An intensive energy saving study at one of Eskom’s power stations, concluded that an annual energy saving of R377 000 can be obtained by merely converting the oil used in the mill’s gearbox to a fit-for-purpose synthetic lubricant.  The study, conducted by Eskom and engineers from Castrol was part of a study in which gearbox lubricant was identified as a key area for potential savings.  By changing to a synthetic lubricant, it was estimated that 115MWh could be saved.

Comparative testing was done on the main mill gearbox at the Matla Power Station in Mpumalanga near Secunda. With 12 coal fired power stations in it’s portfolio, Eskom could potentially save millions of rands annually.

The study, which included a series of tests conducted over a period of two weeks on the same mill, measured energy consumption from the switchgear room and the heat generated in the gearbox.

Mervin Reddy, BP Africa Technical Services Manager, says: “We were delighted with the results which are similar to those conducted on other test sites around the world. By switching oils we were able to record a 3.4% saving in the net power used, which is a great proof point of our synthetic oil’s effectiveness.”

He said the evaluation was initiated by a joint team of representatives from the plant and oversight was provided and data ratified by Leslie Barker, Eskom Chief’s Engineering Technologist and Castrol.

“Large and small companies all around the world are looking to improve their efficiencies to save money and it’s amazing to see how by making relatively small changes at operational level, significant savings can easily be achieved, ” says Reddy.

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Well-oiled gears could save hundreds of thousands annually