Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile
Garrido F. and Vergara J. (2013)

Design of solar pond for water preheating used in the copper cathodes washing at a mining operation at Sierra Gorda, Chile. http://dx.doi.org/10.1063/1.4812652

Revista : Journal of Renewable and Sustainable Energy
Volumen : 5
Tipo de publicación : ISI Ir a publicación


The Chilean copper industry is increasingly dependent on coal-generated electricity
and diesel fuel for high altitude mining operations. The associated greenhouse gas
emission expansion needs to be moderated, moving away from polluting imported
energy sources. As an option, solar thermal energy is breaking through in mining
processes, and several companies plan to evaluate the application of ponds among
potential technologies. In this work, we propose the studied the performance of solar
ponds to preheat water to wash the copper cathodes in a mine located in Sierra
Gorda aiming to reduce fuel consumption and combustion emissions. The outcome
was a dual array of solar ponds with an effective collecting area of 23 240m2 and a
1.8m thick density gradient to prevent heat convection. The ponds could deliver up
to 12 300MW h/year on site, reducing the annual diesel demand by 77% with a
collecting efficiency of 24%, avoiding 3300 tonnes of CO2, thus reducing the cost of
the thermal kilowatt-hour by 37%. Future work may include the construction of an
instrumented pilot pond and three-dimensional modeling