Global fossil fuel supply and cost remains volatile as the Russian invasion of Ukraine persists. Worldwide supply chains and inflation have been thrown into chaos. These circumstances are adding further pressure on the major sectors, which have the largest influence on global warming, to meet net-zero carbon emissions commitments. Buildings and cities, energy, transport, agriculture and industry sectors produce a combined massive 30.9 gigatonnes of greenhouse gas emissions annually, according to the United Nations Environment Programme’s (UNEP’s) 2020 edition of the Emissions Gap Report. Ultimately, there is an urgent need and great opportunity to develop greener technology.
In line with this, an impressive advancement in South African green initiatives is the South African Refrigeration & Air Conditioning Association’s (SARACCA’s) focus in this latest case study. Fifty-Two Engineering, members of SARACCA, recently completed a ventilation project for Anglo American. Mogalakwena platinum mine, located in Limpopo, South Africa, recently added a hydrogen production, storage, and refuelling complex on site to support their addition of a 2MW hydrogen-battery hybrid truck which is of Anglo American’s nuGen™ Zero Emission Haulage Solution (ZEHS). It is currently the world’s largest hydrogen-powered mine haul truck! As HVAC specialists, the Fifty-Two Engineering team were appointed to design ventilation systems in the plant where the hydrogen is produced, stored and used for fuelling.
Hydrogen is a greener alternative to fossil fuels that needs responsible handling due to its flammability when mixed with air. It is crucial to not only avoid leaks but ensure there is an instant plant shutdown in a potentially hazardous situation. The HVAC objective for this project was to create a ventilation system with an integrated monitoring and warning system for the plant to operate continuously and safely. “We designed a system that keeps the environment clean and forces filtered air into the electrolyser building where the hydrogen is produced and stored,” says David Townley at Fifty-Two Engineering. This building required 6 fan filter units where five run simultaneously to achieve the 12 air changes per hour (ACH). Each unit is fitted with a flow-pressure switch to monitor whether the fan is running. Should it be activated on a running unit, indicating a breakdown, the standby unit is activated, and an alarm will be raised at the HVAC panel in the main control room. Thereby maintaining optimum gas safety in the plant at all times and keeping the chain of production moving.
SARACCA is proud to support their members who are playing their part in a zero emissions future. The fact is that renewables are the way forward, and this hydrogen plant ventilation project is just one example of our industry striving for ambitious targets and spring boarding green development within South Africa. By becoming a SARACCA member, you too can have access to the latest information and training on greener, newer technologies.