Tag Archives: Jakob Stausholm

Rio Tinto investigates Heliogen’s AI-backed solar technology to decarbonise Boron ops

Rio Tinto and renewable energy technology company, Heliogen, have announced an agreement to explore the deployment of Heliogen’s solar technology at Rio Tinto’s borates mine in Boron, California.

Under a memorandum of understanding, Heliogen will deploy its proprietary, artificial intelligence (AI)-powered technology at the Boron operation, where it will use heat from the sun to generate and store carbon-free energy to power the mine’s industrial processes.

The two companies will begin detailed planning and securing government permits for the project, with the aim of starting operations from 2022. They will also use the Boron installation to begin exploring the potential for deployments of Heliogen’s technology at Rio Tinto’s other operations around the world to supply process heat, which accounted for 14% of Scope 1 & 2 emissions from the group’s managed operations in 2020.

Heliogen’s high-temperature solar technology is designed to cost-effectively replace fossil fuels with sunlight for a range of industrial processes, including those used in mining. At Rio Tinto’s Boron mine, the company’s proprietary technology will use AI to control a network of mirrors that concentrate sunlight to capture energy used to make steam, the companies said. Heliogen’s system will also store the captured energy in the form of heat, allowing it to power night-time operations and provide the same uninterrupted energy stream offered by legacy fuels.

The Boron operation mines and refines borates into products ranging from fertilisers to construction materials and is producing lithium carbonate from a demonstration plant. The site currently generates steam using a natural gas co-generation plant and natural gas fired boilers. Heliogen’s installation will supplement these energy sources by generating up to 35,000 pounds per hour (15.9 t/h) of steam to power operations, with the potential to reduce carbon emissions at the Boron site by around 7% – equivalent to taking more than 5,000 cars off the road. Rio Tinto will also be assessing the potential for larger scale use of the Heliogen technology at Boron to reduce the site’s carbon footprint by up to 24%.

Heliogen’s mission of slashing global carbon emissions by replacing fossil fuels with sunlight, as well as its focus on industrial sectors, made it an ideal partner for Rio Tinto, which is committed to decarbonising its global operations, it said.

Rio Tinto Chief Executive, Jakob Stausholm, said: “This partnership with Heliogen has the potential to significantly reduce our emissions at Boron by using this ground-breaking solar technology, and we look forward to exploring opportunities across our global portfolio.

“Addressing climate change effectively will require businesses, governments and society to work together through partnerships like this one, to explore innovative new solutions throughout the entire value chain. Our work with Heliogen is part of Rio Tinto’s commitment to spend approximately $1 billion on emissions reduction initiatives through to 2025 and our commitment to work with world-leading technology providers to achieve this goal.”

Heliogen CEO and Founder, Bill Gross, said: “Since its founding, Heliogen has been laser-focused on decarbonising industrial sectors, including mining. As a result, this agreement with Rio Tinto is incredibly gratifying.

“We’re pleased to find a partner committed to cutting its contributions to climate change. We’re also pleased that Rio Tinto is exploring our technology to play an important role in helping reach its sustainability goals while dramatically reducing its energy costs. More broadly, we’re excited to take this important step as we pursue Heliogen’s goal of avoiding more than 1 gigaton of CO2 emissions – 5% of the world’s annual total – from the global economy by turning sunlight into an industrial energy source.”

Rio Tinto CFO Jakob Stausholm wins promotion

Rio Tinto has appointed Chief Financial Officer, Jakob Stausholm, as its new Chief Executive, effective January 1, 2021. He replaces outgoing company head Jean-Sébastien Jacques.

Since joining Rio as an Executive Director and CFO in 2018, Stausholm has played a leading role in the group’s strong performance, maintaining capital allocation discipline and delivering significant shareholder returns, while strengthening the balance sheet, Rio said.

Stausholm is an experienced global executive, with 25 years in leadership roles in capital intensive and service industries across Europe, Latin America and Asia-Pacific. Prior to joining Rio, he was Group Chief Financial Officer and Strategy & Transformation Officer of A.P. Moeller – Maersk A/S.

Previously, he was Group Chief Financial Officer of the global facility services provider ISS A/S. Before that, he spent two decades with Royal Dutch Shell in numerous financial positions globally and as Chief Internal Auditor for the group.

Rio Tinto Chairman, Simon Thompson, said: “I am pleased to announce the appointment of Jakob as Chief Executive of Rio Tinto. His blend of strategic and commercial expertise, strong values and a collaborative leadership style are the ideal qualities for our next chief executive.

“Jakob has already made a significant contribution to the performance of the group in his role as Chief Financial Officer. He has a proven track record as a senior executive with deep industrial and resources experience spanning strategy development and technology, as well as financial and risk management. He has also demonstrated the ability to build effective relationships and has a strong personal commitment to the role of business in promoting sustainable development.”

Stausholm said: “I am truly delighted and humbled to be given the opportunity to lead this tremendous company. Since I joined two years ago, I have spent extensive time at our operations, meeting our excellent people and have also engaged with many of our valued partners.

“Rio Tinto’s purpose is to produce the materials essential to human progress and I remain deeply committed to this after the difficult times we have faced during 2020. I look forward to leading Rio Tinto and working with my colleagues across the business to ensure that we maintain strong safety, operational and financial performance, while progressing our growth, sustainability and technology strategies. I am also acutely aware of the need to restore trust with Traditional Owners and our other stakeholders, which I view as a key priority for the company.”

As a result of Stausholm’s appointment, Peter Cunningham will be appointed interim Chief Financial Officer of Rio Tinto, effective January 1. Cunningham was previously Group Controller for Rio Tinto and has held a number of senior finance and leadership roles across Rio Tinto in a career spanning 27 years with the company.

Given the effective date of Stausholm’s appointment, Jacques will step down from his role as an Executive Director and Chief Executive of Rio with effect from January 1 and will leave the group on March 31, 2021.

Thompson said: “I would like once again to acknowledge J-S’s strong leadership of Rio Tinto since 2016. He leaves the group in an exceptionally strong financial position, having delivered significant shareholder returns, sector-leading profitability and value creation, and an outstanding safety performance. J-S and the team have created a very solid foundation for future success.”