Rio Tinto Kennecott Transitions to Renewable Diesel - Smart Energy Decisions

GHG Emissions, Industrial, Sourcing Renewables  -  December 20, 2023

Rio Tinto Kennecott Transitions to Renewable Diesel

Global mining group Rio Tinto will replace all of its diesel fuel with renewable diesel at its Kennecott copper operation in Utah starting in 2024.

During the first quarter of 2024, Kennecott’s fleet of 90 haul trucks and all heavy machinery will start transitioning to renewable diesel. The concentrator, smelter, and refinery will also switch to renewable diesel.

The transition will reduce Kennecott’s Scope 1 carbon emissions by approximately 495,000 tons of CO2 equivalent each year.

The renewable diesel is made from renewable biogenic materials sourced in the U.S. and will be supplied through the existing diesel supply chain from HF Sinclair.

“Transitioning Kennecott completely to renewable diesel builds on a suite of decarbonization initiatives that have reduced carbon emissions from the operation by 65% since 2019,” Rio Tinto Copper Chief Operating Officer Clayton Walker said in a statement. “This is an important next step in our commitment to finding new and better ways to reduce operational emissions, while producing materials essential to the global energy transition.”

Rio Tinto is targeting reductions in Scope 1 and 2 carbon emissions of 50% by 2030 and net zero by 2050.

Rio Tinto Chief Decarbonization Officer Jonathon McCarthy said, “Combined with Rio Tinto's U.S. Borax operation - which completed the full transition of its heavy machinery from fossil diesel to renewable diesel in May 2023 - this initiative would replace 11% of Rio Tinto's global fossil diesel consumption with renewable diesel. The use of drop-in fuel such as renewable diesel will allow Rio Tinto to reduce emissions in the short term, complementing ongoing work towards the commercial readiness of longer-term technical solutions such as battery electric haul trucks.”

The company decided to convert to renewable diesel after a trial of seven months at Kennecott’s Bingham Canyon mine. This trial was conducted in collaboration with Cummins to test renewable diesel in different operational environments and on various equipment which supported the decision of original equipment manufacturers to approve the use of renewable diesel in their equipment.

Keywords: Rio Tinto

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