The technology group Wärtsilä and Schneider Electric have together developed a unique, end-to-end power system reference design. It is aimed specifically at lithium mine operations where there is no access to a grid supply of electricity. The design provides for an economically viable total expenditure that covers the complete process, including consulting, project design, the power infrastructure, equipment delivery, installation and commissioning.
The solution contributes to sustainable lithium production by optimising the efficient delivery and use of energy, and by leveraging microgrids and enabling renewable energy sources. The overall objective of this collaborative development is to provide high efficiency power solutions with a minimal environmental footprint for the mining industry.
The design concept expands to the lifecycle of the mine and it links the availability and performance of the power generating plant to a mine’s productivity. Shared business case incentives, based on key performance indicators for the power generation reduce operational cost and enhance power availability, supporting thus a mine’s production targets. Predictability of parts and maintenance costs reduces the need for working capital.
“The increasing global demand for lithium needed for battery storage applications is putting pressure on mining operations to be as efficient and cost-effective as possible. The power supply is a key element in this, and together we have designed a solution that harnesses the strengths and experience of our two companies. It will not only guarantee a reliable energy supply, but will do so with economic and environmental benefits that will raise the efficiency of the mining operations,” said Jean Nabb, Director, Strategic Partnership, Wärtsilä Energy and Vivek Kapoor, Vice President & Regional Segment Leader, Mining, Minerals and Metals Segment at Schneider Electric in a joint statement.
Wärtsilä and Schneider Electric signed the framework co-operation agreement for the development of the design for mining energy solutions in March 2020. The parties aim to optimise customer benefit in mining projects by offering solutions based on mutually complementary technologies. The business white paper Recommended power generation and electrical distribution for high altitude lithium mine was published in June 2021.
Schneider’s purpose is to empower all to make the most of energy and resources, bridging progress and sustainability for all. On its mission to be the digital partner for sustainability and efficiency, Schneider drives digital transformation by integrating world-leading process and energy technologies, endpoint to cloud connecting products, controls, software and services, across the entire lifecycle, enabling integrated company management, for homes, buildings, data centers, infrastructure and industries.
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Image caption: Wärtsilä’s and Schneider Electric’s unique end-to-end power system reference design, contributing to sustainable lithium production, is aimed at mine operations without access to grid © Wärtsilä Corporation
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Wärtsilä Energy in brief
Wärtsilä Energy leads the transition towards a 100% renewable energy future. We help our customers in decarbonisation by developing market-leading technologies. These cover future-fuel enabled balancing power plants, hybrid solutions, energy storage and optimisation technology, including the GEMS energy management platform. Wärtsilä Energy’s lifecycle services are designed to increase efficiency, promote reliability and guarantee operational performance. Our track record comprises 74 GW of power plant capacity and more than 80 energy storage systems delivered to 180 countries around the world.
Wärtsilä in brief
Wärtsilä is a global leader in smart technologies and complete lifecycle solutions for the marine and energy markets. By emphasising sustainable innovation, total efficiency and data analytics, Wärtsilä maximises the environmental and economic performance of the vessels and power plants of its customers. In 2020, Wärtsilä's net sales totalled EUR 4.6 billion with approximately 18,000 employees. The company has operations in over 200 locations in more than 70 countries around the world. Wärtsilä is listed on Nasdaq Helsinki