Wärtsilä, Schneider Electric plan to power remote lithium mines

Finnish power services company Wärtsilä and France-based Schneider Electric have developed a power system reference design aimed specifically at lithium mine operations with no grid access.
Wärtsilä, Schneider Electric plan to power remote lithium mines Wärtsilä, Schneider Electric plan to power remote lithium mines Wärtsilä, Schneider Electric plan to power remote lithium mines Wärtsilä, Schneider Electric plan to power remote lithium mines Wärtsilä, Schneider Electric plan to power remote lithium mines

Wärtsilä’s and Schneider Electric’s unique end-to-end power system reference design

The companies said the design, which includes consulting, project design, the power infrastructure, equipment delivery, installation and commissioning, can leverage microgrids and enabling renewable energy sources.

The concept expands to the lifecycle of the mine and it links the availability and performance of the power generating plant to a mine's productivity. Shared business case incentives are based on key performance indicators for power generation.

"The increasing global demand for lithium needed for battery storage applications is putting pressure on mining operations to be as efficient and cost-effective as possible," said Jean Nabb, Director, Strategic Partnership, Wärtsilä Energy and Vivek Kapoor, Vice President & Regional Segment Leader, Mining, Minerals and Metals Segment at Schneider Electric in a joint statement.

white paper the companies developed to describe the process, "Recommended power generation and electrical distribution for high altitude lithium mine", was published in June 2021.

The power system design is recommended for a lithium extraction site using brine pumped from salt lakes (also called salars), located at high altitude, delivering 20 kTons/year Lithium Carbonate Equivalent (LCE).

Cost optimisation was achieved using a simple electrical distribution
architecture with suitable MV and LV connected equipment installed in E-Houses.
An Ethernet based system integrates the electrical network management, energy
consumption, and asset condition with the industrial process control.

"The power supply is a key element in this, and together we have designed a solution that harnesses the strengths and experience of our two companies. It will not only guarantee a reliable energy supply, but will do so with economic and environmental benefits that will raise the efficiency of the mining operations."