Development of a dynamic centrifugal compressor selector for large compressed air networks in the mining industry
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Various commercial software packages are available for simulating compressed air network operations. However, none of these software packages are able to dynamically prioritise compressor selection on large compressed air networks in the mining industry. In this dissertation, a dynamic compressor selector (DCS) will be developed that will actively and continuously monitor system demand. The software will ensure that the most suitable compressors, based on efficiency and position in the compressed air network, are always in operation. The study will be conducted at a platinum mine. Compressed air flow and pressure requirements will be maintained without compromising mine safety procedures. Significant energy savings will be realised. DCS will receive shaft pressure profiles from each of the shafts’ surface compressed air control valves. These parameters will be used to calculate and predict the compressed air demand. All pipe friction losses and leaks will be taken into account to determine the end-point pressure losses at different flow rates. DCS will then prioritise the compressors of the compressed air network based on the overall system requirement. This software combines the benefits of supply-side and demand-side management. Potential energy savings with DCS were proven and compressor cycling reduced. A DCS user-friendly interface was created to easily set up any mine’s compressed air network.
- Engineering