11 April 2013 – The largest electricity consumer in South Africa’s Western Cape region undertook an energy efficiency improvement project that has resulted in R90 million energy cost savings in one year. Saldanha steel works is a flat rolling integrated steel facility that produces 1.2 million hot rolled coils (HRC). HRC from Saldanha is mainly exported, with about 20% sold on the local market. There are three main areas within the plant; iron making (producing liquid iron and direct reduced iron); steel making that has two converter arc furnaces, ladle furnaces and a thin slab caster; followed by rolling with a hot strip mill and temper mill.

The plant is establishing a biogas (from a bio-digester) facility to replace its liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) in certain areas of the plant. This is in addition to a saving of 10.6 MW, totalling 6.6%, achieved on its 160 MW baseline in 2012, or 92.8 GWh.

Saldanha launched its energy management strategy in 2010. Initially the potential savings were determined through an existing project list and an energy audit on the plant. ISO 50001 was implemented and energy management is now part of the facility’s daily routines.  

Among the energy saving initiatives is a waste heat project at the plant’s roller hearth furnace where waste heat was used to replace a diesel heater at the air separation plant. The facility also undertook optimisation projects at the water plant on pump systems that required no capital expenditure.