Wärtsilä and Schneider Electric develop fit-for-purpose reliable power system reference design for lithium mines lacking grid access

Source: press release, 21 June 2021

Wärtsilä’s and Schneider Electric’s unique end-to-end power system reference design, contributing to sustainable lithium production, is aimed at mine operations without access to grid
Wärtsilä’s and Schneider Electric’s unique end-to-end power system reference design, contributing to sustainable lithium production, is aimed at mine operations without access to grid (photo: Wärtsilä)

The technology group Wärtsilä and Schneider Electric have together developed a unique, end-to-end power system reference design. It is aimed specifically at lithium mine operations where there is no access to a grid supply of electricity. The design provides for an economically viable total expenditure that covers the complete process, including consulting, project design, the power infrastructure, equipment delivery, installation and commissioning.

The solution contributes to sustainable lithium production by optimising the efficient delivery and use of energy, and by leveraging microgrids and enabling renewable energy sources. The overall objective of this collaborative development is to provide high efficiency power solutions with a minimal environmental footprint for the mining industry.

The design 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, based on key performance indicators for the power generation reduce operational cost and enhance power availability, supporting thus a mine’s production targets. Predictability of parts and maintenance costs reduces the need for working capital.

“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. 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,” says 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.

Wärtsilä and Schneider Electric signed the framework co-operation agreement for the development of the design for mining energy solutions in March 2020. The parties aim to optimise customer benefit in mining projects by offering solutions based on mutually complementary technologies. The business white paper Recommended power generation and electrical distribution for high altitude lithium mine was published in June 2021.

Schneider’s purpose is to empower all to make the most of energy and resources, bridging progress and sustainability for all. On its mission to be the digital partner for sustainability and efficiency, Schneider drives digital transformation by integrating world-leading process and energy technologies, endpoint to cloud connecting products, controls, software and services, across the entire lifecycle, enabling integrated company management, for homes, buildings, data centres, infrastructure and industries.