Underground Mining + Oil & Gas + Power & Water
GIVEN THE WATER CONSTRAINTS EXPERIENCED IN SOUTH AFRICA AND OTHER PARTS OF AFRICA, AND CONSIDERING SOUTH AFRICA’S AGING MUNICIPAL WATER INFRASTRUCTURE, POWER & WATER IS WELL POSITIONED TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF OPPORTUNITIES TO MITIGATE THESE RISKS.
The platform has expanded its business portfolio to include more wastewater treatment and seawater desalination capabilities. Another area of opportunity for the platform is the renewable energy sector, including solar and gas-to-power.
During FY2019, our Demonstration Water Resource Recover Facility in Verulam, eThekwini, successfully demonstrated the Organica Water technology, which uses active biofilms on natural plants and engineered root structures to treat wastewater. Murray & Roberts Water (“MRW”) operates the facility, which hosted visits from various municipalities, water boards, consultants, developers, funding institutions and prospective public and private sector clients. As a result a number of proposals have been developed for similar plants in the Eastern Cape, Gauteng , KwaZulu-Natal and Western Cape, which we hope to convert into uptake.
The facility is based at the Verulam wastewater treatment plant, which uses conventional activated sludge to treat water. In its one-year test cycle, the Organica plant demonstrated that its food chain reactor technology produces 50% less sludge than the conventional plant and uses 45% less energy than originally expected. The removal of pollutants in the Organica process are comparable to the conventional system, with substrate loading and removal rate per unit of reactor volume higher in the demonstration plant. Organica’s research shows that as the ecology in the system develops in complexity, the quality of water is enhanced and a larger range of pollutants are more efficiently and effectively broken down. The technology produces a water quality that aligns to international specifications.
The facility has a 50% to 75% smaller physical footprint compared to conventional wastewater treatment solutions, saves around 30% in operational costs and provides a pleasant odourless botanical environment, meaning that the facilities can be built virtually anywhere. This reduces infrastructure costs to connect to customers and enhances land value around the facility.
Digital services, connecting the plant to the internet, have also been implemented. This enhances the remote monitoring and intervention capabilities to optimise the operation and maintenance of the plant. As part of the digital services, ammonia cascade control was implemented in FY2019 allowing the plant to increase the operational throughput from 120 kilolitres a day to between 160 and 180 kilolitres.
MRW operated and maintained small water treatment plants to treat borehole water to potable standard (SANS 241) at two Life Healthcare hospitals. The Life Health Vincent Pallotti Hospital is the first private hospital in the Western Cape province to operate completely off the grid due to its water filtration plant. Five additional borehole treatment plants for hospitals in the eMalahleni, eThekwini, Nelson Mandela Bay, Tshwane Metropolitan and uMngeni municipalities are expected to commence in FY2020.