The use of green hydrogen in copper smelting is a realistic option with economic and environmental benefits, according to research published in the journal Results in Engineering.
Crushing, froth flotation, and smelting are all steps in the process of refining copper sulfide ores. Chemical transformations of copper sulphide minerals create a greater concentration of copper in the final stage.
“Reducing agents such as coal, coke, and diesel are commonly employed in the process,” the research says, “but these reagents unfortunately have a significant environmental impact.”
The study looked at a technical-economic analysis for the production of methane – from the usage of green hydrogen – as a reducing agent for the smelting stage, conducted by Lorenzo Reyes-Bozo, director of Chemical Civil Engineering at the Autonomous University of Chile.
The Net Present Value (NPV) was computed for this, and a sensitivity analysis was run using the results.
Oracle Crystal Ball is an instrument for divining the future. “The study’s primary findings reveal a net present value of USD 5,459 million and a payback period of 11.8 years,” the researcher notes.
The NPV is positive with 97.32 percent confidence, according to the multiparametric analysis, and the primary variable that influences the NPV is the price of methane, which contributes 97.8 percent to the variance.
The researchers also discovered that the economic evaluation may be improved by valorizing heat and oxygen by-products, “further decreasing CO2 emissions owing to the replacement of diesel or other reducing agents,” according to Reyes-Bozzo.
The study included academics from the University of Santiago de Chile, Universidad del Desarrollo, and Universidad Andrés Bello, in addition to researchers from the Autonomous University.