Western Australian Tech Companies Emerging from Mining Resources and Innovating for a Clean Future
This article describes how Western Australian tech companies, such as Solar Energy Robotics, are developing innovative solutions to optimise mine site production, reduce costs, and eliminate health, safety, and environmental risks associated with conventional manual cleaning while contributing to the global transition to clean energy.
The WA resources sector offer a unique opportunity for WA tech companies to find early market entry for high-value technology products that have global potential.
Simon Trott, Rio Tinto's Iron Ore boss, believes Western Australia can become the "Silicon Valley of resources tech" and will play a crucial role in the transition to clean energy.
The market impact of tech products developed for the resources sector can extend far beyond the sector itself, especially in emerging markets like the renewable energy sector.
One of the unique challenges the mining industry faces in this transition to clean energy is the reduced reliability of solar energy production due to dust accumulation on solar panels.
The conventional method of manual cleaning poses significant risks to the Health, Safety, and Environment (HSE) of workers, including exposure to intense sun, high temperatures, and bodily strain from repetitive and demanding movements.
Solar Energy Robotics - Main Page, a WA robotics company, has developed an Autonomous Solar Cleaning Robot (ASCR) that ensures solar panels on mine sites remain in optimal condition for reliable power supply. The use of ASCR for preventative maintenance eliminates HSE risks and optimizes mine site production while saving 60-70% costs compared to manual cleaning.
The ASCR is an excellent example of Western Australia's resource industry innovation that can have a global impact. As the technology develops further, the market for ASCRs will expand to the global utilities scale solar sector, which is emerging as a rapidly growing sector worldwide.
See the project case study where mine site production was threatened due dust soiling on solar panels - Mine Site Case Study | IES (iesaus.com.au)