Global engineering and consulting firm Hatch has a range of innovative technologies in the energy sector, which it is showcasing at various mining, petrochemical and industrial projects in Africa.
These range from thermal power generation (including conventional and advanced technologies) to cogeneration, gasification (coal, biomass and waste), coal-to-liquids and gas quality control. The latter includes flue-gas emission reduction to syngas handling, treatment and carbon management.
Cobus Schutte, a project engineer at Hatch’s Johannesburg office, has extensive experience in the petrochemical industry, including his role as lead licensor mechanical engineer for the front-end engineering and design of a coal gasification facility in India.
Schutte has continued to play an important role in a long-term contract with Sasol, which originally appointed Hatch as one of two preferred engineering companies for its Fixed Bed Dry Bottom (FBDB™) gasification technology.
“The engineering services that we are providing here on an ongoing basis include materials handling design, machine design and pressure vessel design,” Schutte explains. “Here Hatch is playing a key role in fine-tuning its gasification technology in order to boost its syngas generation and coal-to-liquids business over the next decade.”
In the power generation arena, Schutte has been involved with a project in Mozambique on a 100 MW gas-fired power station project, utilising reciprocating engines. He is also engaged with evaluating different technologies and tenders for a major gold producer in Tanzania. These range from hybrid solar thermal solutions to thermal solutions only for a 30 MW power generation facility.
“We have also completed a feasibility study for a client in the municipal wastewater industry for the generation of electricity from methane produced in its anaerobic digesters,” Schutte adds. “We are looking at 1 MW to 1.8 MW of electricity production, also from reciprocating engines.”
Schutte is also involved as owner’s engineer on the 2 x 300 MW expansion of the Hwange thermal power station in Zimbabwe for client ZPC. Hatch is assisting the Zimbabwean electricity in tender evaluation and adjudication, as well as detailed design reviews.
“If you want to talk power generation and energy projects in general, Africa is definitely the place to be,” Schutte comments. “While we are not aware of too many large-scale power generation facilities being erected, there is a lot of focus on own generation, such as remote mines or any kind of production facility.” As an example of the latter, Schutte points to Hatch’s involvement with a boiler and turbine refurbishment project for a copper plant in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Schutte currently heads up the Custom Machine Design Group for Hatch in the Africa, Europe and Middle East region. “My responsibilities range from team management to technical reviews as well as business development with new and existing clients.”
He stresses that Hatch is able to bring a full spectrum of solutions to the table. “We have our different business units, all with their own subject matter experts, who can assist with everything from concept designs through to technical evaluations and feasibility studies.
“Then we have our Project Delivery Group, with its own highly experienced engineers, who can assist with the execution of the full project lifecycle, from basic engineering to detailed execution, and then also to manage the construction of our clients’ facilities,” Schutte concludes.