Aug 07, 2009
Engineering firm completes test programmeBack
© Reuse this
The results of the high-temperature test allow for the development of advanced simulation models of the reactor heat transfer and fluid flow phenomena, says M-Tech CEO Dr Pieter Rousseau.
He says that this allows for more detailed modelling of the plant’s performance under a wide range of operating conditions.
M-Tech has supplied a range of specialist thermal-fluid systems analysis, simulation and engineering design services to the PBMR Company for the PBMR project on a contract basis since 1999.
Rousseau says that the company’s initial involvement was through the original design and supply of the specialist thermal-fluid simulation and analysis software, Flownex, in a competitive bid to model the dynamic behaviour of the main power system of the PBMR as part of the design process. The success of this resulted in more contracts to provide a wider range of specialist engineering services.
M-Tech is also involved in the design of the fuel particle coater facility for the future fuel manufacturing plant and in developing the process heat applications for the PBMR reactor, which is now receiving increased attention.
He explains that Flownex soft- ware is used to model the dynamic behaviour of the reactor and the main power system of the PBMR plant. The company has also designed, constructed and oper- ated a number of nonnuclear facilities, situated on the Potchef-stroom campus of the North West University, to support the development of the PBMR plant.
Rousseau says that all the test facilities designed and built by M-Tech are situated on the campus and the training of undergraduate and postgraduate students is facilitated in parallel with the commercial project development.
“The PBMR is a distinctive project that could contribute to establishing South Africa in the world nuclear market as a strategic supplier of high-temperature gas-cooled reactor technology. The project has already contributed significantly to the development of local engi- neering expertise and manpower, and is set to continue to do so by its engagement of various tertiary education insti- tutions around the country,” says Rousseau.
“International interest in these plants is substantial and it has already been visited by more than 800 delegates from different companies and universities in the US, Europe, Singapore, Japan, China and South Africa,” says Rousseau.
Meanwhile, he notes that the company’s involvement in the project has facilitated the further development of Flownex. The in-house-developed software has a wider relevance not only for PBMR application. It is also successfully used in the design and increased efficiency of coal-fired power plants, water and gas reticulation networks, gas turbine power plants and heat exchanger networks.
M-Tech has released a new generation of the software, Flownex Simulator Environment. This includes extensive new-user interface improvements and integrated plant simulation and design features.
Rousseau points out that the expansion of the software’s capabilities has also resulted in the development of an internationally competitive industrial plant simulator platform funded by the Department of Science and Technology’s partner in facilitating technological innovation, the Innovation Fund.
Besides the company’s involvement in the PBMR project, it has ongoing projects in the energy efficiency and demand-side management (DSM) sector. It also has an established heat pump and air-cooling equipment range that is used in industrial and commercial applications for water heating, as well as mine cooling.
Rousseau says that M-Tech has developed three distinctive energy efficiency and DSM technologies. These projects were funded by State-owned power utility Eskom’s DSM initiative to alleviate the peak load on the national electricity supply grid. The first is in-line water heating technology which has been applied extensively in large DSM projects for sanitary water heating in mine residences.
The company reports that the second technology is a product range of hot water heat pumps that are also used for large-scale sanitary water heating, but with significantly improved energy efficiency benefits when compared with conventional technologies.
The air-cooling unit (ACU) is the third technology, and is a modular ACU used to cool the working environment in underground mining applications. The company says that ACU offers distinct advantages to energy efficiency and also power consumption.
He concludes that M-Tech will continue to supply the PBMR project with its Flownex software for reactor and plant design and increased efficiency, as well as associated engineering consultation services. It also continues to be involved in the development of the process heat applications of the PBMR reactor, such as seawater desalination and hydrogen production. It will also be involved in the detail design and development of the fuel particle coater facility for the future fuel manufacturing plant.
Edited by: Brindaveni Naidoo© Reuse this Comment Guidelines (150 word limit)
Other Electricity News
Recent Research Reports
Water 2015: A review of South Africa's water sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Water 2015 Report considers the aforementioned issues, not only in the South African context but also in the African and global context in terms of supply and demand, water stress and insecurity, and access to water and sanitation, besides others.
Input Sector Review: Pumps 2015 (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s 2015 Input Sector Review on Pumps provides an overview of South Africa’s pumps industry with particular focus on pump manufacture and supply, aftermarket services, marketing strategies, local and export demand, imports, sector support, investment...
Liquid Fuels 2015: A review of South Africa's liquid fuels sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Liquid Fuels 2015 Report examines these issues in the context of South Africa’s business environment; oil and gas exploration; fuel pricing; the development of the country’s biofuels industry; the logistics of transporting liquid fuels; and...
Road and Rail 2015: A review of South Africa's road and rail sectors (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Road and Rail 2015 report examines South Africa’s road and rail transport system, with particular focus on the size and state of the country’s road and rail infrastructure and network, the funding and maintenance of these respective networks, and...
Defence 2015: A review of South Africa's defence sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Coal 2015 report examines South Africa’s coal industry with regards to the business environment, the key participants in the sector, local demand, export sales and coal logistics, projects being undertaken by the large and smaller participants in the...
Real Economy Year Book 2015 (PDF Report)
There are very few beacons of hope on South Africa’s economic horizon. Economic growth is weak, unemployment is rising, electricity supply is insufficient to meet demand and/or spur growth, with poor prospects for many of the commodities mined and exported. However,...
This Week's Magazine
Additive manufacturing, better known as 3D printing, has the potential to completely change the relationships between individual consumers, professional designers and manufacturers. So argued Loughborough University Reader in Computer Aided Product Design Dr Ian...
Airbus Defence and Space: Military Aircraft has highlighted that its A330 Multirole Tanker Transport (MRTT) has significant commonalities with the Airbus A330-200 commercial airliner, upon which it is based. The South African Air Force (SAAF) once operated a fleet of...
Financial services provider Nedbank launched the second edition of its Carbon Footprinting Guide earlier this month, which is aimed at demystifying carbon footprint approaches and help readers grasp the main concepts of carbon measuring, monitoring, reporting and...
This year marks the thirtieth anniversary of Caterpillar’s first backhoe loader. This also coincides with the worldwide release of its latest-generation F2 series backhoe loader, which was launched at supply chain services company Barloworld Logistics’ Big Dig Day in...
A shortage of software engineers is leading to fewer information technology (IT) projects in private and public sector organisations. This also places a dampener on the economy, as IT is an integral part of business and civil service, says University of Witwatersrand...