AECI eyes power generation

5 March 2008

South African chemicals, explosives and property company AECI has proposed a number of ways to tackle the country’s electricity shortage, including the possibility of generating power from coal or gas at its Modderfontein site outside Johannesburg.

“A feasibility study for a co-generation plant, based on use of natural gas from Mozambique and located at Modderfontein in Gauteng, indicated that such a plant, producing about 25 megawatts of electricity and simultaneously producing enough process steam to meet the requirements of the Modderfontein operations, could be economically viable,” AECI spokesperson Fulvia Putero told SAinfo this week.

“The capital investment required was estimated at about R200-million and the project would take about two years to implement.”

Apart from securing the group’s own energy supply by generating electricity at the power station, fuelled by natural gas supplied by Sasol Gas, the company would be able to sell surplus electricity back to the national grid.

However, Putero pointed that despite initial plans, Sasol Gas had informed them that sufficient natural gas might not be available for the project, meaning that AECI could not currently proceed with the planned tender to Eskom.

The tender submission deadline for state company Eskom’s call for co-generation projects by leading industry players has since been extended to end-May 2008. Other companies that have recently expressed an interest in co-generation projects include agri-processing company Tongaat Hulett.

“Alternative options, such as use of coal-based co-generation, are currently being assessed,” Putero pointed out.

AECI chief executive Graham Edwards told Engineering News last week that the company was looking at a number of alternative options for fuel, including methane gas from a nearby landfill, which could also earn the company carbon credits

Another option was to enter into an agreement with a coal mining company to secure coal supplies over the long term. The viability of such a plant required security of fuel supply over the long term, and at economical prices, Edwards told Engineering News.

SAinfo reporter

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