A comparative analysis of energy and water consumption of mined versus synthetic diamonds

Vladislav Zhdanov, Marina Sokolova, Pavel Smirnov, Lukasz Andrzejewski, Julia Bondareva, Stanislav Evlashin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

In our research, we analyzed the energy and water consumption in diamond mining and laboratory synthesis operations. We used publicly available reports issued by two market leaders, DeBeers and ALROSA, to estimate water and energy use per carat of a rough diamond. The efficiency of the two most popular synthesis technologies for artificial diamonds-High-Pressure- High-Temperature (HPHT) and Microwave-assisted Chemical Vapor Deposition (M-CVD)-was examined. We found that the modern HPHT presses, with open cooling circuits, consume about 36 kWh/ct when producing gem-quality and average-sized (near-) colorless diamonds. ALROSA and DeBeers use about 96 kWh/ct and 150 kWh/ct, respectively, including all energy required to mine. Energy consumption of M-CVD processes can be different and depends on technological conditions. Our M-CVD machine is the least energy-efficient, requiring about 215 kWh/ct in the single-crystal regime, using 2.45-GHz magnetron for the support synthesis. The M-CVD methods of individual synthetic companies IIa Technology and Ekati Mine are different from our results and equal 77 and 143 kWh/ct, respectively. Water consumption for the HPHT and M-CVD methods was insignificant: approximately zero and 0.002 m3/ct, respectively, and below 0.077 m3/ct for ALROSA-mined diamonds. This study touches upon the impact of the diamond production methods used on the carbon footprint.

Original languageEnglish
Article number7062
JournalEnergies
Volume14
Issue number21
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2021

Keywords

  • Carbon footprint
  • Chemical vapor deposition
  • Diamond mining
  • Diamond synthesis
  • Energy efficiency
  • High-pressure
  • High-temperature
  • Water intake

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