Tag Archives: Power generation

Zest WEG helps South Africa platinum miner power up

Zest WEG, looking to accommodate the space constraints of a South African platinum mining customer, is constructing a large diesel powered generator set to be delivered later this year.

The capacity of the 2,500 kVA genset will make it the largest unit yet to be fully load-tested at the company’s genset manufacturing facility in Cape Town, South Africa, according to Craig Bouwer, Projects and Product Manager at Zest WEG.

“In addition to functional testing, we will be equipping ourselves to conduct load testing to 11 kV on this unit,” Bouwer says. “With load-banks in-house, we will be stepping the voltage down to 400 V during the testing, and drawing on MV specialists to ensure a safe and reliable process.”

The genset is a highly technical solution to match the customer’s specific needs, he says. Based on the available space, it is housed within a 12 m ISO shipping container with the electrically-driven radiator mounted on the roof.

Prime-rated at 11 kV and powered by an MTU diesel engine, the genset has been designed in close consultation with the customer over a number of months. Having concluded the engineering design, construction is currently underway in Cape Town.

Bouwer highlighted the detailed and time consuming nature of engineering design for a project of this magnitude and complexity: “Stringent technical requirements demanded lengthy and ongoing collaboration not only with the customer, but between our engineering team and production operations,” he said. “The customer was particularly pleased with our flexibility and the extra effort we applied to ensure the optimal technical returnables for the project.”

As one of the few South Africa-based original equipment manufacturers capable of undertaking a customised genset of this capacity in-house, Zest WEG will also be supplying the control and protection panel from its range of electrical equipment and products.

“To enhance safety and ergonomics, the control panel is in its own compartment within the ISO container,” Bouwer says. “A 1,000 litre bunded day tank has also been installed inside a separate compartment within the container, including a fuel cooler and filtration system.”

The COVID-19 lockdown has had minimal impact on the work schedule, he noted, as planning and communication with the customer could continue regardless, dealing with various technical clarifications. To facilitate the transportation of this large unit to site, it will be shipped as three separate components: the genset, radiator and exhaust system. Once installation is complete – a process that Zest WEG specialists will supervise – its experts will conduct the cold and hot commissioning, and hand over to the customer.

Babylon wins year-long extension at BHP Mining Area C

Babylon Pump & Power Limited says it has secured an extension of an existing power generation contract with BHP’s iron ore division in Western Australia.

The extension is tied to a contract the Australia-listed firm secured back in July 2018 through ADENCO Water Management & Civil Engineering. This saw Babylon supply, install and maintain power generation equipment for the Surplus Water Pipeline project at BHP’s Mining Area C project in Western Australia.

Babylon says it has since supplied and installed this equipment on site and will continue to maintain it for the project.

BHP is in the process of extending its Mining Area C through the development of the South Flank iron ore project, which is due to start up in 2021. It will be one of the largest iron ore processing hubs in the world, with an 80 Mt/y crushing and screening plant, an overland conveyor system and rail-loading facilities.

Babylon’s extension contract will run for a term of 52 weeks and is expected to contribute circa-A$1.1 million ($663,893) over that period, the company said.

Babylon expands equipment and service offering to BHP Nickel West

Babylon Pump & Power says it has secured a new power generation and dewatering contract with BHP’s Nickel West division, in Western Australia.

The ASX-listed company has provided dewatering services for BHP since October 2018 and this contract expands on the equipment and services to be provided while securing the existing business for a further three‐year term – from February 1, 2020 to January 31, 2023 – it said.

Last year, Babylon Pump & Power established a rental service base on the East Coast of Australia with the completion of its acquisition of Primepower Queensland. This made it one of the largest independent and diversified engine re-builders in Australia, it said.

Caterpillar, Barloworld to talk up mining equipment and power solutions at Indaba

Caterpillar and its southern Africa dealer, Barloworld Equipment, are set to present a broad range of machines, technology and support services at next week’s Mining Indaba, in Cape Town, South Africa.

The Caterpillar exhibit at Indaba, running from February 3-6, will feature digital displays of electric power generation systems, surface and underground mining equipment, and Cat MineStar™ technology capabilities – ranging from vehicle safety systems, such as operator fatigue monitoring, to production systems using teleremote, semi-autonomous and autonomous machine operation.

Caterpillar has recently introduced several new underground hard-rock mining vehicles in Africa. The new R1700 underground LHD brings the latest technology for semi-autonomous and fully autonomous operation to the region. The loader also delivers more than 30% greater fuel efficiency, 65% more lift and tilt force, and 15 t capacity – 20% more than its predecessor, yet in the same dimensional envelope, according to Cat.

Using MineStar Command for underground, the new R1700 (pictured) can be operated from a remote location to keep miners away from potential hazards, Cat says. “The system also boosts utilisation by allowing immediate entry after blasting and by reducing shift change time to nearly zero.”

In addition to the R1700, Caterpillar has introduced several LHDs and underground trucks equipped with EU Stage V engines and emission controls. “Reducing emissions helps miners improve the underground working environment,” it said. On top of this, and with the goal of zero underground emissions in mind, Caterpillar is continuing to develop the battery-powered R1700 XE.

Erik Elsmark, Region Manager for the Caterpillar Underground Mining Division, said: “Caterpillar and Cat dealers are supporting the whole African continent and all types of underground mining applications – big and small mines and all minerals.

“In the past several months we have delivered machines covering our full product range, demonstrating that we are well positioned to meet our customers’ needs.

“Starting with our AD22 underground articulated truck to our R2900 LHD, our equipment delivers exactly the size class and power needed for the application. With distribution centres in Southern Africa and Middle East and our dealer network in all countries of the African continent, we are able to achieve world-class service.”

The extensive line of Cat surface mining machines and technologies will also be a talking point at the event.

Caterpillar has recently expanded its line of electric drive mining trucks in the past year to include the 794 AC, 796 AC and 798 AC. Recently, a South Africa mining operation took delivery of several 794 AC trucks (pictured above), which have 291 t capacity, the company said. “This model has already proven its high productivity and superior speed on grade in a wide variety of applications,” Cat remarked.

In the Cat drill line, the latest model is the MD6200 rotary blasthole drill, designed as a production drill with the flexibility to do pre-split drilling – all in a package that Caterpillar says is its most transportable rotary drill yet. The MD6200 is designed to perform rotary or DTH drilling in single-pass or multi-pass modes and can drill holes of 127 to 200 mm in diameter, according to Cat.

Cat MineStar Command now includes systems for autonomous operation of mining trucks, semi-autonomous operation of dozers, and semi-autonomous as well as autonomous rotary drills. These systems enhance safety, boost production and lower cost per tonne, Cat says.

Mine power experts will also be on call at the show, with the representatives keen to talk about the ability for Cat generators to deliver reliable, continuous power, temporary power, or a combined heat and power solution. “The Cat team customises and installs systems for every phase of mining,” it said.

Caterpillar says it offers the industry’s widest range of diesel, gas and dual fuel generator sets; automatic transfer switches, and switchgear for seamless integration. Additionally, it offers microgrids, fully-integrated power systems that utilise solar panels, energy storage and monitoring and control systems in conjunction with any configuration of Cat gen sets.

Cummins HSK78G gas generator gets a runout at Blackham’s Matilda-Wiluna gold mine

Blackham Resources has enlisted the help of Cummins and its new HSK78G gas generator to power up production at the Matilda-Wiluna gold operations in Western Australia, according to the engine manufacturer.

Blackham’s power supplier, Perth-based Contract Power Group, selected the newly launched Cummins HSK78G generator to supply prime power for the next stage of expansion at the mine. The new gas-powered generator will provide up to 20% of the mine’s power as the company strives to increase its production.

Located 500 m above sea level, Matilda-Wiluna is subject to extreme temperatures, ranging from -2° C to 50° C throughout the year. Considering these conditions, the HSK78G’s capability to deliver power in remote areas and extreme climates – generating up to 1,800 kWe in ambient temperatures of 55°C – was a crucial requirement behind the choice to select the generator, Cummins said.

With a power density of 2 MW from the new Cummins 78-litre, V12 gas engine, the HSK78G provides high electrical efficiency up to 44.2% on a wide range of pipeline natural gas down to 70 methane number (MN) without impacting power and efficiency output, according to the company.

Craig Wilkins, Director of Cummins Prime Power Segment and Global Sales Support, said: “It’s an exciting time in the power solutions sector and we’re delighted to deliver the latest innovations in gas generator technology to Blackham Resources. The company operates on a massive scale and required a sizeable dependable power generation solution to operate in difficult conditions. Cummins’ HSK78G offered the required performance levels as well as one of the industry’s longest major overhaul service cycles of 80,000 hours.”

Marc Grosser, General Manager of Contract Power Group, said: “We are happy with the performance of the unit so far and the associability of maintenance items. It’s a compact unit and very well designed. Cummins have ensured there is fast service and support when called upon, despite our extremely remote location.”

Blackham expects to produce 70,000-80,000 oz of gold in its 2020 financial year and aims to progress its Sulphide Expansion project to unlock the large sulphide reserves and resources it has delineated at Wiluna.

Wärtsilä provides more engine technology applications with Modular Block

Wärtsilä says its newly launched Modular Block is a reliable and efficient solution for sustainable power generation, with fast delivery and installation.

The power plant solution is a pre-fabricated, modularly configured, and expandable enclosure for Wärtsilä medium-speed 34SG gas engine generators. Aside from the gas engine generator, the Wärtsilä Modular Block concept’s enclosure incorporates engine-specific auxiliary units, enabling a reduction in on-site installation time from “several months to a few weeks”, depending on the full scope of supply, Wärtsilä said.

“The concept thus makes Wärtsilä’s advanced medium-speed engine technology available for applications where it would not otherwise be viable with a conventional custom designed permanent building,” the company said, while adding that medium-speed engine technology has inherently higher efficiency and lower lifecycle costs than containerised high-speed engines or gas turbine solutions.

Wärtsilä says it can offer the Wärtsilä Modular Block as a full engineering, procurement and construction project, with the solution expandable to accommodate increased energy demand and to respond to fast-growing customer business needs. The concept also enables dismantling and relocation, meaning it offers new business models, such as power as a service or rentals.

On top of this, the Wärtsilä Modular Block is easy to integrate with renewable energy and storage systems, according to the company. “It is ideal for providing grid stability and balancing when integrating renewable energy sources with intermittent production.”

The flexibility of the concept enables timely expansion with minimal front-end investments, or relocation to accommodate changing power generating requirements, Wärtsilä said.

“This, combined with the high efficiency of the power generation asset, the minimised on-site installation time, and its configurability with external systems, makes the Wärtsilä Modular Block an excellent solution for many power generation enterprises,” the company said. “It can be a perfect fit for industrial customers or utilities, and for independent power producers associated with them.”

Antti Kämi, Vice President, Engine Power Plants, Wärtsilä Energy Business, said the Wärtsilä Modular Block takes the company’s experience and know-how in prefabricated modular power plants to the “next level, combining modularity and ease of use with superior medium-speed engine performance”.

Kämi added: “Modular Block, being a cost-effective solution that is configurable to different needs, scalable and re-deployable, brings fast and reliable power wherever needed.”

Wärtsilä introduced the Wärtsilä Modular Block at this week’s Africa Energy Forum, being held at the Lisbon Congress Centre, Portugal.

Cummins powers up for the future of mining

Mining operations are embracing the opportunities created by new technology, from automation and electric vehicles to renewable energy, but what can traditional fossil fuel power generation contribute to this technology-led evolution of mining? Craig Wilkins, Director Prime Power at Cummins, explains how natural gas power is key to meeting the industry’s power needs in the coming decades.

Many mining operations take place in remote parts of the world where access to large electric utility feeds is either unavailable or requires significant investments in electrical transmission and distribution. These same sites may also have little or no access to pipeline gas, or experience a variation of natural gas supply. In addition, they are operating in the most extreme climates imaginable, faced with blistering heat, the wettest humidity and high altitudes.

Therefore, the need to secure a reliable prime and peaking power supply to keep production up and running 24/7 is paramount.

Cummins has responded to this challenge with a significant investment into the natural gas arena with the launch of its HSK78G gas-powered generator, a flexible prime power solution for heavy-industry installations in the most extreme environments. Its extreme engineering is designed to push the boundaries of performance and challenge the perceived limitations of natural gas generators for mining operations. It has barrier-breaking fuel flexibility, able to burn pipeline natural gas, flare gas and biogas, even the lowest BTU methane down to 40MN, and free fuel sources, with high efficiency and low emissions.

The investment on the HSK78G comes as the power market across the globe is changing. Technological advances in renewable energy and its application with batteries as part of modular power networks, tend to dominate the future of power generation. The concept is flexible, scalable and able to power entire cities as well as remote off-grid installations – such as mines. So why invest in traditional natural gas power?

Gas vs diesel

Miners continuously look for ways to lower their cost of production.  One of the major sources of cost for an open-pit mine site is fuel.  Some mines have access to an un-interruptible supply of natural gas that offers them a lower total cost when compared to diesel. 

Although technological advancements in natural gas storage and filling have yet to yield an economical replacement to diesel engines in mobile mining equipment, prime power generator sets are quickly moving towards lean burn, natural gas technologies. Lean burn gas powered generator sets use twice as much air in the fuel/air mix than required for total burn, which lowers burn temperature and NOx output, ensuring compliance with emission regulations.

Due to increasing emissions limits being adopted for generator sets, diesel generators sometimes are limited in their use. Lean burn, natural gas generator sets typically have ten times lower NOx than diesel equivalents (250-500 mg/Nm3 for natural gas compared to 2,500-3,000 mg/Nm3 for diesel.) Also, lean burn particulate levels are almost zero, so meeting location specific emissions regulations can be far easier across a global perspective.

Power generation fuel flexibility

Technological advances in design, running in tandem with market change, will result in gensets that can use fuel efficiently in varying qualities. This innovation is demonstrated by our new HSK78G, which delivers high electrical efficiency of up to 44.2% (50 Hz) and 43.5% (60 Hz) on a range of pipeline natural gas down to 70 methane number (MN) without impacting power output and efficiency.

Ultimately this fuel flexibility empowers operators to derive clean power from what would otherwise be regarded as waste products, at worst emissions. The technology for smarter and cleaner power solutions is speeding up and adoption will continue to grow as more mines embrace its capital expenditure (capex) and operational expenditure (opex) advantages.

Engineered to extremes

A further challenge for the mining operation is the environment in which the generator set operates. As engines operate, they produce heat and tend to be more sensitive to the ambient temperature levels. A generator’s ambient capability is defined as the maximum temperature at which it can operate without experiencing a loss of efficiency and it is an essential factor for customers operating in such extreme environments.

Without an engine capable of meeting high ambient temperatures, customers risk having to derate their engine, which can lead to reduced power efficiency and shorter operational life from the generator or having to stop it altogether. The HSK78G has been designed to operate at the highest ambient temperatures in the most remote locations, all far from the closest grid, offering full power capability without derating at 50°C (122°F) and 500 m (1,640 ft).

Gas vs renewables

The focus of many customers is to achieve the optimum levelised cost of electricity (LCOE) given the availability of different technologies which are suitable for their application. This can range from 100% gas generation through to a balanced mix of renewable sources such as wind or solar, and complementary storage technologies that leverages the reliability of gas generation to ride through periods where renewables are limited by their cyclical nature. The technology mix utilised will drive the different capex and opex cost scenarios that will ultimately affect the LCOE.

Improvements in gas engine technology, such as in the new HSK78G engine from Cummins, have pushed maintenance and overhaul limits well beyond the traditional envelope, thereby lowering opex costs over time. Jointly, we will continue to see cost reductions in storage and battery technology as volumes increase. For the near future, however, miners will continue to look for mixed technology to balance their capex and opex trying to achieve the lowest LCOE for its sites.

Preparation for electrification

As much as 40% of an underground mine’s energy outlay is spent on powering ventilation systems to remove pollutants from tunnels. Reducing the use of fossil fuels underground could have significant cost benefits for underground mines. In addition, The International Council on Mining and Metals have set their vision to provide solutions for minimizing the impact of underground diesel exhaust by 2025. As more underground mining vehicles and equipment contemplate the potential benefits of electrification, Cummins will continuously invest in power systems that will be ready to support such power need and respond to any changes in the mining industry

The right technology choice

In the future most power systems will require a mix of technologies that are specifically suited to their environment, emissions zone and location.  Natural gas power offers mining operators an efficient and proven and prime power solution. From Cummins perspective, a lot of investments are made in new gas engineering technology, which are demonstrated with the HSK78G gas series. Additional product investments are being made within the 500-1 MW space, which will be released later this year, offering a comprehensive gas product portfolio to meet all market requirements. Progressively stringent global emissions standards are also driving Cummins investment into a variety of technologies – natural gas, diesel, batteries and fuel cells, to ensure that customers have the right power for the right application.

BossTek powers up with Tier IV Final DustBoss DB-60 Fusion

BossTek has updated its family of self-powered dust suppression equipment with Tier IV Final-compliant power generators, ensuring compliance in all 50 US states, it says.

A global innovator in dust and odour control technology, the company made the announcement with the debut of the new DustBoss® DB-60 Fusion™, a suppression system driven by a 25 hp (18.6 kW) electric motor paired with a heavy-duty four-cycle indirect injection diesel engine gen set.

Designed, engineered and assembled in the US, the generator features a dual-containment fuel cell, heavy gauge lockable enclosure and oversized brushless alternator for easy starting, according to the company.

The company’s Fusion lineup, which is permanently mounted on a rugged trailer, is proving to be a popular and effective means of delivering versatile, mobile dust suppression technology to sites that lack a readily available power source, BossTek says. “The company expects to unveil two other Fusion models in early 2019, giving customers the ability to select the size and coverage range needed to best suit their operations,” the company added.

“The new generator series is designed with sound attenuation for excellent noise reduction and a multi-voltage switch with utility power outlet in all voltage modes. The digital engine/generator controller is equipped with single button stop/start and an 80 gallon (364 litres) fuel capacity, giving the units a run time of more than 24 hours at a prime rating of 45 kVa.

“Like its previous Fusion systems, BossTek warrantees the DB-60 Fusion for three years/3,000 h, with five-year/5,000 h coverage on the electric motor and a two-year/2,000 h warranty on the generator.”

The DB-60 Fusion drives pressurised water through a circular stainless steel manifold with 30 atomising spray nozzles, then launches millions of tiny droplets with a powerful fan that produces 30,000 ft³/min (849.50 m³/min) of air flow. Atomised mist droplets of 50 to 200 microns in size are thrown out in a 200 ft (60 m) cone at an adjustable 0 to 50° elevation angle, capturing airborne dust particles and dragging them to the ground.

Unlike industrial sprinklers used for the same purpose, which can require hundreds of gallons of water per minute, the DB-60 only uses about 23 gallons per minute (87 litres per minute) to help avoid pooling or runoff.

“A touch screen panel for controlling the dust suppression unit is encased in a NEMA 3R cabinet, allowing operators to control oscillation, booster pump, fan and water,” BossTek says. “The cabinet is constructed for outdoor use, designed to provide protection against solid foreign objects (such as dirt), air (dust, emissions), water (rain, sleet, snow) and ice formation. The system is able to provide up to 5,834 m² of coverage.

BossTek Project Engineer Jason Lesch said: “Maintaining air quality is essential for communities near a demolition project, mining operation or other bulk material handling activities, but even in places with little infrastructure, dust can choke worksites and foul equipment. We engineered the Fusion to be highly mobile, with its own power source, so it can be easily towed anywhere on a job site.”

Equipped with an in-line 75 mesh, 200 micron filter, the unit can be specified with special filtration to accommodate non-potable water sources. In addition, the new design can be optimised with a variable frequency drive to precisely adjust fan speed. An optional dosing pump is available for precise metering of additives to enhance particle control even further.

Zenith Energy helps Independence go solar at Nova nickel-copper operation

Independence Group’s Nova nickel operation is set to play host to Australia’s first fully-integrated commercial hybrid diesel/solar photovoltaic (PV) facility after the company signed a contract amendment with remote power generation specialist Zenith Energy.

The changes to the existing power purchase agreement, signed by Zenith and Independence back in 2015, will incorporate a solar PV facility with a forecast 12.5 GWh/y.

Zenith’s subsidiary, Zenith Pacific, will now build, own and operate a hybrid diesel/solar PV power station of around 26 MW in installed capacity to “reliably and efficiently service the power needs of the Nova operation”, the company said.

Zenith has made huge strides since becoming a public entity via the ASX in May, sealing contracts with the likes of Gascoyne Resources, for its Dalgaranga gold project, and Dacian Gold, for its recently opened Mt Morgans gold mine.

Managing Director of Zenith Energy, Hamish Moffat said: “This development represents the first fully integrated and commercial hybrid diesel/solar PV facility in Australia and is a step forward in future renewable energy solutions.”

The solar PV will include “state-of-the-art PV modules, single axis tracking, inverters, communications and control system technology”, Zenith said.

The hybrid power station will incorporate high efficiency diesel-fuelled generators and solar PV generation.

The integrated facility is expected to be completed within the first quarter of Zenith’s 2020 financial year (to end-June, 2020). The initial supply period is for six years with an option for Zenith to extend for a further two years.

Independence Group’s Managing Director, Peter Bradford said: “The development of this innovative hybrid energy solution will…improve our cost structure with targeted renewable power insertion of up to 50% of demand via the solar PV facility.”

Nova is in the Fraser Range of Western Australia, some 160 km east-northeast of Norseman. It produced 22,258 t of nickel and 9,545 t of copper in its first full year of operation in the 2018 financial year.

Golden FY2018 for power producer Zenith Energy

Australia-based independent power producer Zenith Energy has surpassed its own targets in its first full financial year as a listed entity, recording a net profit after tax of A$8.47 million ($6.28 million).

The company only listed in May, but, since debuting, has won contracts with Newmont Mining for its Tanami gold mine, Gascoyne Resources for its Dalgaranga gold project and Dacian Gold’s recently opened Mt Morgans gold mine.

This has seen the company more than double its Build Own Operate contracted capacity from 88 MW when it listed in Australia to 189 MW this month.

“Zenith currently has 12 contracts in place representing 420 MW of generation capacity under control, and a robust pipeline of remote power generation opportunities,” it said.

Revenue for its 2018 financial year to the end of June came in at A$51.43 million, up 64% on the previous year, while EBITDA of A$18.22 million was 85% ahead of FY2017.

The A$8.47 million in net profit was not only 171% up from its previous financial year, but was ahead of the A$3.52 million forecast Zenith guided in its listing prospectus last year.

Zenith says it specialises in tailored, reliable, cost-effective solutions using gas, diesel, solar and hybrid generation.

Its 10-year power purchase agreement with Newmont at Tanami will see Zenith build, own and operate a 62 MW power station comprising 52 MW of gas-fired generation and around 10 MW of diesel back-up power. It is due to begin in the March quarter of next year.

Zenith Managing Director Hamish Moffat said the company was setting itself a goal of converting a “significant portion” of its current 380 MW pipeline to contracted capacity, as well as exploring “early opportunities in renewable power, smart-grid and storage”.

Zenith, founded in 2006, also has contracts in place with Northern Star Resources (Kundana and Jundee), Pantoro (Halls Creek), Independence Group (Nova), Incitec Pivot (Phosphate Hill), Billabong Gold (Plutonic) and OK Tedi Mining.