Apr 17, 2009
Engineering company supplies services to PBMRBack
© Reuse this
M-Tech Industrial CEO Dr Pieter Rousseau says that the company has been involved on a contract basis with the PBMR project since 1999. M-Tech Industrial also originally developed, and is the design authority for, the Flownex software used to model the dynamic behaviour of the reactor and main power system for the PBMR plant.
"M-Tech Industrial's involvement in the project facilitated the expansion of its in-house developed integrated simulation and design software, Flownex. The software has a much wider relevance than the 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," explains Rousseau.
He adds that the expansion of the software's capabilities also spurred the local development of an internationally competitive industrial plant simulator platform (IPS), funded by the Innovation Fund.
Following the success of the Flownex supply, more contracts followed to provide a wider range of specialist engineering services to the PBMR project.
"The PBMR is a unique 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 engineering expertise and is set to continue to do so through its engagement with different tertiary education institutions around the country," says Rousseau.
M-Tech Industrial also designed, constructed and operated a number of first-of-a-kind non-nuclear test facilities, situated on the North-West University's Potchefstroom campus. The facilities are used to support the development of the PBMR plant and facilitate training of undergraduate and post-graduate students in parallel with the commercial project development.
Rousseau adds that international interest in the PBMR test facilities designed and built by M Tech Industrial is substantial and it has already been visited by more than 800 delegates from different companies and universities in North America, Europe, Singapore, Japan, China, South Korea and South Africa.
In 2003, the company released its Flownex software. M-Tech Industrial has sold several licenses for the software internationally.
M-Tech Industrial was awarded the IPS simulator development contract by the Innovation Fund in 2006. In the same year, it successfully commissioned and operated the high pressure test unit (HPTU) for the PBMR.
The company designed, constructed, commissioned and operated the unit, which is situated on the North West University campus. Its purpose is to study in detail the different heat transfer and fluid flow phenomena associated with pebble-bed reactors.
In 2007, M-Tech Industrial also successfully designed, constructed, commissioned and operated the high temperature test unit for PBMR, which is also situated on the North West University campus and has the same purpose as the HPTU.
The first is the in-line water heating technology, since applied extensively in large DSM projects for sanitary water heating in mine residences. These projects were funded by State-owned power utility Eskom's DSM initiative to alleviate the peak load on the national electricity supply grid.
A product range of hot water heat pumps also used for large scale sanitary water heating is part of the second DSM technology. Rousseau says that the range significantly improves energy efficiency benefits when compared with conventional technologies.
The third technology is a novel modular air-cooling unit (ACU) used in working environments in underground mines. He says that the ACU offers distinct energy efficiency and power consumption advantages.
Global Economic Crisis
Besides its involvement in the PBMR project, it has ongoing projects in the energy efficiency and DSM sector, and also has an established heat pump and air-cooling equipment range used in industrial and commercial applications including water heating and mine cooling.
"The company supplies engineering services to Eskom's capital expansion programme for coal and gas power plants. Furthermore, it is indirectly involved in developing plant and engineering simulators for power stations based on its locally developed simulator platform. However, the global financial crisis has significantly increased uncertainty of sustained growth going into the future," concludes Rousseau.
M-Tech Industrial, in support of PBMR, is part of an international team, led by US multinational nuclear technologies company Westinghouse Electric Company, involved with the US Department of Energy's Next Generation Nuclear Plant initiative.
Edited by: Laura Tyrer© Reuse this Comment Guidelines (150 word limit)
Other Electrical Power Generation and Transmission News
Johannesburg-based company Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems Africa, which is constructing boilers for State-owned power utility Eskom’s new Medupi and Kusile power stations, announced a revised top structure, including a new executive chairperson and a new chief...
Recent Research Reports
Projects in Progress 2015 - First Edition (PDF Report)
In fact, this edition of Creamer Media’s Projects in Progress 2015 supplement tracks developments taking place under the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme, which has had four bidding rounds. It appears to remain a shining light on the...
Electricity 2015: A review of South Africa's electricity sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Electricity 2015 report provides an overview of State-owned power utility Eskom and independent power producers, as well as electricity planning, transmission, distribution and the theft thereof, besides other issues.
Construction 2015: A review of South Africa’s construction sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Construction 2015 Report examines South Africa’s construction industry over the past 12 months. The report provides insight into the business environment; the key participants in the sector; local construction demand; geographic diversification;...
Liquid Fuels 2014 - A review of South Africa's Liquid Fuels sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Liquid Fuels 2014 Report examines these issues, focusing on the business environment, oil and gas exploration, the country’s feedstock supplies, the development of South Africa’s biofuels industry, fuel pricing, competition in the sector, the...
Water 2014: A review of South Africa's water sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Water 2014 report considers the aforementioned issues, not only in the South African context, but also in the African and global context, and examines the issues of water and sanitation, water quality and the demand for water, among others.
Defence 2014: A review of South Africa's defence industry (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Defence 2014 report examines South Africa’s defence industry, with particular focus on the key participants in the sector, the innovations that have come out of the sector, local and export demand, South Africa’s controversial multibillion-rand...
This Week's Magazine
Projected capital expenditure (capex) in the South African automotive assembly industry should reach a record R7.48-billion this year, says the National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of South Africa (Naamsa) in its 2014 fourth quarter business review. Capex...
After several years of navigating project-threatening red tape and currency fluctuations, the 4.4 MW Bronkhorstspruit biogas power plant, which will supply clean energy to a leading automotive manufacturer in Gauteng, is expected to enter production before June....
South African paper and pulp producer Sappi reported earlier this month that it would build a pilot plant for the production of low-cost Cellulose NanoFibrils, or CNF (nanocellulose) at the Brightlands Chemelot Campus in Sittard-Geleen in the Netherlands.
The long-term outlook for Nigeria is a country that has the potential to be very strong. So affirmed International Monetary Fund (IMF) Nigeria Mission Chief and Senior Resident Representative Dr Gene Leon on recently. "But we are starting from a point of huge...
Poor infrastructure planning and inadequate maintenance are becoming increasingly problematic for new developments and the associated infrastructure required to support such developments. In many urban and rural municipalities, the state of infrastructure has been...