Rio Tinto is exploring the use of solar technology to cut its global carbon emissions by partnering with renewable energy technology company, Heliogen.
A memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed by the companies for Heliogen to install its technology at Rio Tinto’s Boron operation in California.
If the deployment – scheduled for 2022 – is successful, Rio Tinto plans to extend the solar technology across its operations around the world.
Rio Tinto chief executive Jakob Stausholm said the agreement was key to reaching the company’s emissions reduction targets.
“This partnership with Heliogen has the potential to significantly reduce our emissions at Boron by using this groundbreaking solar technology, and we look forward to exploring opportunities across our global portfolio,” Stausholm said.
Stausholm continued to outline just how much Rio Tinto expected to spend on carbon reduction technology moving forward.
“Our work with Heliogen is part of Rio Tinto’s commitment to spend approximately $1 billion on emissions reduction initiatives through to 2025 and our commitment to work with world-leading technology providers to achieve this goal,” Stausholm said.
“Addressing climate change effectively will require businesses, governments and society to work together through partnerships like this one, to explore innovative new solutions throughout the entire value chain.”
The technology itself uses energy from the sun to generate up to 35,000 pounds per hour of steam to power operations.
Heliogen projects the technology can reduce the Rio Tinto operation by around 7 per cent, but Rio Tinto hopes to amplify the technology to achieve a 24 per cent reduction.
Heliogen chief executive officer and founder Bill Gross said the MoU was a big step in the company’s goal to avoid more than one gigaton of Co2 emissions.
“We’re pleased to find a partner committed to cutting its contributions to climate change,” Gross said.
“We’re also pleased that Rio Tinto is exploring our technology to play an important role in helping reach its sustainability goals while dramatically reducing its energy costs.”