Priorities of decarbonizing the mining sector together with an availability of cost-effective technological solutions lead renewable energy (RE) to become an attractive energy source for the mining industry. Several pilot projects are run as hybrid systems, providing additional capacity to traditional energy systems. The purpose of this paper is to develop a mathematical model as a decision-making tool. The decision refers to a replacement of the fossil fuel system contains by the hybrid system in the sense of no return.
Four systems are considered. System one contains only a diesel plant. System two consists of a hybrid energy system with a photovoltaic (PV) part and a genset as back-up. System three includes a conventional natural gas combined cycle (CGCC) plant. Finally, system four covers a hybrid energy system with a PV part and CGCC turbine. The mathematical model is based upon the well-known concept of levelized cost of electricity.
The scenarios account for the degradation rate of PV modules, the PV yields of mines in different locations and the greenhouse gas emissions impact. The results show the break-even times of each scenario and the years of no return for the four systems in each scenario.
The solution of the model is performed for two case-studies. Case study 1 compares the diesel and hybrid PV-diesel systems. Case study 2 compares the CGCC and hybrid PV-natural gas systems.
This model can be generalized to all mining settings, with specific practical implications for off-grid mines.
The results of this paper bring a valuable contribution to carbon dioxide emissions reduction.
The paper aims to enhance the attention of decision-makers on fossil fuel and RE technologies increase the attractiveness of RE in powering mining operations.
This study is supported by the Ministry of Science and Art of Free State of Saxony (Fsn-Nr.: 711-8.10), Germany (in German: Sächsisches Ministerium für Wissenschaft und Kunst – SMWK).
Pollack, K. and Bongaerts, J. (2020), "Mathematical model on the integration of renewable energy in the mining industry", International Journal of Energy Sector Management, Vol. 14 No. 1, pp. 229-247. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJESM-12-2018-0006Download as .RIS
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