Energy, Renewables and Carbon Management (ERCM)

Energy, Renewables and Carbon Management (ERCM)


Contact:

Dean Millar
Director, Energy, Renewables and Carbon Management (ERCM)
Tel: (705)671-3333
      (705)675-1151 Ext.5071
Email: dmillar@mirarco.org

  • The Energy, Renewables and Carbon Management centre comprises a team of international researchers dedicated to excellence in energy research. We focus on industry, public sector, and community/municipality interests, with primary emphasis on energy challenges in the Mining Industry across the globe.

    Our innovations in energy management, energy conservation and energy technology aim to lower the cost of energy and add value in sustainability metrics for all stakeholders.

    AREAS OF EXPERTISE

    • Whole and life cycle, power, heat and fuel audits and demand profiling
    • Appraisal and concept development of energy consumption reduction technologies (including energy efficiency) for the minerals sector
    • Integration of renewable energy technologies into the mining sector
    • Renewable heat technology application development including heat recovery and utilization
    • Investigation of revenue enhancement opportunities via carbon trading and the clean development mechanism
    • Greenhouse gas mitigation and avoidance, development of innovations in carbon capture technology

    VISION & PRIORITIES

    The ERCM group aspires to be an internationally recognized centre of research excellence for Energy in Mining. In achieving this goal, ERCM members:

    • Strive for research excellence
    • Establish a personal development plan to encourage and foster striving for excellence
    • Aim to publish their work in the highest calibre international peer reviewed journals
    • Present their work at internationally esteemed academic conferences or those providing the greatest knowledge transfer impact for industry
    • Commercially exploit their innovations as expeditiously as possible for the benefit of the mining industry worldwide and society at large
    • Warmly welcome the addition of expertise in individuals at all ages, all levels of attainment, from all nations, and from a diverse range of subject disciplines
    • Always responsibly deploy research funding, whatever its source

     

    SPONSORS

    Our projects are only possible thanks to generous support from our sponsors. We would like to acknowledge the following organizations:
     

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    • CryoVent

      The CryoVent project aims to produce cryogens (liquefied gases at atmospheric pressure) continuously and efficiently using wind energy, even though the input work (wind) is intermittent and variable. The cryogens can be used for mine ventilation and cooling. The application of this concept could significantly decrease the costs of cooling a deep mine.


    • Mine to Bullion energy Audits (MBeA)

      The Mine to Bullion energy Audits project aims to develop an improved energy management methodology that could be used by the mining industry to reduce energy consumption in the mining, milling, and concentration stages of the mining process. To date, this work has identified methods for: i) conducting energy audits, ii) analyzing the collected data, and iii) benchmarking energy use.

      A database of energy conservation opportunities applicable to the mining sector was developed to enhance dissemination of best practice and thus improve energy performance. Energy use from underground mine ventilation systems can account for 40-50% of total electricity use at a mine, hence an auxiliary mine ventilation model was developed to conduct techno-economic assessments of various parameters (i.e. different fans, different duct types) to determine the lowest life-cycle cost option for a given project. Research during the MBeA project also determined that there may be a lack of sub-meters installed in some mines, thus a novel disaggregation method was developed to estimate the electricity consumed by various end-uses in an underground mine. Further development of the method could lead to a simpler, cheaper method for conducting energy audits in mines, thus lowering the metering, communication infrastructure, and data storage requirements.


    • Floating photovoltaic (PV)

      The floating solar photovoltaics (PV) project utilizes solar panels mounted on water bodies to generate electricity. Applications include marine environments, lakes, reservoirs/ponds and, in a mining context specifically, tailing ponds. The panels are designed to undulate with the water waves, rather than resist them so that the mooring loads are reduced and reliability in these environments is increased. Having the panels in direct contact with the water surface allows them to be continually cooled, which improves PV conversion efficiency. MIRARCO has demonstrated this technology in a small pond in Sudbury, ON and is working with Maltese partners on a larger installation in the Mediterranean Sea.
      Click here for more info about the projects.


    • Hydraulic Air Compressor (HAC)

      The Hydraulic Air Compressor (HAC) project involves the installation of a demonstration scale HAC within a mine shaft in Sudbury. The project aims to install and operate the HAC and assess its effectiveness for: i) the production of compressed air, ii) the provision of cooling for deep mines, and iii) the separation of CO2 from exhaust gas streams the compression of refrigerant gases – all at large scale! In theory at least, a HAC offers a practical, minimum work gas compression; that is, as the gas is compressed by the water, the water simultaneously acts as a heat sink so that the overall process is isothermal.
      Click here to see the BabyHAC Demo video.


    • Optimal Mine Site Energy Supply (OMSES)

      OMSES finds the best way to meet mine energy demand in all energy forms (electricity, heat, coolth, diesel) taking time-varying energy tariffs and environmental uncertainties into account. The system simultaneously finds the optimum set of technologies to achieve the job, and the optimal operating state of each item of equipment in this set, on an hourly basis, throughout a complete year. We have worked to consider energy storage technologies in the formulation as well as variable and intermittent renewable energy technologies. In the latest work, OMSES has been coupled with Model Predictive Control algorithms so that the optimality of the design solutions found can be assessed for their robustness in the face of uncertain climatic and price variables.


    • Wind2Ice

      Studies conducted by MIRARCO have shown that deeper mines (>2.5km deep) will require active cooling systems in order to maintain effective working environments. Ice stopes were identified as one of the more cost effective cooling methods because they can harness the renewable coolth from cold Canadian winters to cool the mines year round, including the summer. These installations can also warm cold winter air. The project aims to compare the ice stope cooling/heating method with conventional mechanical chillers/heat pumps that are wind driven – the former utilizes the coolth in the air to generate ice for cooling (and heat from the latent heat of fusion), and the latter utilizes the kinetic energy in the moving air to power the vapour compression cycle.
      Click here for more info about the projects.

  • Staff:

    Dean L. Millar, B.Eng. (Hons), PhD, ARSM, DIC, FIMMM, Certified Energy Manager (CEM), Director
    Dean Millar is the Director of the Energy, Renewables and Carbon Management (ERCM) group and Professor of Energy in Mining within Laurentian University’s Bharti School of Engineering. He is a Fellow of the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining, holds a bachelor’s degree in Mining Engineering and a doctorate in Rock Mechanics, both from Imperial College, London. He has been engaged in teaching, research and professional consultancy services in the renewable energy and mining businesses over the last 20 years.

    Caterina Noula, B.Sc. PhD (Chemistry)
    Caterina has spent most of her professional career working as an Organic Chemist, performing chemical transformations, following multi-stage synthetic routes, to achieve the synthesis of target compounds. She has worked on various research projects, in Greece, the UK, Spain and Canada, both in academia and in industry, for clients such as Janssen Pharmaceuticals, GSK, Astra Zeneca, Prolysis Ltd and Virobay Inc. She has extensive experience in the use of analytical techniques such as high resolution Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) Spectroscopy and Mass Spectrometry (MS).
    Current position: Senior Research Fellow (Analytical Chemistry); she is in charge of the gas analysis and water chemistry for the HAC Demonstrator Project.

    Keywords: Hydraulic Air Compressor; HAC Demonstrator project; Mass Spectrometry; Gas Analysis

    Thomas P. Clifford, B.Eng. (Hons), ACSM, MIMMM, C.Eng, Engineering Consultant
    Tom is an Engineering Consultant within the Energy, Renewables and Carbon Management (ERCM) group and Director of Consultancy within the global RIVENTA group of companies. He is a Chartered Engineer under the UK Engineering Council and holds a Bachelor of Engineering from the University of Exeter, UK. Tom’s specialism is turbomachinery performance measurement for which he is designing and implementing the instrumentation system for the Hydraulic Air Compressor project.

    Keywords: HAC, Turbo machinery efficiency measurement, differential temperature measurement, energy efficiency consultancy

     

    Graduate Students and Interns:

    Harvard Farrant, B.A. B.Sc. B.Eng. M.Sc. CEM, Mechanical Engineer (Renewable Energy)
    Harvard has worked in industry for over 25 years as a software developer, technical writer and documentation manager. More recently, he was a renewable energy consultant and owner of ENAIRGY – a solar PV/thermal systems installation company.
    PhD Research Project: Investigating lightweight, composite materials and rotor modifications for small wind turbines (25 to 100 kW). Funded by Ontario Research Fund, Research Excellence project, SUMIT.

    Keywords: lightweight airfoil; small wind turbine rotor

    Saruna Kunwar, B.Sc. M.Eng. (Natural Resources Engineering)
    Saruna was a volunteer for ECCA, an environmental conservation and management NGO in Nepal. She worked for AGAT laboratories in Sudbury before starting her PhD research in early 2013. Her research topic concerns the low carbon, low cost ventilation and cooling of deep mines using cryogens produced by bespoke wind turbines.
    PhD Research Project: Production of cryogens using wind energy for use in deep mine cooling and ventilation. Funded by the Centre for Excellence in Mining Innovation (CEMI).

    Keywords: CryoVent, cryogenic ventilation cycles

    Alex Hutchison B.Eng. (Mining Engineering)
    Alex is a recent graduate of Laurentian University’s mining engineering program. He is now working towards a PhD in Natural Resources Engineering.
    PhD Research Project: Develop air induction systems and low and high pressure gas-liquid separators for hydraulic air compressor application. Funded by the Ultra Deep Mining Network (UDMN).

    Keywords: two-phase flow; water-air mixing; water-air separation

    Stephen Young, B.Eng. (Mining Engineering)
    Stephen is a recent graduate of Laurentian University’s mining engineering program and is now working towards a MASc in Natural Resources Engineering.
    MASc Research Project: Solubility and psychrometric aspects of hydraulic air compressors and high pressure cyclone separators for hydraulic air compressor application. Funded by the Canadian Network Centres of Excellence, the Ultra Deep Mining Network (UDMN).

    Keywords: Gas-liquid separation; isothermal compression; solubility kinetics; two-phase flow

    Valeria Pavese, B.Sc. (Energy Engineering)
    In 2015, Valeria completed her M.Sc. in Energy and Nuclear Engineering, specialising in Energy Technologies, at the Politecnico di Torino, Italy. She worked with the ERCM group to prepare her Master’s Thesis on the analysis of Energy and Exergy of Hydraulic Air Compressors. In September 2015 she started a joint PhD between Laurentian University and Politecnico di Torino in Natural Resources Engineering and Energetica.

    PhD Research Project: Investigation of marine and land-based hydraulic air compressor technology in the context of carbon capture. Funded by the Ultra Deep Mining Network (UDMN)

    Justin Sivret, B.Eng. (Mining Engineering)
    Justin is a recent graduate of Laurentian University’s mining engineering program and is now working towards a MASc in Natural Resources Engineering. MASc Research Project: Cryogen Risk Assessment in Mining. Funded by the Mathematics of Information Technology and Complex Systems organization (MITACS) and the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation (NOHFC).

    Keywords: Cryogenics, liquid nitrogen, risk assessment

     

    Former ERCM Members and Interns

    • Dr. Monica Carvalho, Professor at the Alternative and Renewable Energy Center in Joao Pessoa
      Dean and Monica together pioneered the Optimal Mine Site Energy Supply formulation. She sits on the supervisory committees of Michelle and Alberto and is an Adjunct Professor within Laurentian University’s Bharti School of Engineering.
    • Jeff Shaw
      Automation EIT at BESTECH.
    • Jaime Waine
      Sales Advisor at Orica Canada Inc..
    • Dr. Michelle Levesque, B.Sc. (Chemistry) M.A.Sc. Natural Resources Engineering, CEM
      Michelle has gained 17 years of combined experience working in academic and research settings at Laurentian University as well as in the paste backfill group at Golder Associates in Sudbury.
      PhD Research Project: Improving the methodology of energy management for the mining industry. Funded by Vale.
    • Dr. Kim Trapani, EIT, P.Eng
      Kim was an energy researcher at MIRARCO and Adjunct Professor within Laurentian University’s Bharti School of Engineering. She was involved with the re-engineering of the Frood Stobie ice stope for cooling of deep mines. She was actively involved with the development of the flexible floating solar array, for which a small prototype was installed in Sudbury in 2013 and with plans for a larger prototype to be installed in Malta, in the Mediterranean sea, in the pipelines. Kim previously worked as an energy consultant in Malta, has experience with green builds, energy audits for commercial and residential buildings, renewable energy resource assessment and has performed advanced fluid and thermal analyses for thermal storage systems.
    • Dr. Alberto Romero, M.Eng. Mechanical Engineer
      Alberto graduated from the School of Engineering at the University of Seville. He has developed his professional career mainly in the field of Energy Systems; first, working for a Spanish Regional Administration as a supervisor of educational building projects, and later, working as a research and development engineer in Seville for Hispacold – an automotive air conditioning company.
      Alberto finished his PhD in Natural Resources Engineering, focusing on energy management and optimization for the mining industry. His research covers topics ranging from energy storage, renewable energy or optimal control of energy systems, to advanced vehicle technologies for deep underground mines.
      PhD Research Project: Optimal design and control of mine site energy supply systems. Funded by SUMIT.
    • Negar Saeidi, B.Sc. Mining Engineering
      Negar completed M.Sc. in Natural Resources Engineering from Laurentian University’s Bharti School of Engineering, under the supervision of Dr. Dean Millar. She conducted her research at MIRARCO as part of the SOT+ project.
    • Olimpia Banete, B.Eng. Mechanical Engineer
      Olimpia undertook her MASc Research Project on Modelling the natural heat exchange area (NHEA) at Sudbury’s Creighton mine using the Lattice Boltzmann method. Funded by SUMIT.
    • Adam Turcotte, B.Co.Sc. B.Sc. M.Sc. Computer Analyst
      While at MIRARCO Adam developed software package called Sankey Trees (downloadable from the Products page) that allows energy flows to be depicted with spatial reference and temporal variation. He also worked on Lattice Boltzmann modeling of conjugate heat flow problems and did the initial development of the Optimal Mine Site Energy Supply tool.
    • Maxine Myre, B.Sc. (Hons) M.Sc. Grad.Dip. (Science Communication)
      Maxine is a graduate of the Science Communication program at Laurentian University. She has experience in technical and non-technical writing, public speaking, quantitative and qualitative research, social media, and teaching.
      Current position: Technical Editor/Communications. Maxine provides supports to ERCM members in all aspects of science communication.
    • Wendy Matthews, Renewable Energy student
      Wendy completed her M. Eng in Renewable Energy at the University of Exeter’s Camborne School of Mines in the UK. She completed an internship for her Industrial Placement Project module during summer 2014, and worked on the natural heat exchange area project.
    • Julia Resende de Andrade, Chemical Engineering Student
      Julia attended Federal University of Uberlandia in Uberlandia, Brazil. While at MIRARCO Julia undertook research into gas solubility for hydraulic air compressors. Funded by: Canada-Brazil Ciência sem Fronteiras Scholarship Program.
    • Donato Grandal V., Architect, MBA
      After receiving his architecture degree from the University of Seville, Donato practiced architecture professionally in Spain for five years. Donato has also undertaken studies on the development of HVAC facilities in buildings and their energy efficiency. He also holds an MBA from the University of Cadiz where his thesis was in the field of infrastructure management. At MIRARCO, Donato focused on modeling large scale regenerative heat stores using computational fluid dynamics.
    • Diogo Sanchez de Oliveira, Undergraduate Student in Control and Automation Engineering
      In 2013 Diogo was selected for the Brazilian ‘Science Without Borders’ program, which gave him the opportunity to work and study for 14 months in Canada. In the spring and summer of 2014 Diogo has joined the ERCM team at MIRARCO to research the design and control of a lab scale Hydraulic Air Compressor.
    • Ana Leite, Civil Engineering Undergraduate Student
      Ana also participated in the Brazilian ‘Science Without Borders’ program. Ana started studying Civil Engineering at the Federal University of Ceará, Brazil in 2010. At MIRARCO Ana worked on developing relations between power applied versus energy consumed in a broad range of processes involving rock breakage.
    • Felipe S. Gabriel, Mechanical Engineering Undergraduate Student
      Felipe studied at Laurentian University on a one year scholarship. This experience was part of his studies in Mechanical Engineering, with specialization in Mechanical Technologies, at the SENAI Technical School in Brazil. He received his bachelor’s degree in December 2014 from the Cruzeiro do Sul University, Brazil. In May 2014 Felipe worked for the ERCM and VPO groups within MIRARCO to investigate contaminant clearance in mine ventilation systems.
    • Angelina Romanelli Rocha & Flavia de Carvalho Vespucio, Mining Engineering Undergraduate Student
      Angelina and Flavia are students of mining engineering at Federal University of Minas Gerais, Brazil, on an undergraduate government scholarship “Science Without Borders” in Canada focused on obtaining North American academic experience. During the spring and summer of 2015, they joined the ERCM team at MIRARCO. As part of their internship, they learned SolidWorks and SolidWorks Flow Simulation (a computational fluid dynamics tool) and used these to design an air and water mixing head for a prototype scale Hydraulic Air Compressor. See their presentation here.
    • Tim Doan, B.CoSc.
      Tim graduated from the Computer Science (Co-op) program at Laurentian University in 2014. He is currently studying towards a M.Sc. in Computational Science also at Laurentian University. He joined the ERCM group of MIRARCO in April 2015.
      Intern position: Computer programmer for the Optimal Mine Site Energy Supply (OMSES) project.
    • Chen Zhuo
      Chen Zhuo completed a Bachelor’s degree in Material Forming and Control Engineering at Northwest Polytechnical University in China. He recently finished his third year of Mining Engineering as a second degree at Laurentian University. At MIRARCO, he was doing a co-op under the supervision of Dr. Dean Millar. He was involved with the Wind2Ice project.
    • Ariel K. Kadiayi
      Ariel K. Kadiayi is a Congolese citizen currently in his third year in mining engineering at Laurentian University. He holds a diploma in mechanical engineering technology from the Cape Peninsula University of Technology in Cape Town. He was currently a summer intern at MIRARCO with the ERCM group. His work involved dynamic modelling of a vapour compression system for the WIND2ICE project, with applications in deep mine cooling.
    • Javier Rico, B.Eng. (Mining Engineering) EIT
      At MIRARCO, Javier Rico’s research was focus on the jet pump cooling for hydraulic air compressor application.
    • SankeyTrees-logoSankeyTrees

      SankeyTrees is an application for creating 4D visualizations of energy flows between processes. A 3D model of the studied site can be imported in VTK format to provide spatial reference. Units can be specified and associated with different energy types, and flows can be defined between processes with different magnitudes for each time step. The radius of each flow line is proportional to its magnitude, and each unit is associated with a scaling factor, which can be used to fit the data to the site model. Furthermore, the colour and opacity of the site model and flow lines can be customized to ensure that important details are visible.
      Download SankeyTrees here.

     

    • Mining Energy Efficiency Best Practice Database

      The intent of this register is to enhance transparency and facilitate dissemination of best practices with respect to energy matters in the mining industry. A standardized template has been developed to assist with the assessment and comparison of energy management measures.
      Submitted case studies will be reviewed and added to the database.

     

    • Auxiliary mine ventilation cost assessment model

      This model allows the user to assess and compare capital and operational costs of various auxiliary mine ventilation fan and duct systems.
      Download the model here.

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