Rio Tinto, a leading mining company, is looking for innovative solutions that will help pioneer progress. They supply minerals and metals that are essential to everyday life, and look to continue to innovate and evolve their practices.
To keep people safe at the Resolution Copper Mine, Rio Tinto must continually cool the work environment because of the latent heat from the underground rock and groundwater. Electrically driven refrigeration and ventilation systems will help meet their cooling needs.
Rio Tinto’s strategy will drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions from all operations and become Carbon Neutral by 2050. To contribute towards this goal, they are seeking solutions to capture and reuse this latent heat so it can contribute towards or even replace the power needed to cool this underground operation.
The solution to capture and convert this thermal energy into electrical energy should be safe, environmentally friendly and cost effective.
Depending upon the feasibility, cost and potential for the solution, financing may be available, and Rio Tinto can provide access to specialists to provide detailed technical information leading to site trials.
A couple of additional ‘stretch’ challenges for submissions would be to:
1. Generate electrical energy from low range temperatures below the virgin rock temperature and/or from the high thermal water coming from the underground rock.
2. The solution should be scalable and easily transported underground within the tunnel geometries mentioned earlier as well as down the surface shaft to underground.
3. Electrical energy generated should be distributed back into the electrical grid from the mining operation or stored and used at a later stage when energy is required during peak use periods.
Further information on Resolution Copper Mine is available on the Rio Tinto website or on the Resolution Copper Website.
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