How the Western Cape's largest electricity consumer saved R90 million in one year

Published: Tue 26 Mar 2013
A blog entry by Annemarie Roodbol

Contributed by:

Annemarie Roodbol
Senior Communications Manager
Spintelligent

Annemarie Roodbol's Blog

Exclusive interview with Dhesan Moodley - General Manager of Arcelor Mittal’s Saldanha Works.  As the single largest electricity consumer in the Western Cape, the steel plant participated in an Industrial Energy Efficiency Improvement Project that has resulted in an astounding R90 million energy bill savings in one year.  Arcelor Mittal is offering a unique opportunity to a limited number of African Utility Week delegates during a site visit on 16 May. 

1.     Can you we start of with some background about ArcelorMittal Saldanha Works?
Saldanha Works is a Flat rolling Integrated Steel facility that produces 1.2 million hot rolled coil (HRC).  HRC from Saldanha is mainly exported, with approximately 20% sold on the local market.  There are three main areas within the plant – Iron Making (producing Liquid iron and Direct reduced iron), Steel making that has two converter arc furnaces (CONARC), ladle furnaces and a thin slab caster followed by Rolling with a Hot strip Mill and Temper Mill.

2.     Any projects that are underway or in the planning that you are particularly excited about?
We are in the process to sign a biogas (from a bio-digester) facility to replace our LPG in certain areas of the plant. We saved 10.6MW on baseline in 2012 or 92.8 GWh.

3.     What specific measures have you taken to manage energy, water and waste at the plant?
Saldanha launched a focussed energy management strategy in 2010.  Resources were allocated both in terms of people and capital expenditure.  Initially the potential was determined through an existing project list and doing an energy audit on the plant to determine further possible savings.  ISO 50001 was implemented and energy management is now part of our daily routines.  Energy saved:  baseline value 160 MW (saved 10.6MW on baseline in 2012) or 6.6%.

4.     Any highlights of successful projects you can share with us?
We have implemented various VSD projects that delivered greater savings than expected.  This has proved to be sound technology given the correct application.  We are also very proud of our waste heat project at the Roller Hearth Furnace where waste heat was used to replace a diesel heater at the Air Separation plant.  We have also done some optimisation projects at the water plant on pump systems that required no capital expenditure.

5.     What are the main lessons you have learnt?

  • You need to assign resources if you are really serious about energy savings.
  • You need to train people – a good technical person still needs to be trained in energy savings and the NCPC/ UNIDO program (supported by the DTI and DOE) is really an affordable way to train your staff to think and implement energy savings initiatives.
  • Introducing savings is relatively easy.  Sustaining these savings can be quite difficult especially if it is achieved by changing human behaviour.  You need to incorporate it in your management infrastructure and implement a system such as ISO 50001 to entrench and sustain such savings.

6.     What can the delegates during the Large Power Users site visit to ArcelorMittal Saldanha Works expect from the visit?

-RHF Flue gas capture to heat Diesel at ASU

-Optimization of Compressed Air at ASU      

-Water treatment plant System 1 and 14        

7)   What will be your message at African Utility Week this year?
Once you start focusing on energy savings there are numerous opportunities to achieve savings.

8)  How have the increased energy tariff and carbon tax influenced the business, particularly in the light of the fact that you are the biggest energy consumer in the Western Cape?
The increased energy tariff and carbon tax is a significant risk for the plant.  We are focussed on the export market, specifically in Africa and we are competing against China and India.  These countries do not experience any of the cost increases mentioned.  The viability of export facilities is at risk with these increases.  This obviously has significant potential impact on the economy, not just local, but also on the fiscal balance.

Annemarie Roodbol is the Communications Manager for Clarion Events and specifically for African Utility Week and Clean Power Africa.  To see more expert interviews with event speakers and sponsors, visit the website:  www.african-utility-week.com