Standby power generator solution for ZAC

Babcock to install the largest Volvo Penta powered synchronised unit in South Africa

Babcock has been a significant player in the provision of standby and prime power generation solutions in southern Africa since 2006 and will soon be installing the largest Volvo Penta powered synchronised standby power generator solution in South Africa at Zululand Anthracite Colliery’s (ZAC) mine near Ulundi. Electricity supply for three mining sites, Outcrop, Deep E (DE) and Ngwabe, will be backed up by a series of synchronised Volvo Penta powered generators to maintain operations when grid power supply is interrupted.

Standby power generator solution for ZAC

Ngwabe is the largest of the three sites consisting of 8 x 700 kVA generators feeding a 400 V to 11 kV step-up transformer which in turn supplies electricity to the site. The generators and related gear will be supplied in a tiered installation process over the course of approximately four months. Four Babcock-designed and built power generators have already been installed at the Outcrop mine, with the second installation of another four generators at the DE site. All three mines are underground, deep level, narrow seam operations that utilise continuous drill and blast mining techniques to extract anthracite ore.

Critical for ensuring sufficient ventilation underground, fans supplying fresh air to below-surface mining activities cannot be interrupted for any period of time, and in the event of a power failure, the synchronised generator units using 16 litre Volvo Penta diesel engines combined with 630 kVA and 700 kVA Engga alternators will provide back-up power. The power generators respond well to massive impact loads and capable of generating sufficient power for the entire mine’s power needs, initially firing at full capacity to deal with the massive impact load and switching off units as demand stabilises.

Managing Director of Babcock’s Industrial business, Deon Verreyne, says that Ngwabe is the first South African mining operation to utilise eight Volvo Penta powered synchronised power generators, and that Babcock will also be providing back-up and support services to all three mines. “The units can be remotely monitored through a telemetry system that facilitates the predictive maintenance of the generators, and assists with the early detection of faults, as well as compiling detailed reports of engine hours,” says Verreyne.  

Babcock’s telemetry solutions make use of locally developed ‘Machine to Machine’ (M2M) remote platforms designed to provide proactive status and possible failure visibility of engines and generators deployed in the field, as well as make critical generator and engine data available within moments of an event. “Babcock’s telemetry system will link all 16 of ZAC’s generator units to a central network that can be broadcast to anyone with the application on their computer or mobile device. ZAC can remotely diagnose the generators’ status and performance without physically needing to go to the mine,” says Verreyne.

Owned by Menar, a mining resources investment company, ZAC is South Africa’s sole producer and exporter of prime anthracite coal. Their relationship with Babcock began in 2017 when the mining enterprise purchased Volvo Construction Equipment supplied by Babcock, including articulated haulers, crawler excavators and wheel loaders, for ZAC’s discard processing plant in KwaZulu-Natal.

“Babcock proved we can be trusted to deliver by providing a flexible equipment package that ideally suited ZAC’s unique needs,” comments Verreyne. “The successful partnership with Babcock’s construction equipment business paved the way for establishing a relationship between ZAC and our Industrial business for the generators.”

Volvo Penta generator engines offer world-leading diesel technology and efficient, powerful engines that optimise functionality and operations. This benefits customers in terms of uptime, economy, flexibility and emission engineering. The Volvo Penta engines supplied by Babcock range from 5 litre 4 cylinder, to 16 litre 6 cylinder fixed and variable speed, producing 75 to 700 kVA.

Babcock’s Industrial business is a trusted supplier of customised standby power generation solutions that meet prime or back-up requirements for industries ranging from large industrial and mining to commercial applications. The company’s generator solutions are flexible and cost-effective and specifically designed to meet individual customer requirements with an expert team of engineers providing both innovative solutions and aftermarket support. Babcock designs, manufactures and assembles mobile and static power generator units and can assist customers in monitoring the systems, at the same time addressing performance concerns and helping to streamline and improve business operations.

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