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In depth: Energy efficiency – Look beyond the low hanging fruit

While South Africa’s mining sector has focused on reducing its energy consumption since 2008’s power crisis, Hugo du Plessis, energy optimisation specialist for Siemens, says there is still room for improvement. The time for significant investment to further improve energy efficiency and generate your own energy resource (from process heat/steam) is now, he tells Laura Cornish. siemans-energy

Siemens, the global electrification powerhouse, is on a major drive to promote and encourage energy efficiency within the mining sector. “Energy saving and power reduction concepts are easy to outline theoretically, but implementing them and physically achieving results is not,” says Du Plessis, whose recent work background entailed process and energy audits for Anglo American Platinum. And South Africa desperately needs to start realising and achieving energy savings to help alleviate the country’s power crisis, he continues. “Mines need to start looking above the low hanging fruit. Bigger energy savings do require greater cash investments, but the rewards and savings are quantifiably higher as well.”

Maximising benefits

Eskom has been very effective in its campaign to educate South African citizens on dropping their energy consumption at home and Du Plessis believes a similar campaign would be extremely effective for helping drive awareness within the major industrial sectors as well. “Coupled with awareness is the understanding that energy consumption can only be fully improved by learning what the baseline energy expenditure on site is as a starting point. Only once this has been determined can one effectively determine how to start load shifting. This is Siemens’ approach to assist any client,” he highlights. It is also important to note that no ‘one size fits all’ approach can be applied either – across multiple operations. “Reducing energy effectively has to be evaluated from the start for every application, for every process and for ever…

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