Anglo American Platinum's (Amplats) Waterval Smelting Complex has successfully launched an industry-first, co-generation power plant – creating 5 MW of clean and inexpensive power for the company’s general consumption.
The R150 million Eternity Power Thermal Harvesting project, located at the smelting complex in Rustenburg, was delivered in partnership with Vuselela Energy and H1 Holdings, both specialists in clean energy.
The plant was commissioned in June 2015 and developed by Vuselela Energy in collaboration with Anglo American Platinum.
This ground-breaking initiative uses waste heat from the Anglo Converter Plant (ACP) convertor cooling circuit to evaporate an organic liquid and drive an expansion turbine. 4.3 MW of installed capacity is available to the grid, reducing Anglo American Platinum’s capacity bought from Eskom.
The amount of power generated also results in a reduction of the smelter’s carbon footprint and a more efficient use of energy.
The million project was made possible by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) which provided a R30 million grant as part of its Infrastructure Development Support. This support mechanism leverages investments to the South African economy by providing infrastructure critical to industrial development, thus increasing exports of value-added commodities and creating employment opportunities.
Jacques Malan, director at Eternity Power and Vuselela Energy, says, “The set of technologies used at the Eternity Power clean energy plant had not previously been used in a smelter environment and a significant amount of novel work was done to design the integration of the technology into the smelter complex and to establish the technical feasibility of the process.”
“These patents were developed specifically for the purpose of capturing and harnessing waste thermal energies from metallurgical and chemical processes for the purpose of power generation and are likely also patentable worldwide. The result is that the Eternity Power Thermal Harvesting power plant is the first of its kind in the world in terms of being connected to a convertor at a metallurgical smelter.”
“Anglo American Platinum is pleased to provide a solution to the energy challenges that an energy-intensive operations like the smelting operation faces. We now have clean, sustainable and reliable energy. The plant is performing beyond expectations, generating more power ahead of its schedule,” July Ndlovu, executive head of process at Anglo American Platinum reveals.