Chile leveraging blockchain for green copper
Chile’s national electricity coordinator CEN has started a program called Renova to track each megawatt hour of renewable power from when it’s generated until it’s consumed. By etching this data into the blockchain, the goal is to ensure end users get the clean power they paid for. The blockchain-based platform will track renewable energy, giving miners in the top copper nation more scope to show their green credentials to buyers.Codelco, Chile’s national mining company, is the world’s largest producer of the red metal.
While global electrification is boosting demand for the metal used in wiring, mining companies are also under mounting pressure to reduce their carbon emissions. Producers such as BHP and Anglo American are procuring renewable energy for their mines in Chile, where the solar and wind power industries are booming, reports Bloomberg.
“This platform allows us to quickly enable an accreditation showing the copper is actually green,” CEN President Juan Carlos Olmedo said in an interview.
The platform will play a role in Chile’s efforts to be carbon neutral by 2050, Olmedo said. Without a centralized registry, there’s a risk generators could sell duplicate contracts or certificates would be counted twice, meaning less clean energy would be in use than expected.
The CEN already has real-time access to data on power generation and consumption. It’s now encouraging companies to report the renewable energy contracts they’ve purchased so the data can be entered into the blockchain ledger, helping ensure the megawatt hours are being delivered to their intended recipients.
For miners, the platform is yet another tool to meet sustainability targets. Industry giants have started eyeing green hydrogen - obtained by stripping the gas from water using electrolysers powered by wind and solar - as a replacement for diesel. In time, Renova (the National Registry of Renewable Energies) will be able to issue certificates verifying the hydrogen being purchased is actually green, Olmedo said.
“The granular traceability and audit trails that blockchain can support is especially useful for companies that are working to reach net-zero goals,” said Amanda Ahl, an analyst at BloombergNEF focusing on emerging technologies for the energy sector. “This can be one part of the solution ensuring corporate sustainable goals are on track by verifying emission reduction claims.”
“With RENOVA, companies will be able to know with total certainty if their production processes or products have been effectively made with electricity from the renewable energy sources that they have contracted. In the same way, the generating companies will be able to know the amount, the moment and in which facilities these energies have been produced, as well as verify that they have indeed reached their destination. In addition, we highlight as an important element, which is a platform that will have no costs for users,” said Olmedo in a statement last month.
“Due to its autonomous and independent nature, and given that it has updated and complete information on the entire electricity sector in the country, the CEN is undoubtedly the most reliable institution to conduct a platform of this type. In this way, we will advance to a much more transparent market and we will move steadily and quickly towards carbon neutrality,” he added.
Ericsson Private 5G to transform secure on-site connectivity
Ericsson has launched Ericsson Private 5G. It offers secure and simple 4G LTE and 5G Standalone (SA) connectivity primarily targeting manufacturing, mining and process industries, offshore and power utilities, as well as ports and airports.
Ericsson Private 5G optimizes and simplifies business operations with cloud-based network management, keeps sensitive data on-premise, has zero downtime upgrades and guarantees high performance through Service-Level Agreements (SLAs).
It is easily installed within hours at any facility and can be scaled to support larger coverage areas, more devices and higher capacity when needed. The product is designed to be flexible and will support a range of deployment sizes, depending on requirements, to suit varied needs. Businesses can manage their networks and integrate with IT/OT systems via an open API.
Ericsson Private 5G builds upon Ericsson’s 4G/5G radio and dual mode core technology, enabling a wide variety of use cases for both indoor and outdoor environments while integrating well with business operations, devices and applications. As a result, companies can improve productivity, give their customers more value and provide better working environments for employees.
Innovative use cases include tracking assets and real-time automation to improve productivity in warehouses, and a digital twin that can help to optimize manufacturing operations. Efficient quality inspections can also be performed via augmented reality or smart surveillance drones to increase worker safety, particularly in potentially hazardous environments such as ports and mines.
Ericsson already has a significant track record of operational 4G and 5G private network deployments with customers worldwide. Ericsson Private 5G builds on the success of that solution portfolio and deployment insights, as well as insights from projects such as 5G-Industry Campus Europe.
Peter Burman, Program Manager Mine Automation, at Swedish mining company Boliden, commented: “Automation, and safety through automation in our mining operations is an absolute must for us. Ericsson Private 5G is exactly what Boliden needs to bring high quality, fast and secure connectivity into potentially hazardous environments allowing us to mobilize efficiency and safety improving use cases.
Niels König, Coordinator 5G-Industry Campus Europe, Fraunhofer Institute for Production Technology IPT added: “Private 5G networks are highly attractive for producing companies because of the uncompromised performance that 5G can bring, allowing them to tackle the challenges of production. Efficiently deploying and using network solutions in enterprises requires simplicity in installation, flexibility in connecting to existing production IT and lean operations while at the same time being able to scale the network to meet future challenges. Ericsson Private 5G delivers exactly these capabilities.”
Leo Gergs, Senior Analyst, ABI Research, noted: “With this new offering, Ericsson will be able to address key trends in the enterprise cellular market. The value proposition will appeal to operators and service providers as the solution hides technology complexity and therefore reduces the barrier of entry to deployment for many different flavors of enterprise networks.”
Thomas Noren, Head of Dedicated Networks, Business Area Technologies and New Businesses, Ericsson, revealed: “With Ericsson Private 5G, we take the best of Ericsson’s current portfolio and top it up with the best of our new technology. We do this to give businesses what they need to improve productivity, enable new offerings and give employees a better working environment. With Ericsson Private 5G, we also give operators a better way to serve business customers and leverage their assets - in short, to grow beyond mobile broadband.”
Ericsson recently joined a three-year initiative to develop autonomous, carbon-neutral mining processes supported by 5G connectivity. Funded by the EU’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program, the $16mn Next-Generation Carbon-Neutral Pilots for Smart Intelligent Mining Systems (NEXGEN SIMS) project is being coordinated by Swedish mining and infrastructure equipment manufacturer, Epiroc, in cooperation with a range of industry-diverse partners, including: Ericsson, K+S, Boliden, Agnico Eagle Finland, KGHM Polska and Luleå University of Technology.