Renewable energy in the minerals industry: a review of global potential

Publisher:
Elsevier Ltd
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Citation:
Journal of Cleaner Production, 2012, 32 (2012), pp. 32 - 44
Issue Date:
2012-01
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This paper examines the major minerals producing countries and the potential that local energy mix and renewable energy resources have for lowering the impact of the industry, with respect to carbon dioxide emissions. Furthermore, it seeks to estimate the potential for new technologies, energy efficiency and demand-side measures to reduce emissions. Of total carbon dioxide emissions, 71% arise from fossil fuels used in thermal applications and 29% from indirect electricity generation. We find the highest theoretical potential for reduction of emissions from thermal applications is from the increased use of renewable biofuels and charcoal instead of fossil fuels (up to 46% of total industry net emissions), while conversion of various applications to use renewable hydrogen may reduce emissions by 28%. Electricity generation emissions could be "substantially reduced" by switching to electricity generation from cleaner sources, with hydropower a key potential contributor (reduction of 22% of total industry emissions). Solar thermal and electrical production may only be capable of 2-7% reduction in the industry's emissions.
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