Improving energy efficiency of cyclone circuits in coal beneficiation plants by pump-storage systems

Lijun Zhang, Xiaohua Xia, Jiangfeng Jeff Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)


A pump storage system (PSS) is introduced to the coal preparation dense medium cyclone (DMC) plants to improve their energy efficiency while maintaining the required medium supply. The DMC processes are very energy intensive and inefficient because the medium supply pumps are constantly over-pumping. The PSS presented is to reduce energy consumption and cost by introducing an addition medium circulation loop. The corresponding pump operation optimization problem in the PSS scheme under time-based electricity tariff is formulated and solved, based on which the financial benefits of the design is investigated using life cycle cost analysis. A case study based on the operation status of a South African coal mine is carried out to verify the effectiveness of the proposed approach. It is demonstrated that the energy cost can be reduced by more than 50% in the studied case by introducing a 160 m3 storage tank. According to life cycle analysis, the PSS Option 1 yields an annual 38% reduction of the overall cost for the beneficiation plant with a payback period of 2.68 years.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)306-316
Number of pages11
JournalApplied Energy
Publication statusPublished - 15 Apr 2014


  • coal beneficiation
  • pump-storage system
  • operation optimization
  • energy efficiency
  • life cycle cost analysis


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