Thermoeconomic Analysis of Mining-Metallurgical Processes in Latin America

by José Luis Palacios Encalada, Ecuador (PPRE 2012-2014) at Research Centre for Energy Resources and Consumption (CIRCE), Universidad de Zaragoza, Spain


Modern living needs products that come from mining activities. In 2012 the global mineral production increased six fold in comparison to 2000.

Mining and metallurgical processes are high energy intensive. Energy consumption of these activities meant about 12% of the final energy consumption in 2014. Furthermore, the intensive use of fuels and non-fuel minerals is a reason of depletion of Earth´s resources. In addition, in one century human beings have extracted 26% of mineral reserves worldwide.

Exergoecology has been established for the evaluation of inorganic substances and one division of this discipline is Physical Geonomics as defined by Valero. Conventional exergy analysis only accounts for the exergy consumed from the initial to the final state, from cradle to grave. However, Physical Geonomics closes this cycle, considering in the analysis the grave-to-cradle stage.

Latin America (LA-20) has been a region of great interest not only for its rich-multicultural heritage and diverse flora and fauna, but also for its natural resources that have become valuable commodities worldwide.

The project stablishes an analysis of the mining and metallurgical processes in Latin America (LA-20) from a Thermoeconomics perspective, along with guidelines of Physical Geonomics.

The thesis intends to provide a new perception on mineral trading of fuel and non-fuel minerals based on physical laws, Thermodynamics, and foster sustainable solutions for extractive activities in Latin America.

Keywords: Latin America, mining processes optimization, thermoeconomic analysis, Exergoecology

Biography of José Luis Palacios

  • Assistant Professor at the Department of Mechanical Engineering in Escuela Politécnica Nacional, Ecuador
  • Master of Science in Renewable Energy (PPRE 2012-14) from the University of Oldenburg, Germany
  • Author and co-author of publications about energy efficiency in steam systems, static energy converters, liquid metals in Concentrating Solar Power Systems (CSP). He has made research stays at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), German.
  • He is currently a Ph.D. researcher at the Research Centre for Energy Resources and Consumption (CIRCE), Universidad de Zaragoza, Spain


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