Investigating the effects of different DSM strategies on a compressed air ring
Lodewyckx, Jan Willem
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A large growth in the South African electrical power demand has created a situation where the primary electricity supplier, Eskom, is in dire need of generating additional electricity during peak demand times. The current electricity supply shortfall could mainly be due to a lack of planning from the suppliers' side, as well as an increase in residential and industrial development. Projections show that from as early as 2007, Eskom's current power generating ability would be insufficient for the country's peak electricity demand. Eskom launched a programme called Demand Side Management (DSM). This programme endorses a more electrical efficient society and also focuses on lowering South Africa's peak electricity demand. This programme has opened up many opportunities for companies, called Energy Service Companies or ESCOs, and individuals to help in this regard and also join in on a rewarding business opportunity. To be able to reduce electricity demand, these companies, ESCOs, have different strategies. Some focus on buildings, usually heating, ventilation and air-conditioning, and other on heavy industries. By shifting or reducing electricity loads out of the peak electricity use period of a day, the peak load can be lowered. This reduces the risk of Eskom applying load-shedding as a last resort. Although many opportunities arise, the main focus in this thesis will be on the possible electrical load reduction on gold mines through implementing Demand Side Management (DSM) on their compressed air rings. Most gold mines are making use of compressed air for various applications. These include drilling, agitation, loading boxes, loading and many more. By studying the behaviour of a compressed air system on a gold mine, in particular a compressed air ring, large power saving opportunities occurs. Compressors are large electricity consumers and operate throughout the day. Because of the critical role that compressors play in a mine's production, correct management of these systems are of utmost importance. One must make sure that any proposed optimisation will not contribute to any loss of production at the mine.
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