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Energy management platform increases efficiency

VOLTVISION CUBE INSTALLATION VoltVision is transforming energy management in West African mines

FOUNDERS VoltVision founder and MD Manoli Yannaghas and director Malcolm Evans

13th October 2023

By: Simone Liedtke

Creamer Media Social Media Editor & Senior Writer

     

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While West Africa is home to a thriving mining industry, miners in the region face challenges, which are multifaceted in nature and range from power quality issues to supply chain concerns, coupled with the growing importance of environmental sustainability, says digitalised industrial power networks company VoltVision founder and CEO Manoli Yannaghas.

Within this context, the company’s energy management dashboard, or ViViD Platform, is “revolutionising energy management in West African mines” through its approach to data acquisition and analysis, which Yannaghas says “empowers mining companies to navigate challenges, improve efficiency and work toward sustainability”.

ViViD offers a two-part solution to address the unique challenges that mining companies in West Africa face.

The first part involves data acquisition, allowing for easy installation and cloud-based data storage because “liberating essential data from mines that may be remote and difficult to access is pivotal”.

The second part involves the “transformation of raw data into actionable insights through customised and user-friendly dashboards”.

The process begins with the integration of the system into existing mining infrastructure, allowing for data collection without having to buy extensive equipment.

This user-friendly solution is adaptable to a range of mining equipment, from meters to electrical devices, and it addresses a common challenge among many mining operations: limited access to critical data, often locked within on-site storage facilities.

VoltVision aims to “liberate this invaluable data” and make it readily accessible to the mine owner. Once this data is established within the platform, the core competency of the team comes into play.

“These insights are carefully tailored to cater to a diverse audience within the mining sector, from electrical engineers to process engineers and maintenance professionals. What sets this approach apart is the commitment to simplicity over complexity. Instead of inundating clients with an array of dashboards, the focus is on delivering a select few, intuitively designed interfaces.”

Yannaghas adds that these dashboards empower clients to “swiftly identify and respond to issues, streamlining decision-making processes”.

The platform also combines data analytics with deep knowledge of electrical systems and mining operations, making it unique, compared with other solutions on the market.

While discreet about specific savings, Yannaghas notes that the ViViD Platform has consistently delivered cost reductions for mining companies across West Africa.

Savings – typically ranging from 1% to 12%, depending on the mine's circumstances –are effected because of improved energy management, enhanced power quality and billing verification, demonstrating the platform's tangible financial benefits.

Future Trends

The future of energy management in mining will likely witness the integration of more hybrid systems as renewables gain prominence, Yannaghas states.

As a result, accurate high resolution data across all power generation is essential to boost the impact of renewable generation. It also drives centralised monitoring of power across multiple mining sites, which is expected to become more prevalent, allowing for effective oversight of key performance indicators and rapid response to power-related issues.

He notes that, as the mining industry evolves, data-driven solutions, such as the ViViD Platform, will “continue to play a pivotal role in optimising energy usage, reducing costs and achieving sustainability goals”.

One of the foremost concerns for mining companies operating in West Africa is the quality of power they receive from the grid, with the outages, voltage dips and consequent blackouts disrupting mining operations and affecting their consistency.

This challenge highlights the need for reliable and high-quality power sources, such as diesel generators, and ensuring a secure supply of fuel for these generators is vital, considering the region's volatility.

However, optimising the efficiency of these generators has become increasingly critical, especially considering environmental, social and governance (ESG) pressures.

“The abundant sunshine in many parts of West Africa makes solar energy a promising renewable source for mining operations. Installing solar power systems seamlessly into existing electrical networks is a priority, given the intermittency of solar energy, owing to factors like cloud cover. Balancing the energy mix with renewables, like solar, is key to achieving sustainability goals.”

However, Yannaghas underscores that understanding energy consumption patterns and system capacities is crucial before substantial investments can be made in solar infrastructure.

Additionally, as environmental sustainability is a growing concern worldwide, and mining companies are under increasing pressure to reduce their carbon footprint, the ViViD Platform's data-driven approach helps mining operations to become more efficient, ultimately contributing to sustainability goals.

“By understanding energy consumption and emissions at a granular level, mining companies can make targeted improvements. The platform also supports reporting requirements for ESG and market reports by giving clients access to time stamped, category one data, ensuring transparency and accountability in emissions reduction efforts.”

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter

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