With increasing energy costs, an Australian gold mining company asked Super Smart Energy to identify ways to increase reliability and performance underground whilst saving money and being more sustainable by reducing their carbon footprint.
With estimated diesel costs over $3 million dollars a year and $1.4 million a year attributed to running 3 Axial Fans, a solution was needed that would address the power costs of the ventilation system.
The data suggested that a Smart Ventilation Unit (SVU) be used to allow the fan to regulate the flow of air to match the demand profile of the underground operation. The SVU provided the control needed and if the resistance is changed for any reason the unit would ensure all workings areas still receive the required air flow. The SVU can be over opened to provide 115% ventilation capacity for blasting or to increase the airflow by up to an additional 30 m3/s. The benefits of such a system would allow for quicker re-entry times
resulting in an increase in productivity.
The smart controller in each fan starter panel controls the output at each heading and receives signals from the flow meters to regulate the flow in the drive and if required the system is designed to default to a preset flow. A more advanced tracking system would provide an alert for any machinery entering into a heading. Also, the system is programmed with a minimum requirement where a small nominal flow above the amount required for personnel to enter the heading is preset to ensure safe working conditions are maintained.
This also ensures there is no down time for the machinery as without this nominal flow, machinery would need to wait at the entry to evacuate any fumes or gases.
One key feature of the system can be integrated with the use of existing communication methods used on site. As a result, each piece of equipment has an assigned value and thus demand is controlled, and the fan raises and reduces load based on the real time demand in the mine. And if intervention is required, changes can be made in minutes rather than a manual process of accessing the starter to change the setting.
Savings of nearly $1 million per year were achieved with a return on invest (ROI) of less than 12 months. With a mine life of 5 years, the opportunity to add a positive economic impact was significant and considered a no brainer by the client.
To discuss the opportunities at your mine site and how we can help to reduce your energy costs please call 1300 996 721 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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