Creating integrated energy and water solutions for its customers, WA company UON is driving the efficiency of off-grid infrastructure throughout the State’s resources sector.
For more than 20 years, UON Pty Ltd has continued to deliver complete energy and water turnkey solutions for the sector’s remote mining operations, encompassing services and technology from its production, hire, construction, maintenance and operational support divisions.
UON Founder and Chairman, Mark Keogh said the company’s focus on delivering the unique energy solutions that its customers needed, had continued to drive innovation and refinement of products.
“Central to our company Mission is helping our customers on their decarbonisation journey. We have the technology, skills and real experience in delivering this,” Mr Keogh said.
Securing a major Australian patent for its Generator Motor Controller (GMC) system earlier this year was a feather in the cap for UON, which has consistently established innovative solutions for off-grid energy and water infrastructure operations through its history.
Developed by the team at UON’s Malaga facilities, the GMC solution is a unique, fuel-efficient, variable speed generator that is nameplate rated for operating in 40 degree Celsius temperatures and integrates a range of functions into one sophisticated machine.
Part of the UON SMART™ family of products that are scalable, modular, automated, renewable and temperature-controlled, the GMC solution is providing customers with genuine, competitive advantages over other products currently in market.
UON’s GMC eliminates the need for conventional motor starting systems and its operational efficiency means reduced fossil fuel use.
“The GMC generator doesn’t need a motor control start box - it is the total motor controller,” Mr Keogh said.
More than 500 of UON’s GMC solutions are currently in operation on WA resources projects, specifically designed to withstand the harshest of remote environments in which they operate.
Custom-designed by UON, all the equipment is built to exact specifications and engineered to be future-proof. This also allows UON to reduce the typical project lead time, further supporting customers.
“Our customers are receiving real CAPEX and OPEX savings without any risk to their operational reliability,” Mr Keogh added.
“Significant reductions in both capital and operational expenditure are bolstered by the environmental benefits in the form of proven fuel savings. This creates a direct reduction in the carbon footprints of mining operations.”
The GMC patent is one of a number secured by UON this year, supporting its design and investment in new generation technology.
“Industry demand, changes to mining operations and the advancement of technology are all helping us create new solutions for the sector, and we are committed to delivering those benefits to our customers.”
The cost of hydrogeology and water management is increasingly becoming a key focus of WA mining operations, creating significant challenges and opportunities for managing the water that is surplus to operational needs. The environmental challenge is substantial, given an average Western Australian mine has 100 water pumps in operation, resulting in some 16 million litres of diesel fuel being burned per year.
For certain applications located far away from a mine’s processing plant, it just is not feasible to use power from the mine’s power station, making stand-alone diesel generators the conventional solution for powering dewatering pumps. Temporary off-grid power generation of this nature has traditionally had a high carbon footprint, high-cost variability and low efficiency – particularly in hot conditions.
“Despite the sector’s continued reliance on fossil fuels, there are other options available now,” Mr Keogh said.
“We are continuing to show our customers how we can help to drastically reduce their costs and the resources needed in the mine site dewatering process.”
While the GMC solution is a key part of this, further efficiencies are also possible through the integration of renewable energy and battery storage solutions that can be rolled out in easy stages. This means that fossil-fuel reductions can be achieved while also reducing costs and improving long-term savings.
“Re-deployable renewables technology means that UON’s customers can also incorporate harnessing nature’s power in a rental solution, supporting the efficient management of their ever-changing operations.
“Our customers are investing in more than just a product, they are investing in an operational outcome, and we support them throughout that journey,” Mr Keogh said.