On the feasibility of using large scale renewable heating/cooling systems in underground mines of Canada

2017

Mr Ali F.Kuyuk ( - University of British Columbia), Dr Ali G.Madiseh (Assistant Professor - University of British Columbia)

Contemporary global inclination towards clean energy and pending carbon tax regulations are pushing big industrial establishments to rethink about their energy policies. As a result, mining operations are expected to fit their energy consumption profiles into their corporate social responsibilities and appreciate the economic challenges ahead. Operating under extreme climatic conditions, occasionally being situated in remote and off-grid locations and heavy dependence on fossil fuels make this transition even more challenging for Canadian mines. These challenges are accompanied by economic incentives embedded within the carbon taxation policies encouraging the industries to move towards renewable energies. Throughout this gradual transition, geothermal systems have been identified as widely available and technologically mature candidates. Yet, many geothermal projects do not reach implantation stage mainly because of their capital-intensive nature and the financial risks associated with them. To mitigate such financial risks, an amenable techno-economic analysis is fundamentally required. This study, with the help of a holistic financial approach, aims to outline the situations in which a geothermal system could sustainably payback. Following this main objective, this study introduces and discusses two distinct large scale mine heating/cooling projects, namely; lake cooling and geothermal heating. Additionally, based on technological similarities between the aforementioned systems, their financial assessment and profitability are investigated. The emphasis of current work is on the techno-economic feasibility of the application of renewable energy systems in mining.
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