Tuesday, 28 February 2017

This Woman Helps South Africa’s New Power Plant Reduce Emissions

The Kusile Power Station, a high-efficiency, reduced-emissions coal-fired power plant will provide electricity to 3 million South African homes when it is up and running. GE Reports profiles the work of Nthabiseng Kubheka, who works for GE Steam Power Systems. Kubheka's role, as the project director leading the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) of Kusile's unique desulphurization plant, helps transform sulfur dioxide emitted from the plant from a harmful gas into a synthetic form of the mineral gypsum by spraying limestone slurry into the flue gas. Read more. More from GE in Africa in this BRIEFING.

Kubheka says the majority of her colleagues on the projects she managed were older than her. “But what I appreciated most was that they all gave me a chance to prove myself, and as soon as they realized I was good at my job, they gave me the respect I deserved,” she says. “Now I know I have nothing to prove to anyone but myself.”

Kubheka works for GE Steam Power Systems and her role as the project director is to lead the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) of Kusile's unique desulphurization plant — the first of its kind in Africa and the star of the project — and to make sure all processes perform as planned.
The Kusile Power Station construction site outside Pretoria.
The plant, which is still under construction, also will include six GE 800 megawatt steam turbines, a generator, an air-cooled condenser and all the necessary piping and auxiliaries. The plant has a supercritical boiler and turbine set, meaning that it has higher steam pressures and temperatures are much higher — and is more efficient — than the other plants in the area. In addition, the plant uses a fraction of the water used by many other plants, thanks to the use of air-cooled condensers instead of a wet-cooled power plant.
Kubheka began her career 20 years ago, as a chemist analyzing raw materials for industrial companies. 

"Because my job involved toxins, I was moved from the lab into quality control when I was expecting my son 18 years ago," Kubheka says.

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