Tag Archives: hydrogen

dynaCERT carbon emission reduction engine tech heads to South American open-pit mines

dynaCERT Inc says seven of its HydraGEN™ Technology Units (HG1R, 4C and 6C units) are to be installed at open-pit mines in Peru, Argentina and Brazil.

H2 Tek, dynaCERT’s dealer, focuses on equipping mining companies throughout the globe with dynaCERT’s proprietary patented HydraGEN technology. In conjunction with its partners, H2 Tek has indicated to dynaCERT that the company’s proprietary 4C and 6C HydraGEN Units are very desired by several world-class open-pit mining operations in the Americas, which are owned and operated by some of the world’s largest international mining conglomerates.

Along with other H2 Tek installations, these technologies will be installed in open-pit mines on various equipment, including Caterpillar 793 and 777 haul trucks and a large 4.5 MW diesel generator with a Cat 280-16 engine.

“Global mining companies recognize the immediate imperatives of utilising commercially and readily available technologies to reduce their carbon footprint and welcome and embrace dynaCERT’s patented 4C and 6C HydraGEN Technology, which is particularly suited to the mining, construction and oil & gas industries,” dynaCERT says.

In 2021 and 2022, dynaCERT’s 4C and 6C HydraGEN technology has been redesigned to adapt to the rigourous requirements of the harsh environments of open-pit mining operations, which are commonly located at high altitudes and inclement conditions in remote areas throughout the globe, it said.

David Van Klaveren, Vice President of Global Sales of H2 Tek, said: “Our national and multinational customers appreciate the significant promise of dynaCERT’s HydraGEN technology and look forward to advancing progress for their ESG priorities through its successful implementation.”

Jim Payne, President & CEO of dynaCERT, added: “I am very pleased to now deploy our proprietary HydraGEN technology with global mining companies operating under harsh conditions. Our proprietary and patented HydraGEN technology is designed to reduce fuel consumption in internal combustion engines and reduce carbon and NOx emissions: so important to providing a global solution to reduce pollution. Progressive mining companies are the trailblazers that fight a noble battle against air pollution.”

dynaCERT manufactures and distributes carbon emission reduction technology for use with internal combustion engines. As part of the growing global hydrogen economy, its patented technology creates hydrogen and oxygen on-demand through a unique electrolysis system and supplies these gases through the air intake to enhance combustion, resulting in lower carbon emissions and greater fuel efficiency, it says.

LKAB accelerates carbon-dioxide-free sponge iron plans

LKAB says it is boosting both the pace and the level of ambition of its plans towards transitioning to carbon-dioxide-free sponge iron following a successful exploration program.

A dramatic increase in mineral resources means that the plan for future production of sponge iron has been upped to 24.4 Mt/y by 2050. This will enable a reduction in carbon dioxide emissions among global steel industry customers corresponding to nearly all of Sweden’s current greenhouse gas emissions, LKAB says.

“The climate can’t wait and demand for the raw material for producing fossil-free steel is already upon us – before we have even reached the market,” Jan Moström, LKAB’s President and CEO, said.

In March 2022, LKAB reported increased mineral reserves and mineral resources, referencing deposits containing about 4,000 Mt, which will enable production far beyond 2060. LKAB’s known mineral reserves and resources now add up to double the amount thus far mined in the company’s 130-year history.

“We are accelerating and expanding the plans for future production of sponge iron produced with hydrogen,” Moström said.

LKAB is now moving towards a rapid industrialisation of the HYBRIT technology for transforming production in Malmberget/Gällivare, which is closely integrated with SSAB. The plan is to synchronise the transition with SSAB’s planned transition and to have switched entirely from pellet production to sponge iron amounting to some 5.4 Mt by the 2030s. This will enable emissions reductions amounting to about 9 Mt at SSAB.

Moström added: “After the most recent climate reports from the UN, the urgency of the climate issue must be obvious to everyone. We can see that this transition also makes good business sense and that it creates jobs, growth and yield on investments. By leading the way towards the green transition, we are also building Sweden’s competitive advantage internationally.

“The entire value chain must undergo a transformation, and quickly. The HYBRIT technology, which we have developed in collaboration with SSAB and Vattenfall, will be industrialised starting in Gällivare, where the first plant will be operational in 2026. The capacity increase LKAB is now planning corresponds to three more such facilities in Malmberget/Gällivare within barely a few years after commissioning of the first HYBRIT plant.”

When the transition has been completed, with increased production, by around 2050, the target is for LKAB to produce 24.4 Mt/y of sponge iron, with zero carbon dioxide emissions. By removing the oxygen from the iron ore by means of electrically-produced hydrogen gas, instead of the steel mills using fossil carbon in blast furnaces, LKAB can enable reductions in carbon dioxide emissions of between 40-50 Mt/y at steelmaking customers. That corresponds to nearly all of Sweden’s current annual greenhouse gas emissions.

A rapid transition places higher demands on fossil-free electricity and more power distribution infrastructure. LKAB’s demand, needed mainly for hydrogen gas production, is estimated at 20 TWh/y by 2030, increasing to 50 TWh/y by 2040 and finally reaching 70 TWh/y when the entire expansion has been realised by 2050.

“To make the climate transition a reality, we will need a massive expansion of power production and distribution,” Moström said. “We need to double electricity production within the next 25 years, and the iron and steel industry value chain is waiting for very other TWh of this.”

The switch from pellets to sponge iron also means that the value of the product increases significantly, according to LKAB.

Moström concluded: “In terms of today’s market prices, this expansion would triple LKAB’s revenue. By building up production of sponge iron, we are increasing the value of LKAB’s, and thereby Sweden’s, mineral reserves and resources, and creating growing export values. Above all, we are making an enormous effort for the benefit of the climate.”

Orica, Origin partner on ‘Hunter Valley Hydrogen Hub’ feasibility study for Kooragang Island

Orica and Origin have announced a partnership to assess opportunities to collaborate on the development of a green hydrogen production facility, and associated value chain, in the Hunter Valley of New South Wales, Australia.

Signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), Orica and Origin will conduct a feasibility study into the viability of a green hydrogen production facility, or ‘Hunter Valley Hydrogen Hub’, and downstream value chain opportunities.

The feasibility study will assess ways an industrial hydrogen hub could enable use cases that support a meaningful green hydrogen industry in the Hunter Valley and beyond, Orica said. This includes the supply of hydrogen for heavy industry and transport, conversion into green ammonia at Orica’s existing Kooragang Island ammonium nitrate manufacturing facility, blending hydrogen into natural gas pipelines and the potential to stimulate Australia’s hydrogen export industry.

Green hydrogen, produced via electrolysis using renewable electricity sources, has emerged as a potentially significant enabler of Australia’s transition to a lower carbon economy. The proposed hub would produce green hydrogen from recycled water sources and renewable electricity, using a grid connected 55 MW electrolyser.

Orica Chief Executive Officer, Sanjeev Gandhi, said: “We’ve been operating our Kooragang Island site for over 50 years, and are committed to ensuring both our manufacturing facility and the Newcastle region remain competitive in a low carbon economy, while also strengthening Australia’s domestic manufacturing capability.

“We support both the Federal and New South Wales Hydrogen Strategies, and this partnership will allow us to define opportunities and ways we can contribute to a more sustainable future for the region.

“This partnership aligns with our corporate strategy and our ambition to achieve net zero emissions by 2050, and our target to reduce our scope 1 and 2 operational emissions by at least 40% by 2030. By partnering for progress, we can drive sustainable change and achieve our decarbonisation ambitions, together.”

The project marks an important step in transitioning Orica’s business model towards a lower carbon economy, it said. Exploring opportunities to diversify, Orica is committed to ensuring its Kooragang Island facility remains competitive in a lower carbon economy, while creating more sustainable products for customers and broader applications for industry.

The project builds on several initiatives to enhance the long-term sustainability of the site, including the recently announced Kooragang Island Decarbonisation Project and planned installation of an Australia-first tertiary catalyst abatement technology for decarbonisation of nitric acid production. The A$37 million ($27 million) project is designed to deliver up to 95% abatement efficiency from unabated levels, reducing the site’s total greenhouse gas emissions by almost 50%.

Aggreko urges miners to embrace renewable power generation now

With decarbonisation at the forefront of miners’ agendas, one of the world’s leading provider of mobile and modular power solutions, Aggreko, has released its top tips to help miners decarbonise now and into the future.

Aggreko’s Global Head of Mining, Rod Saffy, said while miners were embracing the global energy transition, some were unsure where to begin.

“For some miners it’s about knowing where to start and they may be weighing up the cost, risk and threat of new technology in the future,” he said.

“Fortunately, technology isn’t in the same place as it was five years ago or even two years ago. Some of the renewable power technologies available today, combined with thermal generation in a hybrid solution, offer the same – if not better – levels of reliability and competitiveness than traditional thermal technology.”

Saffy said power generation companies were taking significant steps to support miners on their respective paths to net-zero emissions.

“Increasingly, power companies are offering renewables such as solar and wind energy to off-grid mines, and we often integrate those with battery storage solutions and thermal microgrids,” he said.

“If you consider a hybrid power solution – where you switch in renewables to your power mix alongside fossil fuels – your operation will be more flexible and can scale up and down as needed.

“Our approach means miners can also partner with us, long term, without being tied down to one fuel type for their power source, and new technology is introduced as it becomes viable.

“Integrating renewables in this manner will result in greater cost savings and efficiencies for your project.”

One solar and thermal hybrid solution Aggreko delivered for a remote gold mine in Africa resulted in more than 12% savings in fuel (about 10,000 litres a day) and the contract offered meant the miner did not have to come up with capital to invest in the solar plant.

Another example Aggreko is working on, Saffy said, is a 25.9 MW hybrid solar and thermal power solution for the Salares Norte open-pit mine in Chile.

“It is a ground-breaking solution designed to provide power for the entire mine, which sits at an altitude of 4,500 m in the Andes mountain range and is 190 km from the nearest town,” he explained.

“Once complete, the hybrid power plant is expected to achieve $7.4 million in cost of energy savings over the next decade, a further $1.1 million in carbon tax offset over the life of the mine, in addition to 104,000 t of carbon emissions savings.

“The system will surpass the Chilean government’s environmental standards as well as Gold Fields’ requirement for a minimum of 20% renewable power generation for mining operations.”

Saffy said the pathways to decarbonisation that held the most appeal for miners currently included:

  • Hybrid power plants (as mentioned): These combine renewables (eg solar, wind) with thermal generation and battery storage, benefitting areas with limited or no access to permanent power. These are generally cost-competitive. Once solar or wind plants are installed, their generation running costs are relatively low and at zero emissions;
  • Virtual gas pipelines: Gas power generation can offer a greener and more cost-effective alternative to diesel and heavy fuel oil. A virtual pipeline is a substitute – and an alternative – for a physical pipeline. Gas is instead transported as LNG or CNG to the point of use by sea, road, or rail. For mines not connected to a physical pipeline and looking to switch to gas from diesel, a virtual pipeline model simply imitates their current supply solution. For users who are connected to a gas pipeline but are looking to supplement insufficient or unreliable pipeline capacity, the virtual power plant solution has several advantages over diesel; and
  • Renewable energy: Renewable energy power systems are an effective way of tapping into natural resources to provide power, such as wind farms, hydro power and solar. The challenge is their reliability related to weather, hence why, if power is interrupted for any reason, it is important to ensure they’re backed by with batteries or a temporary thermal power solution.

A significant future fuel in this space will be hydrogen. Investment in hydrogen is on the rise because of the role it can play in supporting a global transition to net-zero. Its versatility and compatibility with existing furnaces, engines and generators make it particularly appealing for the mining industry, according to Aggreko.

Saffy said energy sources likely to become more prevalent in mining during the next 10 years included biofuels (would become less expensive), hydropower, energy storage (such as pumped, mechanical flywheel), and gas generation which runs with a hybrid renewable system. While it is increasingly used now as power source, wind and solar power are also expected to gain more momentum.

Aggreko is also experimenting with mobile wind solutions, re-deployable solar panels and tidal wave power (though tidal wave power might not be for the mining industry yet). The company is also accelerating its investments in hydrogen technology, with trials underway in Europe on two different technologies, where Aggreko is collaborating with lead customers and partners trialling hydrogen generators and fuel cell battery hybrids.

“It’s a very exciting time in the mining sector, and it will be amazing to see the innovations presented during the next few years as miners and energy companies collaborate and come up with new ideas for a greener future,” Saffy said.

“The key though is to start now – you can embrace renewables now into your energy mix because, done correctly, cost and emission savings can be greatly reduced without compromising reliability.”

Aggreko has its own net-zero goals by 2050 and has a 2030 target to reduce diesel use in its customer solutions by 50%.

IMARC ready to explore the race to decarbonise the energy sector

The global effort to decarbonise the energy sector is underway, and the race to net zero is shaping up to be an investment opportunity to define the decades to come, the organisers of the IMARC conference report.

Research suggests that as the price of adopting green energy continues to fall, so will the global demand for fossil-fuelled energy sources. Eventually a tipping point will be reached, and fossil fuel dependent energy companies’ assets will become ‘stranded’ unless they can adapt or pivot toward new sustainable energy practices.

As nations in the first world expand and those from the second and third world modernise, their energy needs will do the same, meaning more electricity, more hydrogen, more nuclear and more yet-to-be-discovered energy sources will be needed than ever before.

For the companies participating in Australia’s biggest mining conference, the International Mining and Resources Conference (IMARC) in 2022, staying in the race to decarbonise is essential.

Tipping point

Research suggests the tipping point for fossil-fuelled energy providers will come when costs for renewables reach parity with the lowest-cost traditional fossil alternatives, and this could be much sooner than 2050.

For such companies, demonstrating the long-term value to investors in a soon-to-be stranded asset class is becoming an increasingly hard sell. But it does not have to be. By pivoting toward renewable energy and investing in a low-carbon future, companies can ensure their survival after net zero.

EDL CEO, James Harman, said the industry was making the slow but sure transition to decarbonisation.

“The world has long relied on cheap, plentiful fossil fuels to power economies,” Harman said.

“In the early 2010s, EDL started looking to solar and wind generation as alternatives to fossil fuels across our portfolio, particularly for off-grid customers in remote Australia who were largely dependent on diesel- or gas-fuelled generation.

“In recent years, we have enjoyed great success with our hybrid energy solutions, helping our customers reduce their carbon footprint, but importantly maintaining and improving reliability whilst holding or reducing price. For example, our Agnew Hybrid Renewable Microgrid at Gold Fields’ Agnew Gold Mine provides the mine with energy that is an average of 50-60% from renewable sources, with 99.99% reliability.”

“EDL was one of the pioneers in the Australian landfill gas sector in the 1990s and, today, we are leading the way in high renewable energy fraction islanded microgrids. We are also exploring the introduction of landfill gas to renewable natural gas/biomethane technology to the Australian market, and the economic production of green hydrogen.”

ESG reinvigorating investment

Environmental, social and governance (ESG) frameworks are, at their core, risk assessment tools that consider the effect climate change will have on investors’ value creation opportunities. In June 2021, research and advisory experts, Gartner, released some jaw-dropping facts about the growing importance of ESG credentials.

According to Gartner, more than 90% of banks monitor ESG, along with 24 global credit ratings agencies, 71% of fixed income investors and more than 90% of insurers. Media mentions of ESG data, ratings or scores grew by 30% year-over-year in 2020, and 67% of banks screen their loan portfolios for ESG risks.

Harman acknowledged that it was important for attitudes and practices across the energy sector to change.

“Given that electricity generators are some of Australia’s biggest carbon emitters and most of the product generated is carbon intensive and derived from fossil fuels – the most important ESG themes for energy companies are climate change action and environmental stewardship,” he said.

“This includes investment in research and development into zero emissions technologies such as distributed energy solutions, energy storage and alternative renewable fuels as well as carbon capture & storage.”

ABB Australia Head of Mining, Nik Gresshoff, is encouraged by the innovation and progress he’s seeing in electrification and hydrogen technologies. ABB Australia is a Gold Sponsor of IMARC in 2022.

“The challenge for mining companies now is to map out their own journey, and to weigh up the gains that can be achieved now through automation, along with the investment required to get to net zero,” Gresshoff said.

Gresshoff recommends companies first define what their carbon footprint is, and what falls within their scope for decarbonisation, before beginning a net-zero journey. “Are they focusing on direct and indirect emissions initially or including the whole supply chain from the outset?” he asked.

“The next step is to examine the technology and what is currently possible to decarbonise. Having a clear understanding of where the company assets are in their lifecycle is critical, as well as an understanding of what technology is available and what technology could fit with the current operation.”

Can dinosaurs survive the Ice Age?

Fossil fuels may be going the way of the dinosaurs that created them, but economies of the future will still require the massive infrastructure frameworks and operational capacities to meet current and future energy needs.

In fact, economists have suggested an overnight collapse of the energy giants could result in massive job cuts and instability leading to a global economic recession.

As was made clear at the Glasgow COP 26 Summit, there is a ‘wall of money’ that will be available for the energy companies of the future – whether that is retrofitting existing gas pipelines for transport of liquid hydrogen or utilising closed coal mine sites for new nuclear power sites, or any number of ways that energy companies can and are pivoting.
EDL believes there is an opportunity for many technologies to play their part.

“There won’t be a one-size-fits-all energy solution that achieves affordability, reliability and sustainability for our diverse country,” Harman said.

“Large conventional power stations are and will continue to be replaced with lower emissions plant with support to make them more dispatchable, allowing cheaper renewable energy to be scheduled when available.

“For shorter-term storage, batteries are feasible but longer-term storage is currently uneconomic. There are a few potential options to resolve this including pumped hydro, new kinds of batteries and hydrogen.

“Based on our experience in the USA, we also see the potential for renewable natural gas (RNG), or biomethane, to play a significant part in the transition from fossil fuels to renewables in the industrial, heating, power and transport industries. RNG production is a technologically mature, ready-to-scale product that is deployable now.”

EDL’s James Harman will be sharing further insights on net zero at the upcoming IMARC in Melbourne, Australia, taking place on January 31-February 2, 2022.

IM is a media sponsor of IMARC

Hyundai CE bolsters Ulsan plant to support electric-, hydrogen-powered equipment plan

Hyundai Construction Equipment (HCE) says it is investing €150 million ($170m) in its Ulsan production plant in South Korea, increasing capacity by 50%, in a process that will support Hyundai’s growing presence in the global construction equipment market, while providing a manufacturing base for a new generation of electric- and hydrogen-powered equipment.

The investment, to be delivered over the next four years, will increase production at the plant by 4,800 units a year, bringing annual capacity to 15,000 excavators, wheel loaders and other construction models.

The company will merge the production and assembly functions currently in Factory 1 and Factory 2, into a single facility, simplifying the flow of processes and increasing savings by maximising efficiency. This will reduce the working hours involved in machine production and cut logistics costs throughout the supply chain, the company says. The move will also reflect HCE’s environmental, social and governance factors, using eco-friendly sub-materials when conducting interior and exterior finish work.

HCE said: “The company is increasing its market share in every region of the business, by responding to current market trends in the global construction equipment market and by looking ahead to the customer requirements of tomorrow’s infrastructure and construction projects. The company is also planning to benefit from the recent US launch of the ‘Build Back Better World (B3W)’ initiative for developing countries.”

HCE announced in 2020 that it planned to bring to market a range of excavators powered by hydrogen fuel cells, produced in cooperation with Hyundai Motors, which has its largest automotive plant in Ulsan. The company has already unveiled a range of hydrogen-powered industrial forklifts that are due to launch in 2023, as it continues to develop the low and zero-carbon emissions equipment that will be demanded by the customer of the future.

HCE CEO, Mr Choi Cheol-gon, said: “Strengthening the competitiveness of the Ulsan factory is the first challenge that needs to be addressed to reach the global top five, the goal of the construction equipment division of the Hyundai Heavy Industries group. With this investment, we will further raise our brand competitiveness by producing and delivering construction equipment with increased efficiency.”

In November 2020, HCE completed the construction of a technology innovation centre, investing €57.4 million. The new centre includes 16 laboratories, employing more than 100 researchers. It is involved in research and development projects focused on eco-friendly technologies, high efficiency and noise reduction technologies and a virtual verification system. The site also performs quality research and verification of components and completed equipment.

Anglo American looks to leverage hydrogen power tech on Aurizon’s Moura rail corridor

Australia’s largest rail freight operator, Aurizon, and Anglo American have agreed to work together on a feasibility study to assess the introduction of hydrogen-powered trains for bulk freight.

Aurizon and Anglo American have entered into an agreement to conduct the study that will explore the application of Anglo American’s proprietary hydrogen fuel cell and battery hybrid power units in heavy haul freight rail operations. If the study is successful, the agreement between the two companies could be extended to further phases of collaboration, which could include detailed engineering and the development of a hydrogen-fuelled heavy haul locomotive prototype.

The feasibility study, commencing in January, will focus on the potential deployment of Anglo American’s hydrogen power technology on Aurizon’s Moura rail corridor that operates between Anglo American’s Dawson metallurgical coal mine and the Gladstone Port, and the Mount Isa rail corridor that operates between the North West Minerals Province to Townsville Port, via Aurizon’s Stuart Terminal. The study is expected to be completed in 2022.

As part of its commitment to carbon-neutral mines by 2040, Anglo American has developed green hydrogen solutions for its ultra-class 290-t payload mine haul trucking fleet. The company’s combination of powertrain technologies, designed to operate safely and effectively in real-world mine conditions, will displace the use of the majority of diesel at its mining operations, with an advanced trial of the prototype truck at its Mogalakwena platinum group metals mine in South Africa.

The decarbonisation of Aurizon’s supply chains is at the centre of its target to reach net zero operational emissions by 2050. The rail freight operator has also commenced research and development for battery-powered trains with a number of industry parties and Australian universities.

“Hydrogen offers enormous opportunity in decarbonising and continuing to improve the competitiveness of Australia’s export supply chains,” Aurizon’s Managing Director and CEO, Andrew Harding, said. “This is especially true for bulk products underpinning the Australian economy including minerals, agricultural products and fertilisers, industrials and general freight.

“Zero-carbon hydrogen-powered trains would also significantly boost the current environmental benefits of transporting more of Australia’s bulk freight on rail. Rail freight already produces up to 16 times less carbon pollution per tonne kilometre than road.”

He concluded: “Aurizon is excited to be teaming up with Anglo American on this project, particularly given their success to date in developing unique technology solutions for use in mine haul fleets.”

Tyler Mitchelson, CEO of Anglo American in Australia, said: “Anglo American has committed to carbon-neutral operations by 2040, and we are aiming to reduce our Scope 3 emissions by 50% in the same timeframe. We know that we cannot achieve all of this alone, so we are working with partners along our value chains and outside our industry to find technical solutions to decarbonise.

“This collaboration with Aurizon is a great example of the power of partnerships to help address the urgent issue of climate change, while we also look to catalyse new markets to support the development and growth of the hydrogen economy,” he said.

Tony O’Neill, Technical Director of Anglo American, added: “Our agreement with Aurizon marks the first time our hydrogen power technology could be tested beyond our existing mine haul truck program. Displacing our use of diesel is critical to eliminating emissions at our sites and along our value chain. We believe that our innovative hydrogen-led technology provides a versatile solution, whether for trucks or trains or other forms of heavy-duty transport.”

The North West Mineral Province contains about 75% of Queensland’s base metal and minerals, including copper, lead, zinc, silver, gold, cobalt and phosphate deposits, according to Anglo. The province also has the potential to become a globally significant supplier of high-quality vanadium to the energy storage and steel markets with a number of projects under assessment.

The 180 km Moura rail corridor from Dawson to the Gladstone port, and the 977 km Mt Isa rail corridor from Mt Isa to Townsville Port both use diesel-fuelled locomotives.

(Pictured from left to right: Mick de Brenni, Minister for Energy, Renewables and Hydrogen; Tyler Mitchelson, Deputy Premier, Steven Miles; and Andrew Harding)

Metso Outotec helps steel sector decarbonise with next gen Circored process

Metso Outotec says it is introducing the next generation of its CircoredTM process for the direct reduction of iron ore fines using hydrogen as a reducing agent instead of CO produced from fossil fuels.

This new process will allow the iron and steel industry to efficiently tackle the decarbonisation challenge, according to the company.

The flexible Circored process, part of Metso Outotec’s Planet Positive portfolio, produces highly metalised DRI (direct reduced iron) or HBI (hot briquetted iron) that can directly be used as feed material in electric arc furnaces for carbon-free steelmaking.

Attaul Ahmad, Vice President, Ferrous and Heat Transfer at Metso Outotec, said: “We are very excited about the Circored process. It is an emissions- and cost-efficient alternative to traditional steelmaking routes. This innovative process eliminates the need for costly and energy intensive pelletising, and its functionality and performance have been proven in an industrial-scale demonstration plant.

“Now our team of experts has evolved the process further, and we will present the updated technology at the 2021 Dubai Steel & Raw Materials Hybrid Conference on December 8th. Additionally, during the first (March) quarter of 2022, we will be revealing further ground-breaking additions to Circored capabilities – the key word being low-grade ore – so please stay tuned for these exciting developments.”

The Circored process is based on the fluidised bed knowledge and experience developed and applied by Metso Outotec over decades in hundreds of plants for different applications. The process applies a two-stage reactor configuration with a circulating fluidised bed followed by a bubbling fluidised bed downstream. The typical plant capacity is 1.25 Mt/y per line. Two or more lines can be combined using joint facilities and utility areas. In standalone plants, the produced DRI is briquetted to HBI to enable further handling and safe transport.

If a Circored plant is integrated into an existing steelmaking facility, energy efficiency can be further increased by direct hot feeding of the DRI to an electric arc furnace, according to Metso Outotec.

As a general rule, the Circored process can handle feeds with a particle size of up to 2 mm. However, depending on the decrepitation behaviour, particle sizes of up to 6 mm are possible. For processing ultrafine (< 50 µm) ores or process reverts like scrubber dust, Metso Outotec has patented a microgranulation process.

Infinity Lithium, thyssenkrupp to test hydrogen use in lithium chemical conversion process

Infinity Lithium Corporation and its wholly-owned subsidiary, Infinity GreenTech Pty Ltd, have announced a collaboration with thyssenkrupp Industrial Solutions AG Business Unit Mining to assess the potential to use green hydrogen to power the lithium chemical conversion process.

The Memorandum of Understanding highlights the intention of both parties to apply technological advancements for green hydrogen energy applications for pyrometallurgical equipment relevant to lithium chemical conversion processes.

The advancements have the potential to be integrated into both the San José lithium project in Spain and the Infinity GreenTech novel lithium hydrometallurgical conversion processes, Infinity said.

Infinity CEO and Managing Director, Ryan Parkin, said: “The ability to be at the forefront of this global leading application of green hydrogen has wide ranging implications for the company and the industry. Infinity and thyssenkrupp BU Mining are bringing world leading technologies to San José in alignment to Extremadura’s ambitions to produce green hydrogen from their vast renewable energy projects, and progress sustainable industrialisation in the region.”

This global first application to an integrated lithium project will see pilot scale activities using the new tk BU Mining Hydrogen Burner installation in Germany (pictured) to assess San José feedstock and the use of green hydrogen to power a rotary kiln.

thyssenkrupp BU Mining CEO, Jan Lüder, said: “Global demand for raw materials is rising all the time, whilst there is consciousness about the finite nature of resources and the need to protect the environment. As one of the world’s leading engineering and equipment supply companies for the mining industry, we are aware of our customers’ needs to reduce the carbon footprint of their operations.

“Therefore, thyssenkrupp Mining technologies has been developing projects to improve our equipment and services in order to help our customers achieve their goal of sustainable and environmentally responsible mining. From digitalisation and optimisation solutions, mining operations integration studies and, of course, low-CO2 pyroprocessing solutions.

“Among other developments, our pilot hydrogen/natural gas combustion facility allows us to evaluate with our customers the potential of using Green H2 in the mining industry as an alternative to fossil fuels with special attention to the final product quality. Our collaboration with Infinity Lithium is a great step in this direction and we are proud to support the development of a crucial project for Extremadura, Spain and Europe.”

The parties will examine further strategic opportunities in addition to the collaboration under the MoU relating to San José and the application to Infinity GreenTech’s technological developments.

San José, according to Infinity, has the potential to utilise green hydrogen as the energy source to power the rotary kiln that will be required under the sulphate roast stage of the process flowsheet. tk BU Mining will assess varying compositions of natural gas and green hydrogen for use at San José.

The company can assess the potential use of natural gas from the project’s adjacent pipeline infrastructure and the impact of blended gas and hydrogen which is already in use in pipelines globally. It and tk BU Mining will also assess the potential use of hydrogen from alternative sources which can include a localised source of green hydrogen or the development of specific infrastructure on site.

In terms of the Infinity GreenTech lithium hydrometallurgical conversion processes, Infinity said provisional patent applications had been lodged, and the collaboration with tk BU Mining will be incorporated for the assessment of the pyrometallurgical applications under these novel technologies. The provisionally protected patent has the potential for application to lithium-bearing materials and more widely for other battery material refining processes.

Green is good: playing to win in a multi-trillion-dollar green-tech game

The COP26 Glasgow Climate Summit has made it clear the Australian Government will largely rely on private and listed companies adopting new green technologies to hit net-zero by 2050, according to the organisers of IMARC.

Nowhere will this be more apparent than in Australia’s booming resources sector, and in perhaps no other sector is there so much investment upside, they say. COP26 leaders flagged eye-watering multi-trillion-dollar investment figures that will become available in the race to net zero, in addition to the more than one third of worldwide institutional investment that now requires an ESG component.

Mid-to-large cap companies that are not on-board, or above-board, with the ‘greening’ of their operations through technology will not only damage their reputations but miss out on an entire new generation of value-creation opportunities, according to the organisers.

Green technology comes in all shapes and sizes, as do the multiple challenges posed by phasing out fossil fuels. Advancing Australia to net zero will require a mix of technological advances, infrastructure upgrades and strong governance.

For the companies participating in Australia’s biggest mining conference, the International Mining and Resources Conference (IMARC) in 2022, early adoption of green technology is essential to creating value.

Net zero: the next big thing?

With about 200 nations signing on, the consensus of the Glasgow pact was clear – there is much for companies to gain by acting now, and everything to lose by sitting on their hands.

A ‘wall of new private sector money’ will be available to those companies that embrace green technology and clean up their operations, according to IMARC organisers.

This multi-trillion-dollar wall of new money does not include the soaring price of battery metals, and Australia’s position as one of the biggest beneficiaries of the green tech uptake.

According to the Resources and Energy Quarterly September 2021, Australia is the world’s largest exporter of lithium, the second largest producer of copper and produces more than one-quarter of the world’s nickel.

Schneider Electric President of Mining Minerals and Metals, Rob Moffit, said solar and wind generation were being rapidly adopted, but battery storage technology needs to improve so that uptake can continue to grow.

“As you generate more power, you need to find better and more efficient ways to store that power,” he said. “In line with that, there is going to be further investments into battery technologies, particularly the composition of batteries.

“Demand for artificial intelligence (AI) is also set to rise. As we combine multiple energy sources, it starts to become a complex system that needs to be managed. AI and machine learning are the best technologies to do this.”

Kirkland Lake Gold’s Senior Vice President, John Landmark, echoed the sentiments of Moffit and insisted that truly renewable, reliable infrastructure was vital to the transition.

“Power utility companies are the biggest hurdle to greening our industry,” he said. “Resource companies can only do so much in reducing their footprint, but clean and affordable energy is the biggest hurdle which lies outside of the hands of the resources company that needs to be cleaner.

“Having a ‘token’ windmill or solar panel looks great in a photo-op but doesn’t address the sustainable operation and use of such renewable energy.”

‘Greenwashing’: the elephant in the room

There is perhaps no greater threat to the ESG bona fides of a mining and resources company than ‘greenwashing’.

Greenwashing is the practice of misleading the media or the general public, or of taking advantage of a lack of awareness of what constitutes a legitimately ‘green’ or ‘clean’ technology, fuel or practice, the organisers said.

And it is firmly under the scrutiny of the public eye.

Most recently, the High Court of Australia refused to hear Volkswagens’ appeal against its A$125 million ($89 million) ‘Dieselgate’ fine – the largest penalty ever imposed on a company for misleading consumers – for deliberately deceiving regulators and customers about the environmental performance of its cars.

Landmark said greenwashing was a particularly problematic issue because a company that damages its own reputation often leads to other companies within an industry being tarnished with the same brush.

He said there is also a tendency in industry to satisfy public demand and ESG agency requirements, rather than focus on legitimate sustainable practices, “which fosters an environment where resource companies feel like they need to address these tick boxes, leaving companies to dilute their sustainability efforts on non-material issues or embellish on them”.

He added: “By Kirkland Lake Gold sticking to facts only and not elaborating extensively on our sustainability achievements, we aim to ensure our credibility is linked to true data.”

Moffit emphasised this notion, saying it was vital for companies to avoid the greenwashing trap.

“[It] can be achieved by having the right processes in place — specifically using scientifically-based, externally-audited, transparent and consistent protocols,” he said. “It is vital that all commitments are certified by science and must cover all emissions scope categories, not only the ones directly related to the company’s operations.”

Electricity or hydrogen?

Electric- and hydrogen-powered vehicles are often seen as competing technologies. However, mining operations are complicated beasts and, due to the size, location and technique – open pit or underground – of the operation, certain technologies will be better suited than others, according to the event organisers.

Landmark said having many viable options available was the best way to ensure greater uptake of new vehicle technologies and therefore a greener economy, but pointed out that it is, “crucial that both electric and hydrogen vehicles are powered by a green grid”.

Moffit said the most significant benefit of hydrogen technology in heavy industry and transportation is hydrogen’s superior energy density.

“Electric and hydrogen are complementary vehicle technologies,” he said. “Electrification is perfectly suited towards passenger vehicles, but it currently isn’t the ideal option for heavy-duty vehicles such as haul trucks due to the energy density of a battery, which is just 1%. This means that for a 40-t truck, just over four tonnes of lithium-ion battery cells are needed for a range of 800 km. This is not viable.”

Landmark and Moffit will be sharing further insights on green technology at the upcoming IMARC in Melbourne, Australia, on January 31-February 2, 2022.