Reconfiguring mining compressed air networks for cost savings
Van der Zee, L.F.
Van Rensburg, J.F.
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The ever-growing human population, limited energy resources and the effect of greenhouse gas emissions have become major global concerns for the energy sector. This includes the electricity generation sector. This dilemma has caused electricity providers to revise their generation methods and created a major need for consumers to utilise electricity more efficiently. Demand Side Management (DSM) is one initiative developed for consumers to efficiently utilise electricity. Due to their high electricity consumption and availability of technical skills, mines are ideal targets for the implementation of DSM strategies. Therefore, the focus of this study was to investigate the possible implementation of DSM strategies on the compressed air networks of South African mines. The compressed air networks at South African mines are relatively old and inadequately maintained. This causes inefficient distribution and use of compressed air. This study will therefore focus on reconfiguring a mining compressed air network for electricity cost savings. Reconfiguring this network would entail interconnecting two shafts with a pipeline in order to distribute compressed air from one shaft to another. This proposed reconfiguring initiative was approved and implemented on a South African mine's compressed air network. The results concluded that electricity cost savings can be achieved by reconfiguring mining compressed air networks