Environmental Impacts of Energy-Efficient Pyrometallurgical Copper Smelting Technologies: The Consequences of Technological Changes from 2010 to 2050

Joanna Kulczycka , Łukasz Lelek , Anna Lewandowska , Herbert Wirth , Joseph D. Bergesen


The article analyzes and discusses the environmental and natural resource impacts, benefits, and greenhouse gas (GHG) mitigation potential associated with a long‐term transition to more energy‐efficient pyrometallurgical smelting technologies for the production of refined copper. Using generic data from the KGHM Polska Miedź S.A, Glogow I and II smelting facilities in Poland, this study employs life cycle assessment (LCA) to compare the environmental impacts of shaft and flash furnace‐based smelting technologies. Additionally, this analysis accounts for likely technological changes in the more energy‐efficient flash furnace smelting technologies and electricity generation from 2030 to 2050 to forecast the long‐term impacts of copper production. Life cycle impact assessment results for copper production are characterized using the ReCiPe 2008 midpoint method. LCA results show that, for most impact categories, the flash‐based technology can achieve significantly lower environmental impacts than a shaft furnace (i.e., to produce 1 ton of copper in 2010 generates, on average, a 24% lower overall impact). For climate change, transitioning from shaft furnace‐based copper production to more efficient flash furnace technology leads to decreasing GHG emissions of 29% in 2010, 50% in 2030, and 56% in 2050.
Author Joanna Kulczycka
Joanna Kulczycka,,
, Łukasz Lelek - Instytut Gospodarki Surowcami Mineralnymi i Energią Polskiej Akademii Nauk, MNiSW [80]
Łukasz Lelek,,
, Anna Lewandowska (WT / KTiEPP)
Anna Lewandowska,,
- Department of Industrial Products and Ecology
, Herbert Wirth - KGHM Polska Miedź S.A.
Herbert Wirth,,
, Joseph D. Bergesen - University of California, Santa Barbara, CA, USA
Joseph D. Bergesen,,
Journal seriesJournal of Industrial Ecology, ISSN 1088-1980, (A 35 pkt)
Issue year2016
Publication size in sheets0.6
Keywords in Englishenvironmental impact, copper production, technological changes
ASJC Classification3300 General Social Sciences; 2300 General Environmental Science
URL https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/epdf/10.1111/jiec.12369
Languageen angielski
Score (nominal)35
Score sourcejournalList
ScoreMinisterial score = 35.0, 10-01-2020, ArticleFromJournal
Ministerial score (2013-2016) = 35.0, 10-01-2020, ArticleFromJournal
Publication indicators WoS Citations = 5; Scopus SNIP (Source Normalised Impact per Paper): 2016 = 1.39; WoS Impact Factor: 2016 = 4.123 (2) - 2016=4.128 (5)
Citation count*23 (2021-01-19)
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* presented citation count is obtained through Internet information analysis and it is close to the number calculated by the Publish or Perish system.
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