Summerstrand can breathe a little easier now as those 9 Megawatts of power represents the average electricity consumption of approximately 4 500 households. And Summerstrand just happened to be the suburb used as a comparison by Wayne Brown, General Manager of Manufacturing at CTSA.
As part of its continuous drive to reduce energy costs in the face of the ever-increasing price of electricity, Continental Tyre South Africa (CTSA) has installed a new coal boiler house. This project, initiated in 2012 as part of the company’s ongoing drive to reduce energy costs, was completed and commissioned towards the end of 2014 at a cost of R65 million. The building of the boiler house, which included orders for civil works and equipment, commenced in 2013 and the facility was equipped with four 10.5 ton Cape Town manufactured John Thompson package boilers and was ready to commence with the full production of steam by November 2014. Since then, the boilers have been optimised to run at full efficiency and are now able to supply far more stable steam pressure to the plant, at a significantly reduced cost.
“CTSA not only looks at cost reduction, but also at energy and efficiency. The new boiler house investment has brought a 60% cost reduction in steam generation” said Brown. The new boiler complies with all environmental standards and as an added benefit the ash by-product from the coal is transported to a local brick maker to form part of the recipe to manufacture clay bricks. “Over the past five years CTSA has reduced its energy consumption by 25%,” highlighted Brown. “With this project we have also been able to create eight new jobs as four boiler operators and four boiler assistants have been employed,” concluded Wayne Brown, General Manager of Manufacturing at CTSA.
Since 2003, Continental Tyre SA had been contractually tied to an outsourced steam supplier that supplied the full complement of steam to the plant through two heavy furnace oil (HFO) boilers and one electro boiler. While the electro boiler was the primary source of steam generation, the HFO boilers were used as a backup supply during peak electricity demand. While the company continued to use the steam generated by the outsourced steam supplier, over a period of time, the cost of electricity increased significantly and it became uneconomical to generate steam through these methods. By 2013, the outsourced steam supplier was simply not able to supply steam at a cost effective rate.
Since 2012, however, Continental Tyre had already initiated an investigation into a more cost effective means of generating steam and considered a number of fuel sources including natural gas, coal and biomass. While the first choice for boiler fuel was natural gas, the infrastructure in Port Elizabeth does not allow for a natural gas line to the plant, where natural gas could be used as a fuel source for the boilers. Therefore, the decision was taken to use coal, as it proved to be the most cost effective fuel source for the generation of steam. The decision to construct a boiler house on site at Continental Tyre SA was taken as a result of these findings.
Contrary to popular belief these coal fired boilers are spotless – all gleaming steelwork and dust and grit extractors. The 40 tons of coal per day are automatically fed to the bioler hoppers from an underground bunker via Archimedes screw type feeders and all ash is deposited into a water conveyor, dried and recycled to a local brick manufacturer. The boilers operate at temperatures of close to 600 degrees.
Coal is delivered to the bunker via truck which unloads directly from a grid into the underground bunker with surface level water sprayers which prevent the coal dust from escaping and soiling the plant.
Massive amounts of water, which needs to be first de-oxygenised, are consumed by CTSA – in the order of 10 000 litres per hour so a huge water saving programme concentrates on recycling. Removing the oxygen from the water contributes to longer life for steel pipes and fittings as they will be less susceptible to corrosion and rust.
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