VENTURES: John Thompson Lands R100m Boiler Contract
Recent Western Cape Business News
ILLOVO Sugar’s Ubombo Mill in Swaziland has awarded Bellville-based John Thompson a turnkey contract worth over R100 million to produce an industrial water-tube boiler that will form part of a co-generation plant being established at the mill.
The co-generation plant will produce electricity for the mill’s internal consumption and for local agricultural operations, as well as for sale to the Swaziland Electricity Company. It will boost the mill’s hourly output by more than 20% when it goes on stream in mid-2011.
The boiler contract, is for the design, manufacture, supply, installation, commissioning and testing of the 105 t/h boiler, which will connect to a 24 MW extraction condensing turbo-alternator set. The contract also includes training of mill staff to operate and maintain the boiler and ancillary equipment.
The boiler, which will operate at 400 degrees C, is a girth-supported, two-drum type unit, which will fire a fibrous mixture consisting mostly of bagasse, plus a small proportion of biomass obtained from waste material left over from cane harvesting. The boiler is also designed to fire coal.
“This boiler will feature a fully water-cooled combustion chamber to facilitate the efficient combustion of the three different types of fuels to be burned,” says Russel Warren, John Thompson’s general manager, industrial watertube boilers.
“We have produced many boilers in the past capable of firing bagasse and coal. This unit however has been specifically designed to make use of the substantial energy content in the cane trash, which otherwise would be left in the field after harvesting or, worse still, burned there and causing pollution problems.”
Sylvain Serret, Illovo Sugar’s group project management and implementation general manager, says in addition to being price competitive, John Thompson’s submission fully met the contract’s technical criteria.
“As part of a thorough evaluation we undertook prior to awarding the contract, we looked at a boiler the company had supplied and installed at another sugar mill. We were impressed with all aspects of its design and construction, including the compactness of the boiler, the boiler controls, the bolted steel structures, the flue-gas ducting and the general finish down to walkways and kickplates.”
“We also examined reports on the boiler’s operational stability, which was very good. The parastatic load was a lot lower than those of the other boilers we adjudicated from other suppliers,” he says.
He adds that John Thompson’s long track record with Illovo Sugar, its good delivery record on previous contracts and reliable servicing of existing boilers also counted in its favour in being awarded the latest contract.
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