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Amplats uses smelter waste for heat

A clean energy power plant was opened at Anglo American Platinum’s Waterval Smelting Complex in Rustenburg, the company said.

Amplats uses smelter waste for heat
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In a statement, Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) said the Eternity Power was opened on Monday. The project was made possible by the department of trade and industry (DTI) providing a R30 million grant as part of its infrastructure development support.

The Eternity Power Thermal Harvesting project was commissioned in June 2015 and developed by Vuselela Energy in collaboration with Anglo American Platinum at a total project cost of R150 million.

It is an innovation in the field of energy efficiency and a first of its kind co-generation power plant in South Africa, creating cleaner and inexpensive power for the cmpany’s general consumption.

Director at Eternity Power and Vuselela Energy Jacques Malan said the set of technologies used at the Eternity Power clean energy plant had not previously been used in a smelter environment and a significant amount of novel work was done to design the integration of the technology into the smelter complex and to establish the technical feasibility of the process.

“These patents were developed specifically for the purpose of capturing and harnessing waste thermal energies from metallurgical and chemical processes for the purpose of power generation and are likely also patentable worldwide,” he said.

“The result is that the Eternity Power Thermal Harvesting power plant is the first of its kind in the world in terms of being connected to a convertor at a metallurgical smelter.”

The director at Eternity Power and H1 Holdings, Reyburn Hendricks said the smelter sector was an important component of South Africa’s mining and industrial economy and was a large consumer of electricity.

“Smelters emit large quantities of energy in the form of furnace off-gas as well as the emitting of heat. For various reasons, the majority of smelters have not historically sought to capture this form of waste energy,” Hendricks said.

“The Eternity Power Thermal Harvesting power plant is innovative in that it has been designed to capture relatively low quality thermal heat from the smelter and convert it to electricity.”

The plant uses waste heat from the Anglo Converter Plant (ACP) convertor cooling circuit to evaporate an organic liquid and drive an expansion turbine.

The plant has an installed capacity of 5MW of which 4.3MW is available to the grid reducing Anglo American Platinum’s capacity bought from Eskom.

The amount of power generate also results in a reduction of the smelter’s carbon footprint and a more efficient use of energy.

Executive head of process at Anglo American Platinum July Ndlovu said the company was pleased to be at the forefront of this innovation.

“It provides a solution to the energy challenges that an energy-intensive operation like the smelting operation faces. We now have clean, sustainable and reliable energy and are proud to open Eternity Power as South Africa’s first thermal harvesting power plant in our operations. The plant is performing beyond expectations, generating more power ahead of its schedule,” Ndlovu said.

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