Minera El Tesoro brings South America’s first concentrated solar thermal plant

The Concentrating Solar Power plant will substitute more than half of the fossil fuel used in the mining process.

Abengoa (MCE: ABG), the international company that applies innovative technology solutions for sustainable development in the energy and environment sectors, announced the development and turnover to the client of the first solar thermal plant in Chile, and actually in all of South America. The 10 thermal MW installation was designed and built to supply clean thermal energy to the plant’s owner, Minera El Tesoro.

The solar thermal plant is expected to substitute more than 55 % of the diesel fuel currently used in the solution heating process for the copper electro-extraction process in the mining production The number of onsite workers peaked at 180 people during the construction process.

This turn-key solar heat process system consists of 1,280 PT-1 solar thermal collector modules and covers approximately 12 acres (6 hectares), with a peak solar output of about 10 MW. The employed technology has been designed and developed by Abengoa specifically for industrial thermal processes. The solar plant will deliver heat around the clock by using thermal energy storage, ideal for the mining industry and industries with similar energy needs. The use of solar energy will reduce CO2 emissions by about 10,000 tons per year.

Minera El Tesoro inaugurated the plant at the end of November, in the presence of Chile’s Minister of Energy, Jorge Bunster Bettely, illustrating the importance of solar thermal in Chile’s energy future.

Abengoa has been present since 1987 in Chile, a country with one of the highest solar radiation levels. With this project, Abengoa continues its international expansion in the solar thermal business and demonstrates the great potential for the application of this technology in the mining industry.

Proyecto Minera El Tesoro

Abengoa is one of the world’s leaders in concentrating solar energy. In addition to mining processes, Abengoa also offers solar technologies for other industrial applications, desalination, o electricity generation that are available as turn-key projects or with long-term power purchase agreements.

Abengoa also designs, builds and operates its own parabolic trough, tower and hybrid plants. Currently, Abengoa has 743 MWe in operation and 910 under construction throughout the world.