The conceptual design of an integrated energy efficient ore reduction plant
Du Toit, Albertus André
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This study explores ways to determine the energy efficiency of a pyrometallurgical ore reduction plant and measures to improve it. The feasibility of building a commercial plant - that is more energy efficient, has a low energy cost, and can operate independently and cost-effectively of external electricity supply - is determined. The need for energy efficiency is expanded to three questions: how should the energy efficiency of the plant be determined, what is the efficiency of the existing plant and to what level it can be improved. Literature and other relevant sources were consulted. Twenty potential energy conservation measures were identified through a literature study. A multi-criteria decision-making approach resulted in the selection of ten measures for conceptual implementation. The measures ranged from high-efficiency motors, solar power, heat recovery with thermal oil and various heat engines, to pressure recovery with turbo-generators. A case study approach was followed with the energy efficiency of an existing prototype plant the subject being studied. The energy usage of the existing plant and feasible measures to improve the performance were empirically observed. The impact of these measures was modelled and the results of the conceptual implementation determined. Two measures that were implemented during the study are also described and the results reported. The study found that the energy efficiency of the plant could be determined by the ratio of product exergy to input energy. By incorporating a number of energy conservation measures conceptually the internal efficiency of the prototype plant was conceptually improved from the current 17% to 22% and as a result externally supplied electricity reduced by 47%. The results were extrapolated to a future commercial plant and energy efficiencies of 26% on-grid and 21% off-grid predicted. This study suggests that a significant improvement in energy efficiency and energy cost can be achieved by integrating appropriate energy conservation measures into the existing and future plants.
- Engineering