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BY: Simone Liedtke

ELB Engineering Services has been successful in assisting State-owned Eskom’s Medupi power station, in Limpopo, to bring the dust handling plants under control, the company announced this week.

Now that the plant is in a more stable condition, ELB has implemented a preventive maintenance strategy, which is expected to help increase the availability and performance of the plant, thereby allowing units 2 and 3 at Medupi to continue putting power on the grid without any substantial delays.

Since January, ELB has been assisting with the operation and maintenance of units 2 and 3 at the dust handling plant and ash storage Silo 1, during a time when the embattled power utility’s systems were under pressure.

Owing to numerous technical and maintainability issues, which ELB said was “outside the control of Eskom”, both parties worked to overcome these challenges.

Since the start of the year, ELB’s operation and maintenance teams, in conjunction with Eskom, have managed to contain the dust leaks and replace faulty equipment with minimum outages of the two units to ensure supply of power to the grid.

The plant has since then largely been returned to a stable condition and any dust emissions are repaired immediately, ELB said, adding that this “ensures a clean plant and negates any health and safety issues”.

As a result, availability and performance of the plant has increased to “a reasonable level”.

ELB’s maintenance team was led by a team of ELB engineers who have extensive experience in dust handling systems, and who worked with the maintenance crews at the “coal face” to ensure that the correct work was prioritised.

ELB’s team also provided suggestions on how to optimise the system’s performance and continuously reviewed work procedures, which led to a reduction in the time taken to complete maintenance tasks.

The joint team – comprising members from ELB and Eskom Medupi – had the common goal of ensuring that the units could provide the maximum amount of power onto the grid, ELB noted.

“The collective teams have contributed to ensure that the work can be executed timeously and that the crews have what they require to execute the work.”