Inter-University Programmes

Power Plant Performance and Testing (PP-P&T)

Develop and facilitate the implementation of test and measurement systems at Eskom plant to enhance the measurement accuracy of power plant related control parameters. The project also aims at developing numerical tools to validate measurement and determine the impact of uncertainties in the performance assessment. This will improve the skills base and fundamental understanding of Eskom and non-Eskom engineers in the area of performance testing and optimisation.

Power Plant Condition Monitoring (PP-CM)

  • Develop on-line condition monitoring algorithms for power plant components and systems
  • Development of models for boiler heat exchangers, boiler furnaces, the draught group, control systems, turbine and pollutant abatement systems
  • Building competencies in the field of model based machine learning and principal component analysis for application to power plant processes.

Emissions Control SC – Water Management IUP

Water available from storage dams or rivers has to be cleaned before it can be used for consumption or cooling in a power plant, for example.  After the cooling water has been used it becomes unfit for further use and must be cleaned again.  Eskom uses a large amount of water in all their power plants and to limit or even reduce the amount of water used during the various processes, the recovery and treatment of the water for re-use is important and requires a fresh look at current as well as future technologies and processes.

Emissions Control SC – Township Dwelling Design IUP

This project addresses primarily air quality issues as well as employment, shelter, health, heating and cooking facilities of poor communities living nearby Eskom’s power stations. The idea is to find alternatives for shack shelters through community friendly dwelling designs utilizing Coal Combustion Products (CCPs) including fly ash, slag and later gypsum as isolation materials in pre-fabricated walls, employing community members in fabrication. Also to find solutions to the adverse health impacts of emissions from in-house heating and cooking using solid fuels, usually coal. Research is ongoing for almost zero-emissions stoves that also offer economical alternatives for heating and cooking requirements.

Smart Generation IUP

Development and facilitation of a real time cost analysis tool for power generated from coal fired power plant under variable load conditions in the South African electricity market. The generation and integration of accurate plant geometry and measured process parameters will be used for an online mass and energy balance leading to coal flow prediction for the forecasting of power production cost. This will be achieved by employing state of the art CAD (Computer Aided Design) and CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics) systems.

Plant Life-Cycle Management (PLCM)

  • The Inter-University Progamme for Plant Life-Cycle Management focusses on analysis, technologies and modelling to enhance decision-making during all stages of the Asset Life-Cycle.
  • Life-Cycle Decision-Making projects include Midlife Refurbishment and Plant Renewal Utilising “Lean” Methodologies and Techno Economic RAM Modelling.
  • Focus on Work Management & Spares/Material include the Simulation and Optimisation of Outage Criteria under Varying Load Conditions and Rigorous Multi Criteria Models for Optimisation of Spares Using Condition Information.
  • Projects focussing on Plant Operations include the Development of Algorithms for Collating Disassociated Information Sources on Site and various approaches to Maximising Flexibility and Performance of Installed Plant.
  • Projects aimed at Equipment Reliability/ Maintenance Strategy improvement include “Risk Based” Maintenance Strategies, Maintenance Strategy Optimisation, RAM Modelling of Plant under Varying Load Conditions and Turbine Overhaul Assessment.

Power System Simulation (PSS)

RT&D proposals being developed for two Power System Simulation IUP research projects (TESP application submitted):

Flexibility on the future grid:

  • Conventional and renewable generation impact on SA power system flexible operation,
  • Flexible operation’s impact on Eskom’s conventional generation plants,
  • Capturing flexibility requirements in planning and operations.

Impact of Distributed Energy Resources (distributed generation, energy storage, demand side management):

  • on quality of supply, safety, financial viability, planning and operations

Component Life Cycle Management (CLCM)

The principal research activities of the MM specialisation cover several aspects of component life cycle management.  The activity can be divided into two focus areas: (i) developing and refining tools for inspecting and evaluating materials/component condition, and (ii) understanding the relationships between material/component condition and remaining life time for optimising component life cycle management.

Smart Grid #1 – Transmission

The concept of the smart grid implies greater controller intelligence and network automation. The future grid will include more renewable energy sources such as wind and solar. This will require more flexibility in the power system. Conventional generators will have to be more flexible and power flows could reverse during periods of high renewable generation. The flow of reactive power will have to be carefully managed.

Smart Grids #2

This IUP is related to the new area of smart grids. We will study various aspect of this quickly evolving area with an emphasis on distribution although other areas will be considered. Areas to consider:

  • Smart grid system simulation and hardware studies
  • Communications – particularly wireless
  • Distributed generation and energy storage
  • Smart metering and energy control