PPT 2.6MB - Energy Efficiency Opportunities


Energy Efficiency



September 2011

Bruce Philpott

Energy Champion

Simcoa Operations Pty Ltd

Presentation Overview

Background on Simcoa

Silicon production process

Simcoa’s energy profile

EEO Opportunities – 2 examples

Evaluation of the EEO process

Simcoa Operations Pty Ltd

Silicon Production

Simcoa Operations Pty Ltd

• Simcoa is a fully integrated silicon smelting operation located in the

Kemerton Industrial Park

• Australia’s only silicon producer

• The site consists of a sawmill, two charcoal retorts, two 27MVA submerged arc furnaces, a filter house , a product handling plant and baghouse as well as site services, laboratory, administration and maintenance areas.

Kemerton Silicon Smelter

The Silicon Industry

• Silicon is used in both chemical and metallurgical processes, ultimately producing a range of high-tech products

• The majority of the world’s silicon is produced in China, Europe and South


The Silicon Industry

• Silicon is produced by the reduction of quartz at 3000 - 4000°C using a carbon reductant

• SiO2 + C → Si + CO2

• Particularly carbon and energy intensive

• International benchmark in process efficiency

Silicon Products

• PV Solar Cells

• Silicone rubber

• Synthetic oil

• Optical fibre

• High strength aluminum alloys

• Silicon chips

• Synthetic quartz

Energy Profile




Natural Gas









• Total energy use at the Kemerton site is approximately 1.5 PJ per year.

The submerged arc furnaces use about 90% of the site’s electrical power with a load of 41 MW

• The process is highly endothermic requiring approx 11 MWh/tonne of silicon

• The furnaces are currently operating at worlds best practice levels in terms of electrical efficiencies, so opportunities for improvement are limited


Energy Efficiency Initiatives

• Considerable scope for projects that can capture and use waste heat from the smelting process or minimize furnace downtime.

• Projects that recover energy (waste heat) are normally only feasible if considered at the design stage.

Energy Savings through EEO

• Assessment identified 10 opportunities with a total energy saving of 41,000 GJ

• 4 of these opportunities have been implemented, 4 are to be implemented,

1 is under investigation and 1 not to be implemented.

Example Opportunity

Replacement of steel contact pads with copper pads

Energy saving calculated as ~10,000 GJ.

Example Opportunity

Optimize use of ladle pre-heater Natural Gas

Historically spare ladles heated under gas fueled pre-heaters so that they could be immediately called into service – with better planning they can be maintained at a lower temperature, which is increased before use

Energy saving calculated as ~8,400 GJ.

Examination of the EEO process

• Being one of the first participants it was difficult to estimate resources needed – in hindsight probably underresourced

• Identified savings that did not require significant expenditure (for example ladle preheating)

• Use of energy bandwidths, while sometimes necessary, can be confusing

• Lack of continuity of staff makes reporting difficult

• Second cycle will provide an opportunity to apply the knowledge and skills learnt from networking, workshops etc

• Short payback period does not make opportunities a sure thing i.e. other variables such as technical risk, cash flow, other strategic priorities etc will influence decision making

 For new plant – EEO evaluation at design phase would be helpful – for example new silicon furnace is designed for future energy recovery