Since 2010, resource efficiency institute the National Cleaner Production Centre of South Africa’s (NCPC-SA’s) expert-level industrial energy efficiency courses have produced 78 graduates, says NCPC-SA marketing and communications manager Julie Wells.
The courses provide trainees with the opportunity to learn and implement methods of energy efficiency at industrial level.
She tells Engineering News that NCPC-SA is working on registering the expert-level course as nationally recognised qualifications.
In addition to the in-class and practical training at one of the programme’s host plants, trainees are required to implement their own energy efficiency project at an industry plant. Wells reports that the NCPC-SA has signed up 80 participating companies over the past five years that have collectively saved 866 GWh of energy, most of which is a direct result of trainees implementing their efficiency projects.
The course, which is facilitated in partnership with the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (Unido), spans 6 to 12 months.
“The training was originally carried out by the best energy efficiency experts from around the world,” says Wells, adding that a large component of the trainees are engineers. A significant number of the trainees are also consultants, which the NCPC-SA values because of the broad scope of consultants’ influence.
“An important legacy of the Industrial Energy Efficiency (IEE) Project training is that some of the local experts have been developed as trainers and there is now no need to bring in international course facilitators,” says Wells.
Meanwhile, NCPC-SA project manager Faith Mkhachwa says that, while the energy efficiency course has no specific qualification prerequisites, prior knowledge and understanding of industrial components are necessary, as the trainees need to become accustomed to managing the energy efficiency of these components.
She adds that the NCPC-SA also runs a two-day advanced-level training course, which trainees have to attend before they can apply for the expert-level course.
About 2 500 trainees have to date attended the two-day energy management courses, the content of which entails energy management systems or energy systems optimisation in steam, com- pressed air, fan, pump and motor systems.
These training courses, which help develop the national skills base in energy efficiency, are one of four components that comprise the IEE Project run by NCPC-SA in partnership with Unido, states Wells.
Besides the training courses, the second component of NCPC-SA’s IEE Project is assisting the South African Bureau of Standards and the South African National Accreditation System in establishing the ISO 50001 standard in South Africa by training the country’s first lead auditors qualified in ISO 50001.
ISO 50001 is a performance-orientated standard which, to be met, requires a measur- able reduction in energy consumption. Mkhachwa says companies must be recertified biennially, which promotes a constant drive to improve performance and allows for improvement.
The standard is flexible because not all parts of a plant need to meet ISO 50001 require- ments and, therefore, certain areas of a plant can be chosen to meet the standards.
In addition to promoting energy saving, ISO 50001 enhances competitiveness by gaining the trust of potential international clients and pre-emptively meeting possible future requirements of original-equipment manufacturers.
The IEE Project’s energy management systems training course is aligned to the ISO 50001 standards, which means that the IEE Project is constantly training professionals to operate according to these standards.
The third component of the IEE Project provides assistance in the policy environment so that industrial policies are conducive to energy efficiency.
The IEE Project and Unido played a significant role in the drafting of government’s revised Energy Efficiency Strategy in 2011, states Wells.
The fourth component demonstrates the impact of energy efficiency projects through the implementation of what NCPC-SA promotes and teaches, as well as developing case studies, says Wells.
For example, the IEE Project has drafted case studies reporting on its successful implementation of energy efficiency systems for global steel producer ArcelorMittal, where it achieved almost R200-million in savings in three years, and automotive manufacturer Toyota, which to date has achieved about R25-million in savings over four years.
In addition, the IEE Project has worked with King Shaka International Airport, in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, and components manufacturer Johnson Matthey South Africa. The manufacturer agreed to be a demonstration plant and saved more than R7-million in energy over nine months.
Wells points out that Unido has used the South African IEE Project model as an energy efficiency pilot programme in Thailand, Russia, Ecuador and the Philippines. She adds that the model is specifically designed for developing nations through its external sourcing of both funding and experts.