Framework for operational changes to reduce electricity costs in the South African steel industry
Breytenbach, Wynand Johannes Jacobus
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The study focuses on opportunities that involve operational changes on steelmaking plants. Many operational changes can be implemented with little to no capex. The impact of these changes can also result in quick benefits. An operational framework for electricity cost reduction is developed and implemented as part of this study. An identification model is developed to identify projects that can aid in cost saving through reduced capex and operational changes. The study also focuses on prioritising initiatives. This adds to the efficiency of the steelmaking process. The study also develops an implementation method for electricity cost reduction initiatives. This framework is developed in such a way that it can form part of a larger energy management strategy. In the present steelmaking environment, ISO 50001 is an integral part of energy reporting and compliance. The framework developed in this study follows the plan-do-check-act cycle as part of ISO 50001 compliance. After implementing the framework on the two case study plants, a total of R10 050 000 per annum worth of possible savings is projected. One operational change is sustainably implemented and an annual electricity cost saving of R9 million is achieved. If similar operational changes are implemented on more facilities, the electricity cost savings can increase even more. Together with the electricity cost reduction, there is also a reduction in carbon emissions.