Steel producer Arcelor-Mittal South Africa (AMSA) reports that it has experienced significant energy savings to the value of R176-million after managing the energy use at its Western Cape Saldanha Works plant with the help of the National Cleaner Production Centre of South Africa (NCPC-SA).
By challenging and changing some of the standard operational practices at the plant, the com- pany has seen its energy being used more efficiently.
The introduction and implementation of these interventions – which included a reduction in the use of fans and pumps, maintaining the temperature of the water cooling system, preventing the unnecessary use of burners and reducing the consumption of liquid petroleum gas – required an investment of R500 000, but led to gross financial savings of more than R89.6-million within the first year (2011).
It is estimated that the savings realised will account for R362-million by 2016.
Saldanha Works was also recently praised by donor partners of the Industrial Energy Efficiency Improvement Project (IEE Project) for the significant energy efficiency improvements that it has achieved through its participation in the project.
The IEE Project, implemented jointly with the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (Unido), capacitates professionals at various levels of expertise and experience with the skills to implement energy-management systems and achieve energy-systems optimisation in a variety of industrial systems used in manufacturing, mining and other industries.
The IEE Project was initiated in South Africa after rolling blackouts in 2008 exposed the country’s acute shortage of electricity. It is a collaboration between the Department of Energy, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), the Swiss Secretariat for Economic Affairs and the UK Department for International Development, and is implemented by the Unido and the NCPC-SA.
DTI green industries chief director Gerhard Fourie says the project is important in light of the rapid increases in the cost of energy over the past years and the pressure on the South African economy to reduce its carbon footprint.
“The interventions to reduce the energy requirement on the power grid makes this industry more competitive, and makes a massive contribution to the reduction in our greenhouse-gas emissions.”
Further, Fourie notes these large industries play a major part in the economy and that South Africa needs to create a structural change over time, which will see a lot more manufacturing taking place along with beneficiation. “It is important that big industries remain competitive and sustainable,” he notes.
NCPC-SA senior project manager in the Western Cape Alf Hartzenburg emphasises the importance of having top management on board during such initiatives. “An energy project starts with the commitment from the top and filters down, as resources in terms of time and funding are needed. If that is absent, it is a waste of time.”
“In ArcelorMittal, we were fortunate enough to have the commitment of Saldanha Works GM Dhesan Moodley. He had the foresight to support this initiative and that enabled us to ultimately unlock the opportunities,” says Hartzenburg.
AMSA is the single biggest success story of the IEE Project since its inception in 2010. To date, participating companies have realised energy savings of over 270 MWh, which trans- lates into a cost saving of R229-million and carbon emis sion reductions of almost 255 000 t of carbon dioxide.
In addition, more than 2 000 professionals have been equipped to implement energy efficiency measures in the industry through the IEE Project and the NCPC-SA capacity building programme.
The NCPC-SA has been hosted by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research for the past ten years on behalf of the DTI. Through the IEE Project, it has facilitated the implementation of energy-management systems and energy-systems optimisation in several large and small companies in energy-intensive sectors such as the metal and automotive industries.