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Agrimin aiming to increase renewables penetration rate for Mackay potash project

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World Fertilizer,

Agrimin Ltd. has announced the potential to increase the Mackay potash project’s high renewables penetration rate following the results of ongoing green studies. Based on 12 months of data collection at the proposed process plant location, the wind resource has been verified to support the company’s low carbon sulfate of potash production.

Mark Savich, CEO of Agrimin commented: “Confirming the high quality and consistent wind resource at Lake Mackay was a critical part of our green strategy. Completion of long-term wind monitoring will now allow the finalisation of our power solution and supports the extremely low carbon footprint of Agrimin’s SOP fertilizer. This is important for our ESG objectives and for our future customers.

“We are committed to assessing opportunities to further reduce CO2-e emissions and enhance the green credentials of the Mackay Potash Project. Our integrated owner’s team has commenced studies to maximise renewables penetration by matching process plant power demand with the availability of renewable energy supply (load profiling), as well as assessing the potential integration of hydrogen-based storage solutions.

“The Mackay Potash Project has the unique ability to create a reliable seaborne supply of certified organic SOP fertilizer to farmers around the world, many of which are currently using SOP fertilizer produced from the highly polluting Mannheim process.”

The Definitive Feasibility Study (DFS) was designed for the Mackay potash project having an average power load of 16 megawatts with this power generated via a hybrid gas, solar, wind and battery solution with a modelled renewables penetration of 58%. This power load is designed to support the process plant, non-process infrastructure, offices and accommodation camp, as well as harvesting and pumping operations within the solar evaporation ponds.

For the past year, the company has collected Sonic Detection and Ranging (SODAR) data to provide information about daily and seasonal wind patterns at the proposed process plant site. The SODAR device uses sound waves to measure wind speed and direction in the atmosphere at 10 m intervals up to 200 m above ground level. Measurements were taken every 10 minutes, providing a comprehensive data set over the 12-month observation period.

The SODAR data has been correlated to ERA5 and MERRA2 processed satellite data sets, providing accurate wind strength and variability estimates which are suitable for final power system selection. The data show that Lake Mackay has an average wind speed of approximately 27 km per hour at the planned wind turbine hub height of 130 m, with low seasonal variability.

This average wind speed exceeds the assumption used in the DFS which was based on regional wind data. Importantly, the SODAR data demonstrates that wind energy is typically stronger at night and in the morning, which will complement solar energy and greatly improve renewable energy utilisation.

Based on the confirmed wind and solar resources at Lake Mackay, the company plans to optimise the mix of renewable energy generation with a review of energy storage options and process plant power demand during the current Front End Engineering Design (FEED) phase. These aspects are being considered as part of ongoing green studies and have highlighted the potential to also decrease operating costs over the 40 year life of the Mackay potash project.

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