Energy sources for mining – traditional and alternative fuels and their economics
For remote mines, energy accounts for 25% or more of their OpEx. The growth trend for diesel fuel price does not show signs of changing. Increased diesel engine efficiency and use of alternative fuels are the answers to this challenge. ‘Shale era’ keeps natural gas prices at moderate levels, and enables rapid development and penetration of liquefied natural gas (LNG). GE offers small scale LNG plants to fuel the mining trucks. GE LNG-fuelled locomotives make their way to the railroads. GE gas-fired gensets enter the mining space. To make transition to LNG smoother, GE high efficient diesel engines can also run on natural gas, and GE Jenbacher gas engines can use propane that is a common heating fuel for many mines. Right choice of fuel and technology provides significant savings and major environmental benefits.