Converting an ice storage facility to a chilled water system for energy efficiency on a deep level gold mine
Uys, Dirk Cornelius
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The South African gold mining sector consumes 47% of the mining industry’s electricity. On a deep level gold mine, 20% of the energy is consumed by the refrigeration system. The refrigeration system cools 67 ˚C virgin rock temperatures underground. Underground cooling demand increases significantly with deeper mining activities. Various cooling systems are available for underground cooling. This study focuses on the electricity usage of an ice storage system versus a chilled water system for underground cooling. An energy-savings approach was developed to determine possible power savings on the surface refrigeration system of Mine M. The savings approach involved converting an ice storage system to a chilled water system and varying the water flow through the system. The water flow was varied by installing variable speed drives on the evaporator and condenser water pumps. The feasibility of the energy-efficiency approach was simulated with a verified simulation model. Simulation results indicated the feasibility of converting the thermal ice storage to a chilled water system and implementing the energy-efficiency approach on Mine M. Simulated results indicated a 9% electricity saving when using a chilled water system. Various problems encountered by the mine were also a motivation to convert the thermal ice storage system. Converting an ice storage facility to a chilled water system for energy efficiency on a deep level gold mine Energy management is achieved through the monitoring, controlling and reporting of the implemented savings approach. Converting the glycol plant and recommissioning the chilled water plant gave the mine an additional chiller as backup to sufficiently meet underground demand. An annual summer power saving of 1.5 MW was achieved through the conversion and control strategy. It is concluded that conversion of the thermal ice storage system on Mine M results in an energy- and cost saving.
- Engineering