The value of simulation models for mine DSM projects
Van Niekerk, Willem Frederik
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Energy shortage, escalation of energy cost and climate change have led to an increased focus on energy conservation worldwide. In order to curb the increase in electricity demand, Eskom has introduced demand-side management (DSM) to improve energy efficiency and to shift peak-time load to off-peak periods in order to postpone additional capacity requirements. In the past, several mine DSM projects have been implemented without the use of system simulations as part of the analysis of project planning. Many of these projects are characterised by contractual energy saving targets that have not been met, projects that are delayed, potential energy savings projects that have been overlooked and additional savings that have not realised. This study demonstrates the potential of simulations to plan new and correct implemented DSM solutions. This is done by allowing analysis of energy consumption in complex technical systems and quantification of the savings potential of DSM interventions to inform design changes in order to attain energy savings. In applying simulations to a well-instrumented compressed air system, it was possible to compare the theoretical and measured values for system parameters. The simulation was fine-tuned for low-pressure operation (with the system operating well within design constraints) by incorporating estimated flow losses. By simulating high-pressure operation in which the system operates closer to design limits, the constraints that were experienced, were revealed. This application exemplifies the approach that has been adopted in the case studies to follow. The value of the use of simulation models for mine DSM projects Simulations that have been applied to four case studies demonstrate the use in improving existing DSM projects as well as in planning new DSM projects. Two case studies demonstrate the use of simulations in rectifying problems that have been encountered during the implementation of existing mine DSM projects. Simulations have been employed to propose corrections to these project implementations; this demonstrates significant value for the customer. In two additional case studies, the value of simulation models is demonstrated where simulations have been developed prior to the implementation of DSM projects. It demonstrates that projects can be implemented with less effort, in a shorter time span and at a reduced cost (both capital and man-hours) by using simulations in the planning phases of DSM projects.
- Engineering