Tag Archives: Atacama

Highview to pair solar with cryogenic energy storage in Chile’s Atacama

Highview Enlasa, the 50/50 joint venture between Highview Power and Energía Latina SA-Enlasa, has announced the development of the first liquid air long duration energy storage project in Chile.

This 50 MW/500 MWh (10 hours) CRYOBattery™, which represents an estimated investment of $150 million, will be in Diego de Almagro in the Atacama Region.

With one of the highest solar irradiations in the world, the Atacama Region has the potential to generate all the country’s electricity. By pairing solar with cryogenic energy storage, Chile can benefit from 24/7, 100% renewable energy, according to Highview Power.

Engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) on the project will be carried out by SK Ingeniería y Construcción, a leading Chile-based EPC contractor and a subsidiary of the Sigdo Koppers group. The project is currently in the pre-feasibility engineering phase and is scheduled to enter environmental permitting in August. Construction is estimated to start in the second half of 2023.

Javier Cavada, CEO and President of Highview Power, said: “This is a big step forward to enabling decarbonisation goals for the country of Chile. Our liquid air energy storage technology is the optimal solution for the large scale, long duration energy storage that is needed to balance the grid, without the geographic constraints associated with other energy storage technologies.”

The Highview Enlasa joint venture is opening Latin American energy markets to baseload renewable energy potential, the companies say. When paired with renewable energy sources such as solar, Highview Power’s long duration energy storage system is equivalent in performance to thermal and nuclear power, it claims. CRYOBatteries are developed using proven components from mature industries and can deliver pumped-hydro capabilities without geographical constraints.

Fernando del Sol, President of Highview Enlasa, added: “The objective of our company is to make this innovative technology available to the market and to all actors in the electrical and mining sectors. These plants can replace traditional coal plants, which will help us contribute to accelerating the decarbonisation process in Chile and to combat climate change.”

Highview Power’s proprietary cryogenic energy storage technology uses air liquefaction, in which ambient air is cooled and turned to liquid at -196°C. The liquid air is stored at low pressure and later heated and expanded to drive a turbine and generate power. It is the only long duration energy storage solution available today that is locatable and can offer multiple gigawatt-hours (weeks) of storage, according to the company.

“The CRYOBattery has a small footprint and is scalable with no size limitations or geographic constraints, allowing for the deployment of massive amounts of renewables,” the company said.

Highview Power’s cryogenic energy storage plants offer valuable capabilities including voltage control, grid balancing and synchronous inertia that give grid operators the flexibility to manage power and energy services independently.”

BHP stresses importance of ‘social value’ in strategic decision-making

While many miners look to emphasise the way they obtain and retain their social licence to operate during exploration, development and operations, BHP said this week that “social value” plays an important role in its decision-making.

At a briefing in London on October 8, BHP Chief External Affairs Officer, Geoff Healy, said: “We are moving from a position of maintaining ‘a social licence’ to creating ‘social value’.

“For us, it is – plain and simple – good business. We are part of a society that expects more of us. We recognise that our success depends on our ability to earn their trust and confidence. And we know that this means changing the way we do business at all levels, from local to global.”

Healy said that when the company makes business decisions, both financial value and social value considerations come into play – “each depends on the other for the decision to be effective”, he added.

During the briefing, Healy said the company makes a relatively small number of large, long-term capital investments that are structurally immobile – “we can’t just close up the factory and relocate when the going gets tough”. This means when BHP invests in a region, it becomes part of the local community for decades, with the miner, sometimes, creating those communities.

“Our portfolio is simple – yet the inherent risks are complex and wide-ranging,” he said, explaining that circa- 80% of the company’s EBITDA is concentrated in Western Australia, Queensland and the northern Atacama region of Chile; 55% of its revenue is derived from China; and over 80% of its products emit CO2 in its customers’ value chain.

“An imbalance in our community relations in a few locations has the potential to fundamentally impact our business: from a reset of fiscal terms, to the refusal of necessary permits and approvals,” he said.

“A disorderly transition to decarbonisation has the potential to threaten the viability of entire commodities in our product suite. And a social and environmental disaster, such as another significant tailings dam failure, has the potential to be existential.”

On the flipside, he said BHP knows that if it manages well its transition – “from ‘social licence to value’” – it will create a “core competitive advantage that will be hard to replicate”.

“Retreating, or seeking a quick, short-term fix, will not work. Getting it right will be differentiating, and value creating,” he said.

In this context, Healy reviewed the results of some of the investments and initiatives the company has undertaken, which has seen the number of high potential injuries reduced by more than 40% in the last three years, the number of women hired since 2015 trebled and over $1.7 billion invested in social programs in the last decade.

Healy said: “All of these commitments stand for nothing unless we hold ourselves to account and are transparent.

“We have made public our emissions targets, our water stewardship efforts, and the taxes and royalties we pay.”

Coming back to the move from ‘a social licence’ to creating ‘social value’, Healy said this transition protects BHP’s business today and positions the company to take advantage of future opportunities.

He said: “To obtain access to the best resources, we must be the partner-of-choice for governments.

“To secure the best talent, we must be committed to making a positive societal impact.

“And, to secure the best partners, we must be trusted by our community partners.”

‘Access’ is the key word here, Healy said, with there being two sides to that word: “One, protecting and maintaining the access we currently have. And, two, securing access to new resources, new talent, and new partnerships to take full advantage of future opportunities.”

In addition to the company’s targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, with the recent $400 million investment in technologies to reduce emissions from both BHP’s own operations, as well as those generated in its value chain being the obvious example, BHP is also looking to play its part in ensuring tailings management standards are lifted across all of industry and transforming the way it is managing water and power at Escondida.

The latter includes moving to 100% desalinated water over the medium term and transitioning to 100% renewable power with BHP in the late stages of securing a long-term contract for renewable power supply that could “deliver significant cost savings relative to our current gas-fired supply”, Healy said.

He concluded: “We know that when we consider social impacts in our decision-making; and when we build respectful and mutually beneficial relationships, we create sustainable value for all of our stakeholders; and in particular for our investors.

“We are determined to assess and communicate our progress regularly and transparently.

“And we expect to be judged on the results we produce and the value we create, for you as investors, as well as our broader stakeholders.”

ENAPAC solar-powered desalination project clears environmental hurdle in Chile

The Energias y Aguas del Pacifico (ENAPAC) solar powered desalination project in the Atacama Region of Chile has reached another milestone, with the local government signing off the all-important Environmental Impact Study (EIS).

TRENDS Industrial, which is developing the project, said the Environmental Evaluation Commission recommended approving the EIS.

The ENAPAC project consists of a seawater desalination project that will be supplied with its own source of photovoltaic energy, for the mining region of Atacama. With an estimated initial investment of $500 million, ENAPAC will become the largest desalination plant in Latin America. It will have a maximum capacity of 2.630 l/s, a projected 100 MW of installed photovoltaic power and a water reservoir with 600,000 m³ capacity.

“Thus, ENAPAC will be one of the most advanced projects in the world with a combination of reverse osmosis desalination and photovoltaic energy,” TRENDS said.

Rodrigo Silva, TRENDS Industrial’s CEO, said: “The project will generate opportunities for local employment and suppliers, and our vision is that many users can access a sustainable and clean source of water ceasing the use of continental waters and the basins of the region, which suffers from a severe water stress. The response from the industrial sector, especially mining projects, has been very positive and we’re advancing conversations with many companies. Certainly, we predict the EIS approval will accelerate those conversations and agreements.”

The environmental evaluation from Chilean authorities for ENAPAC took more than a year and is part of the list managed by the Office of Sustainable Projects Management of the Chilean Ministry of Econom, TRENDS said.

Back in June, TRENDS Industrial signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Almar Water Solutions to develop the ENAPAC project