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 Electricity News
Sugar producer Illovo says there is a major opportunity to alleviate South Africa’s immediate power crisis and reduce rural poverty by more fully exploiting the industry’s electricity cogeneration potential. But MD Gavin Dalgleish says this potential will only be...
Power utility Eskom said it would extend power cuts to 2 000 MW of electricity from 12:00 to 22:00 on Friday due to a shortage of generating capacity. The cash-strapped State utility, which has been forced to reduce electricity supply in Africa's most advanced...
Recent Research Reports
Steel 2015: A review of South Africa's steel sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Steel 2015 report provides an overview of the key developments in the global steel industry and particularly of South Africa’s steel sector over the past year, including details of production and consumption, as well as the country's primary carbon...
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.
This Week's Magazine
While economic forecasts for the African continent are most favourable, African airlines may not be able to benefit from the expected growth in the region’s gross domestic product (GDP), International Air Transport Association VP: Africa Raphael Kuuchi has warned....
The Automotive Production and Development Programme (APDP) will need to change substantially post 2020, says Metair Investments South African operations COO Ken Lello. “We must not make tweaks. We have to change. What we are doing is not sustainable.”
Banking group Absa’s forecast is for the rand to end the year at around R13 against the dollar, weakening further to R13.50 by 2016, says Absa sectoral analyst Jacques du Toit. He warns that possible interest rate hikes in the US may see capital being pulled from...
The Dispute Resolution Centre at the Bargaining Council for the Civil Engineering Industry (BCCEI) is now open to handle party-to-party disputes. The BCCEI represents the interests of all level four to nine Construction Industry Development Board companies.
Communications technology firm Ericsson sub-Saharan Africa head Fredrik Jejdling says the company’s commitment to sustainability and corporate responsibility has been integrated into all facets of its operations, which has provided it with sustainable revenue...