Tag Archives: Howden

Howden boosts Ventsim CONTROL functionality with ‘cooling on demand’

Howden is continuing to expand its flagship Ventsim CONTROL software, with the latest update to the ventilation control platform set to bring an ‘on demand’ element to mine ventilation cooling.

An upgrade from Ventsim DESIGN, Ventsim CONTROL uses intelligent software connected to Howden or third-party hardware devices to remotely monitor, control and automate airflow heating and cooling to deliver safer, more productive, and lower cost ventilation for mines, the company says.

Hugo Dello Sbarba, Director of Ventsim and Sales Mining, says the addition of a ‘cooling on demand’ module to Ventsim CONTROL coincides with an industry move to install more mine cooling plants to achieve higher standards of health and safety for workers. Howden has seen this trend up close and personal, having recently successfully delivered the first phase of an 8 MW surface bulk air mine cooling plant for Roxgold’s Yaramoko gold mine in Burkina Faso.

“We chose now to introduce cooling on demand to Ventsim CONTROL partially because more mines are getting deeper, require cooled air and are adopting higher standards in advance of incoming regulations,” he told IM. “This reflects a wider industry move towards more sustainable operations.”

There was also a push from existing Ventsim CONTROL customers for such cooling functionality, according to Dello Sbarba, with these clients realising the benefits that could come with controlling the process from the underground readings, assessing where cooling was most needed.

“While the actual capital cost associated with the cooling plant installation is unlikely to change – given these plants should be sized by engineers on a worse-case scenario basis – you should definitely see significant improvements in terms of the operating and energy cost of the plants,” he said.

This economic benefit is complemented by the health and safety advantages already mentioned.

“At the moment, miners tend to put a chilling plant on surface and just cool the air regardless of where it is destined to go,” Dello Sbarba said. “This process doesn’t consider the fact that the only reason you are cooling air on surface is for the deeper levels of the mine that experience particularly high temperatures.

“You currently don’t have intelligent control of this cooled air across the underground mine.”

With Howden’s cooling on demand module within Ventsim CONTROL, users can monitor if they are obtaining the required temperatures at these deeper levels, making sure the cooled air is pushed to where it needs to go.

Aside from a subscription to Ventsim CONTROL with at least Level 3 and 5 functionality – providing required set points for airflow, gas levels, and/or temperature – and the right-sized ventilation fans, users only require temperature and humidity sensors underground to carry out such control.

“Even though you need many of these monitors, they are relatively cheap with many hardware solutions available on the market,” Dello Sbarba said.

Equipped with these elements, users can assign certain temperature/humidity setpoints in areas of high activity, plug these setpoints into Ventsim CONTROL and allow the software to ‘communicate’ with the cooling plant and fans to automatically cool these areas to the required temperature. An advanced Level 5 installation of Ventsim CONTROL allows users to automatically optimise underground fan and regulator settings and adjusting main fan settings to maintain required cooling levels while maximising energy savings.

He concluded: “The reason it is advantageous to perform cooling on demand with Ventsim CONTROL over other solutions is the 3D modelling capabilities within the software. The model helps you predict and better control your air flows based on what you are seeing in the simulation.

“It has an edge over any other custom-made ventilation engineering solution on the market.”

The new cooling on demand functionality is now in the final throes of testing in a factory setting, with a mine site trial being lined up for later in the year.

Howden to supply hydrogen compressor solutions for Nel’s electrolysers

Global provider of air and gas handling products, technologies and services, Howden, has signed a framework agreement with Nel Hydrogen Electrolyser, a division of Nel ASA, to supply hydrogen compressor solutions for its electrolysers.

The reliability, efficiency and safety delivered by Howden’s compression solution matches Nel’s electrolysers’ requirements, relative to hydrogen production, and is an important step towards achieving Nel’s cost target of green hydrogen production at $1.5/kg, Howden said. The two companies will work closely together to develop cost competitive hydrogen compressor systems for Nel’s electrolysers.

Ross Shuster, Howden CEO, said: “We are delighted to enter into this agreement with Nel as it illustrates achievements already made in integrating Howden’s hydrogen compression solution with Nel’s electrolysers to lower the life-cycle cost of production and accelerate the adoption of hydrogen as a zero-carbon fuel.”

Howden says it has extensive capabilities in developing and delivering state-of-art hydrogen compression solutions. In fact, it was recently selected by SSAB, LKAB and Vattenfall to deliver a hydrogen storage compression solution for HYBRIT, the world’s first fossil-free steel plant, in Svartöberget, Sweden.

Jon André Løkke, Nel CEO, said: “We are pleased to enter into this framework agreement with Howden, which ties into the ambitions we announced at our Capital Markets Day and reiterated in our Q1 (March quarter) 2021 report around forming strategic partnerships. Working with Howden allows us to optimise our offerings towards existing and future customers.”

Howden to deliver hydrogen storage compression solution for HYBRIT

Howden says it has been selected to deliver a hydrogen storage compression solution for HYBRIT, the world’s first fossil-free steel plant, in Svartöberget, Sweden.

A joint project between Sweden’s SSAB, LKAB and Vattenfall, HYBRIT is the deployment of a unique pilot project for large-scale hydrogen storage. This initiative leads the development of the world’s first fossil-free value chain for the iron and steel industry, to address renewable hydrogen storage.

Howden has been contracted to supply a high-pressure diaphragm compression package to seamlessly integrate the storage cycle of the hydrogen production. The hydrogen compression includes installation and commissioning of a packaged three stage diaphragm compressor.

The storage facility consists of a 100 cu.m hydrogen storage built in an enclosed rock cavern approximately 30 m below ground. This offers a cost-effective solution, with the necessary pressure required, to store large amounts of energy in the form of hydrogen, Howden said.

The reliability, efficiency and safety delivered by Howden’s compression solution matches with the large-scale hydrogen storage requirements, relative to the storage conditions and the evaluation of the amount of time during which the compression pressure remains at the desired level, it added.

HYBRIT supports the European Union’s Hydrogen Strategy and its ambition to install at least 6 GW of renewable hydrogen electrolysers in the EU by 2024 and at least 40 GW by 2030.

Salah Mahdy, Global Director – Hydrogen at Howden, said: “Our partnership with HYBRIT demonstrates Howden’s capabilities in developing and delivering state-of-art hydrogen compressor solutions, based on our long-standing compression expertise. We have over 100 years of experience in the compression of hydrogen, which is ideally placed to support the transition to a fossil-free energy system.

“We’re thrilled to be working on this ground-breaking project, which has the potential to reduce Sweden’s total carbon dioxide emissions by at least 10%. The steel industry currently accounts for about 7% of the world’s global carbon emissions, so the creation of a zero-emission steel is revolutionary, and may, in the future, help to reduce emissions from iron and steel production worldwide.”

Mikael Nordlander, Head of R&D Portfolio Industry Decarbonisation, Vattenfall, adds: “Fossil-free hydrogen is central to the HYBRIT process. Hydrogen can be produced cost-effectively through the electrolysis of water using fossil-free electricity. The hydrogen produced by the electrolysers can be used immediately or stored for later use. One of the key aspects of our storage facility relies on the hydrogen compression to be deployed in a contamination-free manner. Based on their proven technology, expertise and references, we are delighted to cooperate with Howden on the integration of a reliable compression solution for storage.”

Howden says it is focused on helping customers increase the efficiency and effectiveness of their air and gas handling processes enabling them to make sustainable improvements in their environmental impact. It designs, manufactures and supplies products, solutions and services to customers around the world across highly diversified end-markets and geographies.

Howden delivers mine cooling plant at Roxgold’s Yaramoko mine

Howden says it has successfully delivered the first phase of an 8 MW surface bulk air cooling plant for Roxgold’s Yaramoko gold mine in Burkina Faso.

The Yaramoko Mine Complex is in a remote region of Burkina Faso, 200 km southwest of Ouagadougou.

The cooling plant is designed to deliver a maximum of 190 cu.m/s of chilled downcast ventilation air, with the air cooled from a design ambient temperature of 25.8°C, down to 15°C.

The plant comprises an open-spray vertical bulk air cooler located on top of the shaft collar, centrifugal chillers and conventional cooling towers, Howden explained.

Plant design and construction were started at the beginning of 2020 during the early onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, and, despite a challenging environment, Howden successfully delivered the project’s first phase in May.

Howden said: “This latest project continues to positioning Howden as a process and system specialist to design, supply and install mine cooling systems. Howden has a technology-neutral approach whereby technology options are offered which best suits customer’s technical and commercial requirements.”

The Yaramoko Mine Complex, which consists of two underground operations, delivered production of 35,308 oz of gold in the March quarter, Roxgold reported in May.

Howden boosts mine ventilation offering with VortexOHS occupational hygiene collaboration

Howden has signed a new partnership with VortexOHS™, a modular ventilation and occupational hygiene data collection and management system.

This partnership, Howden says, further strengthens the ventilation expert’s commitment to mine ventilation solutions for the health and safety of customers worldwide.

Howden’s Ventsim Design and Ventsim Control products help ensure mines can efficiently design and provide airflow, heating and cooling to underground environments offering a safe atmosphere for workers. At the same time, VortexOHS further improves safety by assisting ventilation and occupational hygiene professionals to collect, manage and report data and information from their occupational health and safety (OH&S) sampling programs.

The partnership is a perfect fit for Howden’s mission to offer new safety solutions and achieve excellence in mine ventilation design, monitoring, and control, the company said.

Howden’s Hugo Dello Sbarba said: “Ventsim accurately models, designs, controls, evaluates, and optimises underground mine ventilation systems. Expanding Ventsim capabilities to incorporate VortexOHS’ innovative solutions provides a powerful tool for mine operators to improve safety and ensure compliance with regulations.”

VortexOHS’ Shane Ambrosio said: “I have enjoyed assisting mines in improving the efficiency and speed of their OH&S system and reporting. We are looking to continue building the existing VortexOHS success, thanks to the collaboration with Howden and the Ventsim suite of products integration.”

Howden causes a fanfare with launch of Jetsteam AX

Howden is looking to re-enter the Australian secondary ventilation market with a bang, coming out with a new product that offers the energy efficiency, durability and smarts to help ‘future proof’ underground mines.

Its Jetstream AX secondary fans were launched across the globe this month, with service centres on the east and west coast of Australia having already received units.

Phil Durham, Global Mining Applications Engineer, said the Jetstream AX secondary fan is the missing piece to complete the full Howden ventilation puzzle.

“Howden, in the past, was heavily involved in the secondary market in Australia, but some years after exiting this space, the new Jetstream AX is filling the gap in our lineup, helping complete our total mine ventilation solution approach,” he told IM. “Howden has the Ventsim™ DESIGN software, the Ventsim CONTROL ventilation on demand software, plus all the required equipment including a comprehensive primary fan offering, mine cooling options and mine heating options.

“A global secondary fan was needed to complete the set, meaning we can now be considered a one-stop shop for miners wanting to go down the full Howden route for ventilation.”

While the Jetsteam AX will be available in all markets – bar USA where Howden already has a secondary fan offering – Howden sees it being particularly relevant for the Australian market where evolving diesel particulate emission regulations are making effective ventilation operations a must.

“These regulations will definitely affect how those mines manage, monitor and control their ventilation network,” Durham said. “The smart move would be to use their secondary fans more efficiently in terms of how and where they are locating them, which ones are operating and tightening up on where the working areas, vehicles and personnel are.

“In this respect, the Australia region is a key one in terms of the secondary fan product rollout.”

Just some of the attributes the region’s miners could benefit from, according to Howden, include:

  • The highest fan output at low power consumption, providing high efficiencies across a broad operating range;
  • A range of fans from 762-1,600 mm in diameter, with flow rates from 6.5-108 cu.m/sec;
  • Single-stage or twin-stage configuration;
  • A flexible modular design providing commonality of parts;
  • Adjustable pitch aerofoil blades to maximise operational envelope and provide reliable high-efficiency aerodynamic performance across a wide range;
  • An anti-stall chamber for continued safe operation during transient high-pressure events, offering a “risk-free process” in parallel fan arrangements; and
  • Downstream guide vanes with full inner fairing tube and tail cone in each fan to ensure maximum static pressure regain.

Durham expanded on some of these.

“That main inner fairing tube serves a couple of purposes, with one of the main ones being a reduction in shock losses,” he said. “That same design helps from a maintenance perspective, too, providing protection for the motor. In other ventilation fan designs, the motors are exposed to the dusty mine air. The inner tube provides a good level of protection, without being a totally sealed environment. Some air gets through for motor cooling purposes, but it is much less than your typical exposed fan.”

The option of a dual-speed fan could also be important for gaining sales in Australia given there are limited variable speed drive options in this market than others, according to Durham.

“In Australia, specifically, variable speed control is not a very common option due to the required 1,000 V supply,” he said. “Currently there are no proven reliable variable speed drives at such voltages.”

This dual-speed fan offering provides the mines with high and low speed settings – with high typically employed to, for example, clear blasting gases and low employed when a vehicle leaves the airway, and the ventilation demand reduces.

To get the best out of dual-speed fans, mines will most likely require remote access to easily switch from one setting to the next, according to Durham.

Miners that understand the benefits of using dual-speed fans – reducing energy consumption and costs – will also, most likely, be potential customers for Howden’s ventilation on demand and smart ventilation solutions, namely Ventsim CONTROL.

“We are definitely seeing an increase with the number of mines looking to adopt these new technologies and smarter ventilation control methods,” Durham said. “As they are moving towards digitalisation and automation of mining methods, ventilation is also coming into that equation. This is especially so when you consider that the energy cost coming from ventilation and cooling can be around 50% of the mine’s total expense.”

The use of effective secondary fans is part of that exercise, according to Durham, who said efficiencies of over 85% are possible with these units when used optimally.

“Although the primary fans are generally a much higher kilowatt rating, these mines usually have quite a number of secondary fans in operation,” he said. “Being able to use them in a smarter way on a day-to-day basis means they will be able to make some large savings there.”

Howden’s Eleonore ventilation on demand solution wins award

Newmont Goldcorp’s Eleonore gold mine was recently awarded the “Eureka Prize” from Écotech Québec, for a ventilation on demand solution that reflects the Quebec mine’s strive towards leveraging clean technologies.

Nearly 250 stakeholders in the cleantech ecosystem were present at the event.

Éléonore produced some 360,000 oz of gold in 2018 from the underground Roberto deposit. Ore is mined from four horizons using sill and stope techniques, then processed onsite using a conventional circuit that includes crushing, grinding, gravity, flotation and cyanidation.

The award received was for the Ventilation on Demand (VOD) system from Howden VentSimTM CONTROL implemented in the Newmont Goldcorp – Eleonore mine. The benefits of this solution are the energy efficiency and air treatment, according to Howden.

“Newmont Goldcorp – Eleonore is proud to recognise the teamwork that has enabled a project such as VOD to continually improve our energy efficiency performance, while maintaining the health and safety of our workers,” Sophie Bergeron, Executive Director Newmont Goldcorp – Eleonore, says.

To date, there has been a 43% reduction in mine heating costs, a drop of 56% in underground ventilation electricity costs and a remarkable 73% decrease in the cost of surface ventilation electricity, as detailed in the full case study, Howden said.

”While these figures are impressive, the full potential savings will grow even greater when the mine reaches full capacity,” Howden added.

KPS Capital to get its hands on mine ventilation specialist Howden

KPS Capital Partners says it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire air and gas handling products and services company Howden for an enterprise value of $1.8 billion.

The company will buy the Scotland-based company from Colfax Corp, it said, paying $1.66 billion in cash and assuming $140 million in “assumed liabilities and minority interest”.

“Based in Glasgow, Scotland, Howden has a 160 year heritage as a world-class application engineering and manufacturing company with a presence in 32 countries,” KPS said. It manufactures fans, compressors, heat exchangers, steam turbines, and other air and gas handling equipment, and provides service and support to customers around the world. The company has over 5,300 employees, including over 650 engineers and 22 manufacturing facilities in 12 countries.

Raquel Palmer, Co-Managing Partner of KPS, said: “We are thrilled to have the opportunity to own and support Howden as the company continues its path of transformation and growth. Howden is a formidable company that benefits from many positive secular trends, including increasingly greater environmental standards, the need for energy conservation and the trend toward urbanisation, especially in developing economies.”

Last year, Howden added both Advanced Combustion Inc and Advanced Fan Systems to its expanding mine ventilation offering.

At the time, the company said: “This acquisition is a further continuation of Howden’s total mine ventilation solutions strategy to provide the global mining industry with a portfolio of best-in-class products, controls and services that gives customers the most efficient solution to their ventilation needs.”

This followed the purchase of Chasm Consulting and its Ventsim software (pictured), in 2017, which provided Howden with a full suite of solutions for mine ventilation, from modelling and design software to full turnkey projects including main and auxiliary fans, instrumentation, automation and Ventilation on Demand, via the Simsmart product line.

Palmer said KPS intends to capitalise on the company’s “many attractive” growth opportunities, including strategic acquisitions, and to support its investment in research and development, technology and new product development.

Ian Brander, Chief Executive Officer of Howden, said: “We are excited about our future as an independent company under KPS’ ownership. KPS is an ideal partner, given its demonstrated track record of recognising and growing world-class industrial companies. KPS’ commitment to continuous improvement, its global network, access to capital and significant resources will enable us to continue to grow our business and provide our customers with market-leading products and solutions.”

Completion of the transaction is expected in the second half of 2019 and is subject to customary closing conditions and approvals.

Howden bolsters mine ventilation line with ACI and AFS acquisitions

Global engineering business Howden has acquired both Advanced Combustion Inc (ACI) and Advanced Fan Systems as it looks to expand its mine ventilation offering.

ACI, located in Toronto, is the leading designer, manufacturer and installer of mine air heating equipment for the mining industry, according to Howden. Advanced Fan Systems, meanwhile, manufactures a line of fans for a wide range of ventilation applications.

“This acquisition is a further continuation of Howden’s total mine ventilation solutions strategy to provide the global mining industry with a portfolio of best-in-class products, controls and services that gives customers the most efficient solution to their ventilation needs,” the company said.

Howden’s business spans mine ventilation and waste water treatment to heating and cooling. Just last year, the company acquired Chasm Consulting and its Ventsim software, providing Howden with a full suite of solutions for mine ventilation, from modelling and design software to full turnkey projects including main and auxiliary fans, instrumentation, automation and Ventilation on Demand, via the Simsmart product line.