WHILE the ‘Go Green’ and ’De-fossilisation’ drives are in high gear worldwide, Nithesh Mohun, Senior Sales Engineer at Thyssenkrupp Uhde believes the immediate need for fuel resources in Africa, including South Africa, still requires the storage and distribution of liquid fuel.
“First-world countries are moving away from fossils fuels and adopting green technologies and renewable alternatives quite fast, but the scenario in Africa is different,” Mohun said.
“While green initiatives are underway in Africa, the immediate need for liquid fuels, driven largely by population growth and industrialization, is expected to continue for some time. This growing demand, combined with an expected increase in imported refined fuel, dictates the need for more independent storage facilities.”
He pointed to the direct correlation between growing populations and an increased need and demand for water, energy, infrastructure, agriculture, and transport.
“Tank farms are essential components in the value chain. They present safe bulk liquid storage solutions and allow for distribution of the large volumes of liquid fuel that’s required to power passenger and commercial vehicles, machinery and equipment. We see great potential for our tank farm solutions in many African countries with growing populations and industrialisation including South Africa, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, and Tanzania.”
He said it was probable that African would experience an increase in refined fuel imports. “This shift can be attributed to the fact that we are seeing ever stricter environmental legislation and ageing infrastructure of refineries in South Africa and the rest of Africa.
“Furthermore, imported fuel is produced in larger technologically advanced overseas refineries at lower costs and smaller environmental footprints. This makes it a much more attractive option.”
It follows that an increase in refined fuel imports will in turn drive interest in storage and distribution from smaller independent market players.
“As these players do not have access to funding when compared to large companies, they need an option that will enable them to determine the project viability of fuel storage facilities. This will give them the ability to move forward without a high upfront investment cost,” Mohun said.
Recognizing that this sector not only needs but is also ready for a cost effective, efficient solution, Thyssenkrupp Uhde took an innovative approach in the development of its tank farms.
“We revisited our standard engineering expertise to be able to deliver an optimized holistic offering to customers,” said the company’s Proposals Engineer, Yurisha Singh. “By developing an automated standardized tool, we are able to rapidly deliver Front End Loading (FEL) to our traditional EPC (Engineering, Procurement and Construction) portfolio.”
In the pre-feasibility (FEL 1) and feasibility (FEL 2) phases, Thyssenkrupp Uhde delivers a tariff target-based tank farm solution to ensure customer competitiveness.
“Our focus is on reducing the engineering time and effort required to develop a product so that we can get it deployed as quickly as possible, all to the ultimate benefit of the customer,” said Singh.
“Owing to our smart engineering, customers will be able to determine a basic design as well as a costing of their tank farms without large upfront investment costs. Another added value is that because it is automated, the design can be done quickly.”
Although the Liquid Fuel Storage Tool is a new offering, Singh stressed that it is based on the company’s experience in numerous successfully executed fuel projects and uses industry standards and incorporates technical expertise gathered from experienced industry specialists.
“We have numerous references for blue-chip fuel projects. In addition to the successful execution of many refinery projects for several of the country’s leading refineries, Thyssenkrupp Uhde’s South African team has also completed large terminal and pipeline projects.”