Renewable energy is powering key infrastructure across Western Australia’s resources sector and Perth energy solutions provider UON is unlocking the benefits to its customers.
Dewatering activities at WA mine sites could reduce their reliance on traditional diesel generation, based on the initial success of the UON SMART™ solution being trialled at Rio Tinto’s Hope Down 4 operations.
Developed at UON’s Malaga facilities and built specifically for the harsh Pilbara environment, the hybrid energy system has changed dewatering operations from a 24 hour a day diesel burning activity to one where the fossil fuel is only needed as a back-up.
The photovoltaic and battery solution, coupled with UON’s Generator Motor Controller (GMC) enables the dewatering bore to pump around the clock for a fraction of the ongoing operational costs.
“We have developed a solution that directly meets a growing need across the mining sector, supporting not only reduced capital and operational costs, but more importantly helping to decarbonise operations,” UON Founder and Executive Chairman, Mark Keogh said.
“Mining in remote and hot environments have traditionally been reliant on diesel-fuelled solutions, but we are now delivering scalable, renewable solutions and integrating them into ongoing operations.
Scalable renewable solutions are integrated into ongoing operations,helping decarbonise traditional ways of operating.
“This is happening while also ensuring power security, improving reliability and reducing the maintenance required.
“The diesel generator has now become the back-up,” Mr Keogh said.
The UON developed control unit reads the power needed and manages the available power sources to provide the level required. Whenever possible the power is drawn direct from solar panels. When the solar panels are not producing, the battery energy storage system is engaged and, when that is depleted, as the last resort the backup diesel generator kicks in. The flexibility of the system removes the reliance on diesel-powered generators, cutting hefty fuelling and maintenance requirements, plus the need to access power from a central mine site power station with associated powerline infrastructure.
“This is a solution that is already in the field and working, helping to decarbonise traditional ways of operating, without any impact to energy reliability,” Mr Keogh said.
“Energy is the key to decarbonisation, and at UON we are all about creating the Energy for Every Future.”
UON is working with Rio Tinto to explore other similar initiatives that would reduce the use of generators and instead capitalise the region’s abundant solar energy with battery solutions.
“It literally is a UON SMART™ solution - Scalable, Modular, Automated, Renewable and Temperaturecontrolled.”
“The flexibility of our solution is a key part of how we are supporting our customers to manage their specific requirements,” Mr Keogh said.
Energy needs across mining operations can vary dramatically during the life of a mine. The redeployable solar and back-up generator solution can be positioned adjacent to where it is needed but it can also be repositioned easily according to the changing needs of a mine’s operations.
The system is fully supported by UON. Remote monitoring helps to ensure the optimisation of its operation, reducing the number of physical inspections and maintenance tasks required. Subsequently, the less travel needed for equipment inspections or the carting of diesel, and lower levels of operational maintenance, all help to further reduce the costs and environmental impacts faced by the customer. In addition, there is less ongoing work needed so it helps improve operational safety and the available analytics provide greater clarity of performance.
The infrastructure is able to located immediately adjacent to where the power is needed and can be redeployed to other locations, if operational needs changes.
“UON is placing our customers at the forefront of technology, helping them to replace fossil-fuel systems with renewable energy, while continuing to grow their operations.
“This is happening now, at scale and delivering real results as part of daily mining operations.”
The success of the hybrid power dewatering solution continues UON’s history of innovation, namely in developing and delivering integrated off-grid power solutions to support customers for the last 20 years. Providing complete turnkey solutions, encompassing all services from construction, to rental, maintenance and support services, UON is delivering energy efficient outcomes to customers across projects of all scales in WA.
“Our solutions are tailored to meet the exact needs of customers,” Mr Keogh said.
“Our continued investment in creating new technology directly benefits our customers through lower operating costs and a range of equipment that is scaled to the task at hand.
“Efficiency and reliability go hand in hand. From rental to purchase, dewatering a pit to powering a village or any mine site infrastructure, we have invested in the technology to create the lowest cost of energy solutions to meet the challenge and help decarbonise our customers operations.”