Renewable energy solutions for Richards Bay’s heavy industry

The event was attended by both local and international industry stakeholders, including Gunnar Larsson (RiPasso Energy), Susan Cassidy (Engen), Roelof Retief (RB Alloys), Mike Stevens (Ensight Energy Solutions), Cynthia Tsunyane (Ensight Energy Solutions), Sven Sahle (RiPasso Energy), Zamaswazi Nkosi (Tongaat Hulett), Francis Barram (Ensight Energy Solutions), Judith Nzimande (ZCCI), Percy Langa (RBIDZ), Shalini Naidoo (RB Coal Terminal), Shane Naidoo (RB Coal Terminal), Christa van der Walt (ZCCI) and Dillon Bensusan (Ensight Energy Solutions) PHOTO: Tamlyn Jolly

IN a bid to assist industry in responsibly addressing the challenges of climate change while STILL maintaining their market edge, Ensight Energy Solutions on Tuesday held a business briefing with Richards Bay’s industry stakeholders.

Working directly with industry, as partners instead of consultants, Ensight has implemented and sustained numerous energy cost-saving projects around South Africa.

‘Current energy systems are run on certain assumptions that are never questioned, but simply by asking the right questions, companies can, and have already, introduced massive energy savings – and therefore cost savings,’ said Francis Barram, Ensight Energy Solutions CEO.

‘But the success of identifying and implementing such strategies comes from an independent party whose only interest is reducing energy consumption.’

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Ensight’s existing clients include Anglo Platinum, which enjoys 30% energy and R110-million cost savings.

Barram said energy-reducing strategies already achieved in the mining sector require no capital investment from a company.

Another energy-saving application is that of CNG (compressed natural gas) to run vehicles instead of diesel.

‘High density CNG leads to a 27% reduction in greenhouse gases and a 20% cost reduction.

‘For example, a truck can get from Richards Bay to Pietermaritzburg and back on only one tank of CNG,’ said Barram.

He said heavy vehicles used in the mining sector in Australia have been converted to CNG, with astounding energy and cost savings results.

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‘Running industrial trucks on 100% natural gas is a possibility.’

Renewable energy-derived methane was also discussed, with the biomass-to-methane concept a good one for job creation and productivity for society.

Barram said bamboo from a 1 200ha farm can produce 15MW, as well as the creation of jobs in every step of the process, from farming to biomass processing.

‘We need to start producing and using energy from renewable resources rather than from our current, finite supply,’ concluded Barram.

Tamlyn Jolly

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