Cost savings on mine dewatering pumps by reducing preparation– and comeback loads
Using chilled water within South African gold mines is paramount to the purpose of extracting gold ore efficiently. Using water for cooling, drilling and sweeping and the release of underground fissure water causes the accumulation of vast amounts of water in underground dams. Deep mines use cascading pump systems for dewatering, which is an electrical energy intensive dewatering method. Due to the recent equalisation of demand to generation capacity of electrical energy in South Africa, various methods towards demand side reduction have been implemented. With the introduction of a time-of-use (TOU) tariff structure by Eskom, the implementation of projects that shift load from peak TOU times to times of the day when electrical energy is less expensive has increased. To enable load shifting on mine dewatering pumps, preparation before and recovery after peak TOU is needed for effective results. This induces a preparation- and comeback load in the standard TOU. With an annual increase in TOU tariffs and the rate of increase of standard TOU being greater than that of the peak TOU, a reduction in electrical energy consumption before and after peak TOU is needed. To enable this, a step-by-step control technique was developed to promote the shifting of load from standard- to off-peak TOU, while still realising a full load shift from peak TOU. This technique entails dynamic control ranges of underground dam levels as opposed to the conventional constant control range method. Two case studies were used to test the developed technique. Results indicated significant additional financial savings when compared to conventional control methods. Additional savings of R1,096,056.65 and R579,394.27 per annum were respectively achieved for both case studies.
- Engineering