Cape Peninsula University of Technology South Africa | Bellville

Coarse particle transportation is essential for moving slurries, or fluids containing very high concentrations of pulverised solids, for example, hydraulic transport of coal ore or waste materials. Due to a scarcity of water and a high concentration of the solid particles, pipe blockages are common. This technology monitors particle velocities and solid concentrations around the inner pipe circumference with the aim to prevent major and often disastrous blockages.

What is the technology owner looking for? E.g. collaboration, investment, sales, etc.
Collaboration Investment
Brief description of the technology’s market need.

In the coarse particle transportation industry, there are major challenges in pumping mineral suspensions due to water scarcity. As a result, more solids are transported and pipe blockages occur which cause major problems such as environmental spillages and economic losses (pipe replacement, wastage removal). The deposits of solid particles inside the pipe during pumping must be monitored to prevent pipe blockages. A bed-load velocity meter prototype system was developed to monitor particle velocities and solids around the inner pipe circumference. A market study (feasibility study) on the proposed technology was carried out and the overall outcome was very positive showing a need for this technology in South Africa.

Brief description of the technology’s benefits.

Early warning of the presence of slow moving or stationary solids which informs operators to take corrective action and avoid pipe blockages is invaluable. Further, in current practice pipelines are operated at velocities higher than absolutely necessary; the application of bed-load velocity allows the operator to set the velocity to an optimal speed which is safer for operation. Thus the bed-load velocity meter system represents an opportunity to avoid environmental spillages and the resulting economic losses by monitoring the load that coarse particle transportation causes on pipes during the pumping of mineral suspensions and slurries.

The attributes of the technology that makes it unique.

By monitoring the movement and velocities of particles and solids on the inner circumference of the transporting pipe, this innovation can save the coarse particle transportation industry from disastrous occurrences such as spillage, which are costly to clean up and negatively impacts the environment. This prototype has been shown to be attractive to the market due to its ability to prevent spillages and economic loss, and well as promote efficient and optimal pipe transport velocities.

The main idea behind the technology is described.

To create a simple innovation that measures the velocity and load on the pipe in coarse particle transportation settings, such that optimal pipe transport velocities can be achieved, and spillage accidents can be avoided despite the shortage of water which concentrates the solids content in the coarse particle transportation systems.

The technology was developed by an organisation in the following sector(s).
Higher education
The industry(s) relevant to the technology. Which industries can benefit from this technology?
Other mining and quarrying
The technology area relevant to the technology.
Natural Resources
The Technology Readiness Level of the available technology. For more information on the Technology Readiness Levels, please follow the link: Technology Readiness Levels
TRL 6: Experimental testing in real-world setting
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