Tag Archives: CO2

Liebherr-Mining cuts emissions, costs with new equipment transport route

Each year, about 1,000 so-called “exceptional” trucks are needed to transport the mining machines assembled by Liebherr-Mining Equipment Colmar SAS to the Belgian seaports to join mine sites around the world in the likes of Australia, Africa and Asia.

In June 2019, the company challenged itself to shift the pre-haulage to the seaports from road to river and, after 18 months of experimentation, the ecological and economical results have proven very positive, with the company deciding to pursue its efforts.

Before starting this project, Liebherr-Mining conducted an in-depth study on the modal shift, 50% financed by Voies Navigables de France (VNF – Inland waterway association) Strasbourg and with the help of an international consulting company. This funding is part of PARM (assistance plan for modal shifts) piloted by VNF and intended to support companies wishing to move to river transport.

Established in Colmar for almost 60 years, the company decided to contribute to the development and competitiveness of the region by working with local firms. Thus, the pre-haulage from the factory to the Rhine port was entrusted to the two Alsatian carriers Straumann (Colmar) and Wack (Obernai and Drulingen). The barging company is Haeger & Schmidt Logistics.

One of the first positive aspects of river transport is the reduction of environmental footprint. For the same amount of goods transported, a barge will consume three to four times less energy than a truck and emit up to five times less CO2, the company claims

By reducing road traffic, noise pollution is also reduced because river transport is a quieter mode of transport.

Over the 18 month trial, Liebherr-Mining Equipment Colmar shipped 148 machines/1,600 packages, or 27,000 t, spread over 60 barges. For the environment, this represented a saving of 800,000 km on the road and 868,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions.

River transportation comes with numerous other advantages. With an almost zero accident rate, the river is a safe mode of transport – the absence of traffic saturation and the presence of loading software guarantee the perfect stability of the boats, Liebherr says.

In terms of deadlines, a machine ready for dispatch on Friday morning can be at the seaport (Antwerp or Zeebrugge) on Monday morning. For many types of goods, if the flow is industrialised and if the company commits to a forecast volume, river transport is also a less expensive solution. Liebherr in Colmar was able to save money thanks to river transport.

This pre-haulage strategy initiated by the mining division has opened up a new path in the Liebherr Group. Other factories in the group are now studying the possibility of following the same path, the company says.

Vale looks to smart meters for power cost, GHG emission reductions

To reduce operating costs and greenhouse gas emissions, Vale is investing BRL20 million ($4.9 million) into the implementation of a smart energy management system to improve equipment performance and process automation across its production chain – from mine to port.

The system, known as SmartEnergy, should lead to the installation, by 2021, of 2,000 intelligent electric power meters at 57 of the company’s operating units and large equipment in Brazil – for example, in ore grinding circuits, long-distance conveyor belt systems and pumping systems.

The smart meters reduce production losses through continuous evaluation of the quality of power and identification of the causes of failures in power supply. Tests using this technology in two mines have saved BRL90 million per year, according to Vale, eliminating equipment shutdowns due to incorrect activation of the “electrical protective system”.

According to Vale’s Energy Efficiency Project Coordinator, Renato Arantes, smart meters can accurately detect voltage and electric current variations. These meters also register the power consumption and submit data to SmartEnergy, which enables interactions with several enterprise systems, including management of energy efficiency programs, among other functions.

Arantes said: “Often, the electrical protective system shuts down important equipment or processes due to electric power fluctuations that could be tolerated without adding any risks to operations. These small interruptions affect productivity as energy is wasted in restarting the equipment and processes as well as resuming normal operating capacity, not to mention the impact on production and increased CO2 emissions.”

SmartEnergy IT Coordinator, Laysa Mello, explained that the system will standardise the data generated by smart meters to analyse the energy use across the company.

“This standardisation enables better planning of energy consumption and demand in all operations, offering unprecedentedly higher data availability and accuracy,” she said. Although it is an off-the-shelf software already available on the market, SmartEnergy had to be customised for Vale’s needs, the company said. A team of 65 employees was trained to operate the system already deployed in mines in Pará and Minas Gerais and at the Ponta da Madeira port complex, in São Luís (Maranhão).

In 2017, Vale tested the smart meters at the S11D iron ore mine (pictured) and the Salobo copper mine, in southeastern Pará. Salobo saw a reduction of 107 hours of unexpected production shutdown caused by power quality issues, which translated into a production increase of 1.2 Mt/y compared with 2017 and 2018.

In the case of S11D, 18 hours of production shutdown were avoided at the plant, resulting in an increase of 130,000 t in annual production. By the end of 2019, more than 100 smart meters at S11D were connected to SmartEnergy, and, in 2020, Vale plans to deploy this equipment worldwide.

In an intermediate scenario over 10 years, the company expects to save BRL920 million worth of electric power through the installation of smart meters and process management automation in plants in Brazil and abroad. The aim is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 120,000 t/y, equivalent to the emissions – in terms of power consumption – of 14,400 average homes. Variables considered in this calculation included the cost of electric power; iron ore, nickel, and copper prices; and Vale’s own production.

In the long run, the project will also focus on reducing other fuels used by Vale, such as diesel, natural gas, and the bunker fuel used in ore carriers. “That brings an even greater potential to reduce emissions.”

At a December meeting with investors in New York and London, the company announced a long-term goal of neutralising CO2 emissions from its operations by 2050 and revised its emission reduction goal by 2030 to comply with the Paris Agreement. The percentage decrease will be announced in the first half of 2020.