A floating island of solar panels is being tested in Chile. It is expected to produce clean energy in this way to reduce water losses as a result of mining.
English-American mining company works on a project of experimental energy island Las Tórtolas at the Los Bronces mine.
On Thursday, the Chilean Minister of Mines, Baldo Procurica, opened a 112-square-meter solar array.
In case of successful testing, a plant with a cost of $250 thousand can be expanded to 40 hectares. In Chile, there are about 800 ponds that can be used to install floating solar power plants.
The array is located in the middle of the pond, which is used to store waste from mining, known as tailings, and its shade is expected to reduce water temperature and reduce evaporation by 80%. Thus, the mine will hold more water for its operations and will be able to reduce the amount of fresh water that it pumps to the dry mountain region, where it is a scarce resource.
“With this system, we can make fresh water consumption more efficient in line with our goal of improving mining and reducing Anglo American freshwater consumption by 50% by 2030, as well as CO2 emissions through the production of clean energy”, noted Los Bronces Operations Vice President Patricio Chakana.
Los Bronces is located at a height of 3500 meters above sea level and 65 kilimeters away from the capital Santiago.
Nearly 20% of the energy which is currently produced and used in Chile comes from renewables, compared to 6% in 2013.
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