Congratulations! You have reached the end of the third and last week.
Here are the key ideas that you should retain from this week:
Underground mining is special as machines still running on diesel inside the mines increase the ventilation needs, one of the biggest costs for a mine. The areas affected by diesel particulates and NOx gases need to be ventilated. The costs in a mine increase with depth along with the temperature, which also negatively affects the costs. At the same time, legislation is always changing and there is a demand for cleaner engines. With electrification, these issues are minimised and additional cost savings emerge.
A diesel machine has at best around 20% energy efficiency. With a battery powered machine, the energy consumption can be reduced by 80% compared to a diesel machine, making the machine more efficient. Temperature increase by the operation of electric machines is around 5 times less than by diesel machines, reducing the heat in the mines. The maintenance requirements are also lower! The business case around electrification underground is based on the associated cost savings, even though electric machines at the moment are more expensive than diesel machines.
Zero emissions underground are crucial for the future of mining, and battery technology allows that! Batteries are associated with certain concerns though, starting from the raw materials to battery recycling. The location of the mine is also important, as electricity from a country with a higher renewable energy percentage in the energy mix has a lower environmental impact. However, the major environmental impact of batteries is mostly observed during the production of batteries.
In the next and final module, we will dig into a particular application of batteries that promises to change the industry drastically in the near future - Electric Vehicles!