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Specially designed off-grid ‘power house’ for a remote quarry

Especially in remote areas where conditions such as heat and dust play a role, you must collaborate with the customer to come up with a tailor-made solution.

Franz Hullegie, Bredenoord

The Curacao Mining Company has been extracting limestone (phosphate rock) from a quarry near Table Mountain in Curaçao for almost 150 years. Limestone is an essential raw material used in the production of things such as glass, concrete, infrastructure, animal feed and drinking water. Located on the eastern tip of Curaçao, Table Mountain relies on off-grid power to meet its energy needs.

Reconditioned generator in a new ‘power house’
When the mining company decided to upgrade its old generators, the first requirement was to construct a new ‘power house’ that would keep out the heat and dust. Easy access for maintenance and responsible oil and diesel storage were also important factors. Besides operational reliability, the new generators also had to meet certain sustainability requirements.

Sustainability and energy efficiency through power management
The mining company engaged Bredenoord because it was able to supply the hardware and also had the requisite expertise in optimal installation on site. The whole quarry is powered by two 1250 kVA Cummins generators and a 500 kVA generator with a Volvo engine. The quarry usually runs on one generator. If more power is needed, another generator automatically starts up. This power management solution means that the smallest generator clocks up relatively few hours. So the company decided to install a reconditioned generator that would deliver full reliability and sustainability at a low cost. With the quarry only operating during the day, little power is needed at night. A separate 100 kVA generator was therefore installed to meet the basic power needs at night. This small generator communicates and automatically synchronises with the main generators. This smart power management solution saves the client thousands of dollars in fuel and maintenance costs every year.

Filters and discipline create a spotless ‘power house’ for the quarry power plant
The experts at Bredenoord helped to design the ‘power house’ from the start, combining their knowledge gained from years of delivering energy solutions in hospitals, roadwork environments and remote areas. At Table Mountain, the main threat to the equipment is dust. Both the alternator and the engine are air cooled. If the air contains too much dust, the filters get clogged and the radiator and alternator wear more rapidly. Keeping the machines clean also simplifies preventive maintenance and enables leaks to be detected faster. For this reason, the building that houses the generators is fitted with a state-of-the-art filtering system. All external air passes through specially designed filters, which ensure that the interior is kept clean. Account manager Franz Hullegie: “The ‘power house’ has now been operating for over 6 years. Yet, when you enter the building, you still feel as if you should take off your shoes because it’s so clean.”

Transferring knowledge to local engineers
The level of cleanliness is partly due to the local engineers who have maintained the ‘power house’ from the beginning. Bredenoord engineers ensured that their local counterparts were involved throughout the process, from design to delivery and commissioning. Having also undergone extensive training, the local engineers take care of maintenance and resolve minor faults entirely independently. The quarry in Curaçao was one of the first to be equipped with online monitoring. This makes it possible to remotely monitor machine performance and faults. Bredenoord assists the local engineers with maintenance and optimisation, acting as a helpdesk in the Netherlands. “The system records messages,” says Hullegie. “This allows us to identify patterns and advise on preventive maintenance and fault rectification.”

Any questions regarding this case? Please contact Zef Jansen.

Zef Jans

Zef Jansen
Area Manager Solutions

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