Compressed air energy savings on an iron production plant
Zeelie, Lourens Edwill
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In the past several decades, energy efficiency has become increasingly important. A large driver behind this is reducing greenhouse gases that are caused by the combustion of fossil fuels. Most electricity generated in South Africa is from the combustion of fossil fuels. In South Africa, there is a need for reducing electricity consumption. Since 2008, there has been a significant shortage of electricity in the country. Load shedding was introduced in an attempt to manage the demand. When implementing energy efficiency strategies in South Africa, these strategies will eliminate the electricity shortage and also reduce greenhouse gas emissions. With the industrial sector being the largest consumer of electricity, it was targeted for improvements in energy efficiency. Strategies to improve the energy efficiency of electric systems have been implemented on various mines. However, the South African steelmaking industry is another large sector that has not received much attention yet. The steelmaking industry is under great financial pressure due to steel imported from China being cheaper. This led to local consumers importing steel rather than buying locally produced steel. With the steel industry being energy intensive and under financial pressure, it is the ideal place to look for energy efficiency improvements. Iron production is a large part of steel production. In this study, compressed air energy efficiency strategies are investigated. The most suitable strategy is selected and an implementation strategy developed. The strategy is implemented on an actual iron production plant for the purpose of validation. The implemented strategy resulted in a significant demand reduction. The cost savings achieved from the reduction can be used to fund further energy efficiency strategies. The final result would be a more energy efficient system, which will decrease production costs. The lower production costs will return or even increase competitiveness in the global market.
- Engineering