Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Why Do Mines Consume Enormous Amounts of Electricity?

Mines require copious amounts of electricity to support various functions. In fact, owing to the huge amount of work and processing that go into production, mining is one of the most energy-intensive industries in the world, accounting for approximately 5% of the global electricity consumption.

To further illustrate, in Chile, considered as the world’s largest copper producer, mining is responsible for more than 20% of the country’s total power consumption. In Zambia, mining accounts for a whopping 50% of the country’s power utilization.


Obviously, no mine can operate without electricity. And without mining, the world will see no houses, skyscrapers, vehicles, airplanes, mobile phones, laptops, computers and a gazillion other things. But, have you ever wondered just how much electricity is required to power a mine throughout its lifetime?

Let’s have a quick look at some of the energy-intensive work that takes place in a mine. There is blasting open the earth, crushing and grounding millions of tons of ore, and chemically processing the ore prior to export. Round-the-clock. Throughout the year.

Then, there are the electricity-gobbling pieces of machinery, like rope shovels. Rope shovels alone are said to require an average of 11,000 KW throughout its 20-hour operation.

There are also additional energy-consuming factors which vary from mine to mine. Let us say, the presence of underground water. Do you know that pumping out millions of liters of water every day consumes an amount of electricity so huge that it is reported by some mining companies as the largest component of their energy costs?

Electricity is vital to almost every function of a mine that having sufficient power at the site is non-negotiable. Unfortunately, many mine sites across the globe have to cut back on power consumption because of power shortages, load shedding or a limited access to a reliable power supply. Though it should be possible to reduce power consumption in some of the perceived “non-essential” areas, this can only be done for so long before it begins to affect the entire operation and, thus, the production levels.


In response to this risk, many mining companies are deciding to invest multi-millions in building their own power generation or transmission facilities. But obviously, building one’s own energy infrastructure is tremendously expensive, and this can easily jack up the capital cost for a new project. And given the current volatile market condition, and the uncertain future of nascent mines, making such a huge non-core investment may not make sense altogether.

Here, then, lies the conundrum for mine operators: Do they build their own power facility to potentially provide ample electricity to their sites but, in doing so, make a huge capital investment; or be content in reducing electricity consumption in their sites and save money, but miss out on maximizing the site’s production levels?

The truth is, mine operators are not limited to just these two choices.

For example, they can choose to rent power plants instead of building their own. In doing so, they will not have to devote, rather strap, a huge part of their working capital on a non-core investment.

During the feasibility and exploration stages, renting power plants will give them the freedom to start with a small power plant, which they can grow as their operations expand.


Can temporary power plants support mine operations even in remote areas? Sure.

Rental power plants are easily transported from and to anywhere in the world and can function in any site no matter where on Earth it is situated. Temporary power plants can directly connect to any site’s grid even without a sub-station. They can also switch operational modes from grid to island, to base load or to standby at a push of a button in mere minutes, so they can function in mine sites either as the sole source of power or in sync with the grid.


Bottom line, going for the rental option will significantly reduce a mining project’s estimated capital cost and will cushion mining companies from the impact of making a huge non-core investment in this highly volatile mining market.

So, mines consume colossal amounts of electricity because of the number of energy-intensive functions that go into their operations. And, even as the industry faces risks relating to electricity supply and access to reliable energy sources, there are power generation technologies available, like temporary power plants, which can help mine operations sustain profitable levels of production.


-Ends-


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Sources consulted:
“Why mines consume such large amount of electricity”. Zambian Mining Magazine. www.miningnewszambia.com. 16 October 2016.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Altaaqa Global Achieves ISO Recognition for Energy Performance

The company is the first and thus far the only temporary power provider to have its projects certified in accordance with ISO 50001:2011 standards 

After months of rigorous process alignment and extensive audit, Altaaqa Global Caterpillar Rental Power, a leading global provider of multi-megawatt temporary power solutions, has achieved ISO 50001:2011 certification from TÜV NORD, the ISO-accredited certification body headquartered in Hanover, Germany.

ISO 50001:2011 specifies requirements for establishing, implementing, maintaining and improving an energy management system, whose purpose is to enable an organization to follow a systematic approach in achieving continual improvement in energy performance within its operations and projects.


“ISO 50001:2011 is applicable to any organization wishing to ensure that its products and services conform to its avowed energy policy”, said Shibu Davies, General Manager for Certification, HSD & Lab at TÜV NORD. “This certification awarded to Altaaqa Global, the only rental power company in the world to have achieved the feat to date, is a testimony to the company’s steadfast dedication to delivering multi-megawatt power generation projects that efficiently use energy, conserve natural resources and help in combatting climate change.”

Meghana Millin, Quality and HSE Officer of Altaaqa Global, described how the company ensures that its energy policy is implemented and adhered to across its processes. “We train our sights on providing the most energy efficient and environmentally responsible power solutions to our clients. Thus, we remain committed to our energy policy from the selection of the power equipment, to the designing of the power plants, to transport, through project installation, commissioning and maintenance. Furthermore, we regularly upgrade our current installations to further improve on their energy performance.”

Majid Zahid, Altaaqa Global’s Chief Commercial Officer, shed light on how the company guarantees customer satisfaction in all its multi-megawatt rental power projects: “We ensure that our power plants maintain the highest level of efficiency by having their performance monitored and evaluated by reputable global certification bodies. This way, we assure our clients that our power projects do not only supply uninterrupted reliable electricity, but also offer cost savings and minimal operational expenditure.”

For his part, Peter den Boogert, CEO of Altaaqa Global, called upon the rental power industry to take up the cause of energy responsibility. “Being in the business of providing electricity, the onus is upon us, temporary power providers, to conscientiously mitigate the environmental effects of our operations. That is why we at Altaaqa Global are continuously developing and optimizing our power generation solutions, so they ultimately promote real economic, social and environmental benefits. We are proud to have blazed a trail in energy performance and fuel efficiency in the IPP industry.”

In 2014, Altaaqa Global has also achieved ISO 9001:2008 (Quality Management System), ISO 14001:2004 (Environmental Management System), and OHSAS 18001:2007 (Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems) certifications, making it part of an elite list of global companies to have ever completed a triple audit and received all certifications in its first year of evaluation.

Ends

About Altaaqa Global
Altaaqa Global, a subsidiary of Zahid Group, has been selected by Caterpillar Inc. to deliver multi-megawatt turnkey temporary power solutions worldwide. The company owns, mobilizes, installs, and operates efficient temporary independent power plants (IPP’s) at customer sites, focusing on the emerging markets of Sub-Sahara Africa, Central Asia, the Indian Subcontinent, Latin America, South East Asia, the Middle East, and North Africa. Offering power rental equipment that will operate with different types of fuel such as diesel, natural gas, or dual-fuel, Altaaqa Global is positioned to rapidly deploy and provide temporary power plant solutions, delivering electricity whenever and wherever it may be needed.

http://www.altaaqaglobal.com

About Zahid Group
Zahid Group represents a diverse range of companies, offering comprehensive, customer-centric solutions in a number of thriving industries. Some of those include construction; mining; oil & gas; agriculture; power, electricity & water generation; material handling; building materials; transportation & logistics; real estate development; travel & tourism; waste management & recycling; and hospitality.

http://www.zahid.com

About TÜV NORD
TÜV NORD International GmbH & Co. KG has established business relationships in more than 70 countries of Europe, America, Asia and Africa and is now represented in all major world markets. The TÜV NORD Group has combined its acknowledged competence, versatile innovative talent and also many companies who are leaders in their market segments under the umbrella of TÜV NORD International. Now, know-how developed over many years and a dedicated, 8,400-strong workforce worldwide ensure that “TÜV NORD” is accepted as a global name for safety, quality, competence and trust.

https://www.tuv-nord.com/en/tuv-nord-worldwide/

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Sunday, November 20, 2016

How Can Rental Power Plants Support the Predicted Growth in Electricity Demand?

We now live in a world where virtually everything requires energy, and where a momentary interruption in its supply can throw economies and societies into disarray. And as the world will need more of energy, industry stakeholders should, therefore, keep a close watch on its efficient production and utilization to ensure that it will be sufficient for the coming generations.  


Experts predict that global energy demand will continue to grow through 2050. In a recent article, McKinsey and Company, a global research and information firm, revealed that the global requirement for energy will grow by an average of 0.7 percent a year through 2050. This growth rate is notably lower than the current two percent, owing to digitization, slower population and economic growth, greater efficiency, the decline in demand in Europe and North America, and the global economic shift toward services, which use less energy than the production of goods. Despite this decline, it cannot be ignored that there is still a critical need to meet the future demand if the world is to have a continuous and reliable supply of energy.


Electricity will account for a quarter of all energy demand by 2050. McKinsey predicts that more than 75 percent of new electricity capacity will come from wind and solar. Thus, wind and solar power generation are expected to grow four or five times faster than every other source of electrical power.

As a global temporary power solutions provider, we see this as a welcome development in increasing the availability of electricity in areas that require it, and in diversifying the energy mix to encourage long-term energy security.


Multi-megawatt temporary power technologies are primed to work in tandem with renewable energy sources to help surmount issues of power supply unpredictability and intermittency, especially in power-intensive industries like oil & gas, construction, and utility power generation, transmission and distribution.

Temporary power plants can also provide supplemental power to renewable energy facilities during planning, manufacturing, installation, commissioning, operations and maintenance. Temporary power plants can help ensure that renewable energy plants are constructed and delivered on time and as planned, and that they remain efficient, reliable and in optimum condition at all times.


As a global player in the rental power industry, we recognize the ever-important role that electricity plays in the promotion of progress and development in countries around the world. As such, we continuously work on innovating and engineering power generation systems that efficiently responds to the energy needs of the times. For more information on rental power plants and how it can help power your industry, please visit http://www.altaaqaglobal.com

End

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Wednesday, November 16, 2016

How Can Rental Power Help Grow Mining Operations?

The mining industry has played an integral part in the history and progress of countries and communities where it exists. Many mines sites, however, are in remote locations, where power infrastructure may not exist or are still developing, or where a reliable connection to national grids can still be improved. This poses a challenge to mine operations, established and developing alike, particularly in light of the fact that without access to a sufficient or reliable source of electricity, mining companies run the risk of losing on profit, valuable production time or opportunities for growth.


Temporary power and the Mining industry

It is most advantageous to specify temporary power during the pre-feasibility/feasibility stage of mining operations, when mining companies are applying for finance. This could help them secure financing for the project.

Temporary power solutions can support the growth phase of mine operations, because they provide flexibility, scalability, risk mitigation and cost minimization. Specifying the services of temporary power providers during this stage will preclude the need for mining companies to spend scarce CAPEX in procuring their own generators or building permanent power facilities. With temporary power, mines can opt to start small, then add power capacity as their operations grow. They can pay for the rented electricity from their operational profits.


As mine operations develop and become established, mining companies will eventually find benefit in building their own permanent power plants, which, however, may take a substantial amount of time to complete. While the permanent power plants are being constructed, temporary power can sustain the mine operations. As soon as the permanent facilities are constructed and fully operational, mining companies can simply end the contract, and the temporary power plants will be immediately demobilized. This way, mining companies will not have surplus equipment, because everything was only rented.

Temporary power solutions are also beneficial for ongoing mine operations, in times of power shortage or emergency situations. When mine operations need additional power to sustain production, temporary power providers can easily deploy and install temporary power plants at their sites in a matter of days to supply continuous and reliable electricity.


As commodity prices remain depressed, and full economic recovery continues to be elusive for developed and emerging countries alike, mining companies are in the midst of challenging times. In these times, mining companies cannot afford to subject their operations at risk, owing to lack of funds or long project lead times. Renting power does not require spending scarce CAPEX that is usually related to building permanent power plants. Temporary power plants can also be tailored to any power or voltage, so there is no longer a need to build support power infrastructure to run the rental plants. Additionally, installing temporary power plants will only take days, whereas constructing a permanent power infrastructure may span longer periods of time. This means that in a short time, mine operations can be up and running, and producing.

Hiring electricity can prove advantageous for both established and nascent mine operators. It can provide operational flexibility, enhance a site’s productivity and help optimize its processes without the need for a long lead time and a sizeable capital expenditure. As mining companies realize the benefits of hiring power, it will no longer be uncommon in the coming years to see larger temporary power plants being hired on a longer-term basis within the mining industry.

End 

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Monday, November 14, 2016

How Much Do You Know About Renting Electricity?

You know that you can rent a car, a flat, or even songs and movies. But, have you heard about renting power?

Renting affords numerous advantages, particularly to transient users, or those that use a particular item for a limited period of time. Think about renting flats, cars, movies or costumes. When you don’t see yourself living in a city for a long period of time, will you still invest in buying a home? When you expect to sparingly use a car, will you still spend on acquiring one and shell out for servicing and maintenance throughout its lifetime? For someone who simply likes to watch a new movie and does not fancy collecting films, will it make more sense to rent it than to actually buy a copy of it? Would you like to wear that Dracula costume every year to a Halloween party? I guess not.

There are many things that you can rent, but have you any idea about renting electricity? Yes, electricity can be rented, and it is a viable solution to energize numerous communities around the world that still lack access to reliable electricity. So, how does that work?


Basically, when a power utility company, a manufacturing firm, a mine operator or a government chooses to rent electricity, what they actually get is a complete, temporary power plant, designed, tailored, delivered, installed, operated, managed and serviced by a temporary power provider. All the equipment are owned by the provider, and the customer does not have to nvest in anything related to capital. Similar to renting any other item, the customer only has to pay for the product or service while he is using it – or in this case, for the electricity generated during the contract. This means that the customer can simply pay for the services of the rental power provider from his OPEX or operational expenditure.


Rental power plants are unlike permanent power plants. They are made up of modular power equipment, generators, transformers and other ancillaries, and can be simply connected “plug-and-play”-style. Because of this, they can be easily delivered from and to anywhere in the world, and can be made operational within days. Customers need not wait for years or decades obtaining approvals, financing and waiting for the completion of construction. Remember when you rented a car? The car was ready and was immediately handed over to you, right? And when you rented a flat? Did you have to wait for years for the building to be built before you could move in? No. Upon making the first tranche of payment, the keys to the unit were readily given to you.


When the need for supplemental electricity passes, a rental power plant can be simply uninstalled and demobilized, of course, by the temporary power provider. This means that there will be no permanent infrastructure left behind that will need constant maintenance and servicing. Simply put, the utility provider, the mining company, the manufacturing firm or the government stops spending when the need for supplemental electricity is no longer there.

To summarize, here is an illustration of what is involved in renting electricity:


We said above that renting electricity is a perfect option for energizing communities around the world that still do not enjoy the benefits of reliable electricity. Turning to temporary power solutions is a fast, efficient, safe and cost-effective way to gain access to consistent electricity. As governments, utility providers and allied stakeholders implement long-term energy plans, temporary power plants, working alone or in tandem with other sources of electrical power, can urgently provide the required electricity anywhere and anytime it is needed. 

End

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Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Pros and Cons of Different Fuel Options for Power Plants

In our previous article, we discussed lifecycle costs associated with the operation and maintenance of power plants, be they temporary or permanent. We said that though fuel represented the highest lifecycle cost, it was also the easiest to predict and calculate. In this article, we will look into some of the fuel options available for power plants, and identify some of their advantages and disadvantages.

Different fuel options are important in designing systems that respond to individual energy needs, budget concerns and fuel availability. Each fuel type has its benefits and drawbacks, so it is essential to take some time and research on the best fuel option during the system design process. Some fuel options available include natural gas, diesel, HFO and renewable fuels, such as vegetable oils, animal fats, and bio-diesel.


Natural gas is gaining ground as a cost-effective fuel solution, because it burns cleaner, and lengthens maintenance intervals and component lifetimes. There are multi-megawatt temporary power plants composed of natural gas generators that are designed for low-emission operation and fast set-up. Running on natural gas, these generators comply with worldwide emission limits even without after-treatment. Some observed disadvantages of natural gas are its limited availability and high costs of installing safe and reliable fuel delivery infrastructure. These, however, are gradually being solved owing to the increasing availability of gas and the opportunities in bigger and longer-duration projects opening up for gas power plants.


Diesel’s trump card has always been its availability, safety and economy, and ease of installation of power generation systems running on diesel. Diesel power generation systems are known to be reliable and flexible and are equipped with state-of-the-art technologies that allow them to run on a variety of fuels. Some noted disadvantages of using diesel as a fuel are the observed fluctuation of its price and environmental stewardship issues. The good news is that with cutting-edge power technologies made available by global temporary power providers, these observed issues can be mitigated.


Heavy fuel oil or HFO is available worldwide and engines running on this fuel are relatively common, but HFO has been observed to contain contaminants that increase component wear. Recognizing this, temporary power plant providers are making sure that they have intermediate systems that refine the fuel, reducing the contaminants and further enhancing the quality of the fuel. When choosing a power partner to run an HFO power plant, it is vital to make sure that the provider has these technologies available in order to lower the chances of reduced component life and higher maintenance costs.

Dual-fuel engines are another option to be considered. Though these engines are observed to have higher initial costs compared to single-fuel engines, they have the capability to provide the high-level of fuel flexibility that operators specifically require. Global temporary power providers can offer bi-fuel technologies that are specifically engineered to reduce fuel costs. For instance, there is a technologically advanced power system that uses a combination of 70% gas and 30% diesel, which will have a positive impact not only on fuel costs but also on emissions.


Alternative, reliable fuel options like vegetable oils, animal fats, and bio-diesel can also be utilized, but these require fuel treatment equipment. It may be helpful to note that the additional equipment may increase the initial capital costs and maintenance costs.

Different fuels have characteristics that influence their applicability. Depending on the location, budget, energy requirements or available technology, one fuel may be preferred over another. Experts say that it is still best to go with the clean fuel option, as this will result in longer component life and less performance degradation. But, thanks to the cutting-edge auxiliary technologies introduced in today’s power generation technologies, even the less clean fuels become viable options in specific situations.

End 


Reference:
Steffens, David. “Lifecycle Cost Considerations when Choosing a Power Generation System”. Caterpillar Power Generation Systems. February 2013.


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Monday, October 31, 2016

The Importance of Scheduled Maintenance Planning in Ensuring the Efficiency of Power Plants

In our previous article, we spoke about lifecycle costs to consider when choosing a power generation system, like temporary power plants. We said that the costs include fuel, maintenance, and labor, among others. In line with our previous discussions, in this article, we’ll take a closer look at the importance of scheduled maintenance planning in ensuring the efficiency of a power plant.

Scheduled maintenance planning is a vital part of a preventive strategy that allows engineers and power plant operators to effectively plan for repairs, maintenance costs, and system downtime. A proper maintenance program should identify maximum run hours for each component in the power plant system, and also consider maintenance intervals, required spare parts, manpower, routine analysis and inspection details.


Now, let us throw the spotlight on maintenance intervals.

Maintenance intervals are the time periods between system inspection or overhauls and should be scheduled in parallel with the component run hour lifetime and operating requirements. As some engine and auxiliary parts, like fuel injection nozzles, piston rings, and bearings, are designed to be wear components, they should be regularly checked and replaced. The schedule can vary from power plant to power plant, especially if a condition-based maintenance program is utilized. Bear in mind that under condition-based maintenance program, wear components are only replaced if wear limits are exceeded or if the components exceed other replacement criteria previously set. Thus, when following a condition-based maintenance program, the lifetime of components is adjusted in consideration of operating parameters and data harvested from regular inspections.

As part of a predictive maintenance program, engineers and power plant operators should assess the component wear as observed during regular scheduled inspections. They should also record operating data on a regular basis and trend data points to provide a clear picture of any necessary adjustments in order to maximize power plant efficiency and help foresee any possible failures. If this is successfully done, this can help power plant operators mitigate the risk of unscheduled outages.

One can never overstate the importance of electricity in our world today. In almost everything that we do, we require electricity, so a constant and reliable supply of power is non-negotiable. It is, therefore, paramount for a power services provider to have an effective and well-planned preventive maintenance strategy to preclude the occurrence of unplanned power outages and ensure the efficient and cost-effective operation of a power plant.

End

Reference:
Steffens, David. “Lifecycle Cost Considerations when Choosing a Power Generation System”. Caterpillar Power Generation Systems. February 2013.


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Altaaqa Global
Tel: +971 56 1749505
rbagatsing@altaaqaglobal.com