biofuel as a viable option, aligned with circular economic principles. These efforts also reinforce our commitment as an organisation to reduce emissions across the entire value chain, as we work towards carbon neutrality across our operations by 2040.”

The trial conducted onboard the ‘Frontier Jacaranda’, a capesize bulk carrier owned by Japanese shipping company NYK Line, was instrumental in verifying the stability of the biofuel in storage and its performance as a fuel, Anglo said.

Data gathered is providing new insights into wider efforts to introduce biofuel to the maritime sector, paving the way to improving its cost-effectiveness and using higher percentage blends in future trials, the company added. The conversion of waste cooking oil into fuel for transportation aligns with the principles of the circular economy, by providing a fresh and environmentally beneficial use for what would otherwise be disposed of.

Toyota Tsusho Petroleum supplied the biodiesel blend, consisting of 7% biofuel and 93% regular fuel. This combination reduces carbon dioxide emissions by around 5%, is compliant with the International Standard Organisation’s requirement for marine fuels and requires no substantial engine modifications, according to the company.

Anglo American partnered with Singapore firm Alpha Biofuels, which converts waste cooking oil into biofuel, to blend this sustainable biodiesel via shore tanks in Singapore.

Anglo is investigating several ways through which to reduce carbon intensity in its ocean freight operations, including the use of ammonia as an alternative marine fuel, as well as adding capesize+ vessels into its chartered fleet fuelled by LNG which reduces CO2 emissions by approximately 35%.

Fortescue Future Industries plots path for 300 MW green hydrogen plant in Brazil

Fortescue Future Industries (FFI), a wholly owned subsidiary of Fortescue Metals Group, and Porto do Açu Operações SA (Port of Açu), a subsidiary of Prumo Logistica SA, have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to assess the opportunity to develop hydrogen-based green industrial projects in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Signed in late February, the MoU will allow for FFI and Port of Açu to conduct development studies into the feasibility of installing a green hydrogen plant at Port of Açu, Latin America’s largest privately owned deep-water port-industrial complex, FFI said.

Subject to the outcome of the studies, the project envisages construction of a 300 MW capacity green hydrogen plant at Port of Açu, with potential to produce 250,000 t/y of green ammonia.

The availability of green hydrogen and renewable power is expected to drive further sustainable industrialisation of the port, including production of green steel, fertilisers, chemicals, fuels and other sustainably manufactured industrial products, according to FFI. Anglo American already uses the port for exporting its iron ore from Minas-Rio.

The MoU also lays the groundwork for on-site solar power development projects, as well as off-shore wind development projects in the states of Rio de Janeiro and Espirito Santo.

FFI Chief Executive Officer, Julie Shuttleworth, said: “FFI is assessing renewable energy and green hydrogen opportunities globally and will lead and drive the green energy and product industry as we transition away from fossil fuels.

“I am excited to announce this MoU with Port of Açu. The opportunity to establish totally new and future large-scale industries will drive growth in the Brazilian economy. We expect the potential for new green industries at Port of Açu to substantially diversify, broaden and deepen Brazil’s already skilled workforce.”

Jose Firmo, Chief Executive Officer of the Port of Açu, said: “The Port of Açu is sailing steadfastly ahead toward the sustainable economy of the future. One of the pillars of our vision for the port’s industrialisation are today’s operational energy transition projects and the renewable energy-fuelled green industries of tomorrow.

“Açu is a gateway between the growing Brazilian economy and rapidly expanding low carbon businesses around the globe.”

Firmo added: “This will be the first green hydrogen plant in the country and will place FFI and Açu at the forefront of clean energy production and the green industrialisation of Brazil.”

Subject to the completion of feasibility studies and approvals, individual projects will be developed by FFI with ownership and project finance sources to be separately secured without recourse to Fortescue, the company said.

Fortescue fast-tracks carbon neutrality aim, sets plan to trial hydrogen-powered drills

Fortescue Metals Group is accelerating its carbon neutrality efforts, with the iron ore miner now expecting to achieve this ‘green’ milestone by 2030, 10 years earlier than its previous target.

Fortescue Future Industries (FFI), a wholly owned subsidiary of Fortescue, will be a key enabler of this target through the development of green electricity, green hydrogen and green ammonia projects in Australia, however, the company has also identified battery-electric technology as a potential diesel alternative game changer.

Dr Andrew Forrest, Chairman of Fortescue Metals Group, said: “We have joined the global battle to defeat climate change. We are trialling and demonstrating green hydrogen technologies in global-scale commercial environments, while also rapidly evolving into a green hydrogen and electricity producer of similar scale.”

In line with its 2030 aim, Fortescue, through FFI and its operations team, is undertaking to deliver several key projects by the stretch target of June 30, 2021. This, the company says, will underpin its pathway to decarbonisation.

These projects include:

  • Developing a ship design powered by green ammonia and trialling that design in new ammonia engine technology, at scale;
  • Testing large battery technology in its haul trucks – a project the company is pursuing with the help of Williams Advanced Engineering;
  • Trialling hydrogen fuel cell power for its drill rigs;
  • Trialling technology on its locomotives to run on green ammonia; and
  • Conducting trials to use renewable energy in the Pilbara of Western Australia to convert iron ore to “green iron” at low temperatures, without coal.

Fortescue Chief Executive Officer, Elizabeth Gaines, said: “Each of these projects will contribute to the world’s inexorable march to carbon neutrality. Fortescue will establish that the major steel, truck, train, ship and mobile plant industries can be operated with renewable, environmentally friendly energy. This will be possible as a result of these ground-breaking Fortescue trials. Each will be tested by Fortescue using commercial-scale equipment to prove that the demand for direct green electricity, green hydrogen and green ammonia could one day be as large as the fossil fuel industry.”

She added: “These projects are in addition to Fortescue’s significant investment with our partners into energy infrastructure, including the Chichester Solar Gas Hybrid Project and Pilbara Energy Connect program.”

Forrest said the company’s commitment to demonstrate green hydrogen’s economic value in world-scale operations, and become a major energy exporter, means Fortescue will emerge as an “executor” of major green hydrogen projects.

He said the company’s green energy and industry initiatives may one day out-scale its iron ore business due to the global demand for renewable energy, but Fortescue’s commitment to iron ore and resources globally “remains indefeasible”.

Fortescue says it is seeking to move from being a major consumer of fossil fuel with a current trajectory of more than 1 billion litres a year of diesel being used across the operations if no remedial action is taken – to a major clean and renewable energy exporter.

FFI is advancing projects across Australia, including Tasmania, to build large-scale renewable energy and green hydrogen production capacity. This will expedite the substitution of green hydrogen and green ammonia for carbon-based fuels, it says. These projects will, with the support of Australia’s governments, contribute to a significant reduction in national carbon emissions.

AVL examining ‘green hydrogen’ potential for vanadium project

Australian Vanadium is making plans to incorporate “green hydrogen” into its mine operations in Western Australia as part of a carbon emission reduction strategy.

Vincent Algar, Managing Director of Australian Vanadium, thinks the use of green hydrogen could allow the company to reduce its carbon footprint and leverage both the economical and environmental benefits of what is a growing market.

“The green steel opportunity is one that Western Australia should particularly embrace, with the potential for many jobs to be created and a globally competitive steel industry,” he said. “This strategy can assist with environmental approvals and in attracting finance partners with an environmental, social and corporate governance focus, for AVL to bring the Australian vanadium project into production.”

The Australian vanadium project is around 40 km south-east of Meekatharra and 740 km north-east of Perth. The proposed project includes open-pit mining, crushing, milling and beneficiation at the Meekatharra site and a processing plant for final conversion to high-quality vanadium pentoxide for use in steel, specialty alloys and battery markets, to be located at a site at Tenindewa, between Mullewa and Geraldton.

The company’s strategy to incorporate hydrogen into the project includes the following areas:

  • Introducing a percentage of green hydrogen into the natural gas feed for the processing plant. The purpose of this is to reduce carbon emissions. This will be analysed fully in the company’s bankable feasibility study;
  • Offtake of ammonia from green hydrogen production for use in the final vanadium precipitation step of processing. The CSIRO is working on an ARENA (the Australian Government’s Australian Renewable Energy Agency) funded project to develop a production process that does not contribute to greenhouse gas emissions;
  • Powering mine site or haulage vehicles to move material from the mine site to the processing plant with green hydrogen. Hydrogen generation could be undertaken at the mine site and at the processing plant for refuelling. “This is a new area of development for Australia and will need to be fully assessed for its financial implications,” the company said, adding that it is keen to work with the federal and state governments and haulage companies who have a forward plan for this technology;
  • The use of green hydrogen for steel production in the ore reduction step. AVL is seeking partnerships with companies interested in this area as it would be a “noble and efficient use” for the Fe-Ti co-product that the company plans to produce, it said; and
  • Through AVL’s 100% owned subsidiary, VSUN Energy, integrating hydrogen electrolysers in plant design, combined with energy storage utilising vanadium redox flow battery technology. To support the Government of Western Australia’s plans for a green hydrogen economy, AVL has submitted a formal response to the request for expressions of interest for the Oakajee Strategic Industrial Area Renewable Energy Strategy. “Having a project located in the Mid-West region, with a variety of ways for AVL to incorporate green hydrogen means that the company is well-positioned to leverage the emerging hydrogen economy and its financial and environmental benefits,” it said.

AVL says its project is currently one of the highest-grade vanadium projects being advanced globally with 208.2 Mt at 0.74% V₂O₅, containing a high-grade zone of 87.9 Mt at 1.06% V₂O₅, reported in compliance with the JORC Code 2012.

Goldcorp’s Éléonore gold mine cleans up its act with novel wastewater treatment

The latest winner of Goldcorp’s Global Excellence Awards 2019 to be featured in its online blog is the Éléonore gold mine and a novel system that proved its worth removing ammonia and residual cyanide by-products at the company’s Éléonore gold mine in Quebec, Canada.

Goldcorp said: “For any mining operation, effective wastewater treatment to remove contaminants is an indispensable step needed to minimise environmental impacts and maintain the mine’s social license to operate.

“When elevated concentrations of ammonia and residual cyanide by-products were detected in mill effluent at Éléonore, in 2014, the mill and environmental team took decisive action by introducing a novel wastewater treatment process that rectified the problem and secured Éléonore a Global Excellence Award for Sustainability Stewardship.”

Following Éléonore’s mill start-up in 2014, the new process water bleed (discharge) to water treatment plant (WTP) and paste backfill process resulted in increased concentrations of contaminants in water effluent, according to Goldcorp.

Even though the cause of the ammonia and residual cyanide toxicity couldn’t readily be identified, the Éléonore team immediately notified all major stakeholders, such as the Quebec Environment Ministry, Environment Canada and the Cree Nation Government – Environment Committee of Opinagow Collaboration Agreement, informing them on the extent of the problem and plans to rectify the situation.

France Trépanier, Environmental Coordinator at Goldcorp, said: “From the outset, we wanted to be very open and transparent with key stakeholders on steps we were taking to identify the source of the toxicity and plans to resolve the problem. Through ongoing dialogue and regular reporting, we were able to maintain a collaborative climate and establish strong partnerships based on mutual trust.”

During 2015 and 2016, the Éléonore team developed an action plan, investigated various water treatment options, and executed a series of projects including cyanide detox and leaching circuits optimisation to reduce effluent contamination, the company said.

The team also worked on mill water balance through its zero-bleed project with the objective of reducing contaminant process water discharge to the WTP, which involved reducing fresh water consumption by replacing water-sealed pumps used in the mill with mechanical seal pumps. “These projects increased control of process water contaminant concentration but didn’t resolve toxicity issues,” Goldcorp said.

A consultant working on the toxicity problem recommended the Éléonore team consider zeolite treatment and a Moving Bed Bacteria Reactor (MBBR) system to process wastewater effluent. Zeolite is a mineral well known for its ability to absorb a variety of heavy metals and ammonia. MBBR, more commonly used for municipal water treatment, is an activated bacteria aeration system, where bacteria collected on porous plastic carriers breaks down organic matter from wastewater, according to Goldcorp.

A pilot project found that zeolite treatment removed ammonia but did not eliminate the toxicity. MBBR, on the other hand, could remove ammonia and cyanide by-products delivering non-toxic results at low water temperatures (8°C).

In Spring 2016, the Quebec government granted approval for Éléonore to expand its water treatment plant by adding MBBR treatment while continuing to reduce its process water discharge to reach a zero-bleed operation.

Construction got underway in the fall of 2016, and the MBBR treatment plant was commissioned in May 2017.

“Energy efficiency was one of the critical plant design considerations to minimise heating requirements in winter,” Goldcorp said. “The addition of a heat exchange system and an insulated water circuit ensured that process water could feed the MBBR to keep the bacteria-activated treatment as stable as possible during cold winter months. Now, at the second winter, treatment is achieved without any heating at a temperature around 5°C.”

From concept to completion, Éléonore workers were kept up to date on the project’s progress through regular on-site presentations and stakeholders informed of the mine’s plans through monthly reports, quarterly presentations and site visits, the company said.

Trépanier said: “Consistent communication really enabled us to demonstrate how serious we were about solving this problem, which was essential in helping secure support for this project among stakeholders and regulators.”

Following the MBBR ramp up, Éléonore reduced ammonia and cyanide by-product concentrations in its effluent by more than 90% and was designated 100% in compliance with water quality regulations in October 2017. Since MBBR has been in steady operation, mandatory effluent sampling frequency returned from weekly to monthly.

The Éléonore team recently shared its experience in implementing this novel water treatment technology at a symposium on mining and the environment. Since then, it has received numerous enquiries from other mining companies and have hosted site visits to demonstrate the water treatment process, according to Goldcorp.

“There was a lot of people from different departments working on this project over the last two-and-a-half years,” Trépanier said. “It’s very gratifying to be recognised both externally and by our peers at Goldcorp for a successful outcome. We’re very happy to share what we’ve learned with other mining companies to help improve the industry’s environmental performance.”