Last updateMon, 26 Jul 2021 9pm

End-user Industries

Wireless Technology Optimizes Production in Mining Operation

Natural Soda operates seven production well pairs in Colorado to produce saturated nahcolite brine for manufacturing sodium bicarbonate (baking soda).

Mining nahcolite requires very careful monitoring of temperature, pressure and flow to not only optimize production performance—but also to mine the product sustainably and protect the freshwater aquifer. Wireless transmitters make it possible to monitor remote injection wells to protect the environment, increase efficiency and improve productivity. Our operating permits require us to continuously monitor and record fluid temperature, pressure and flow rate in both the recovery and injection wells. We must also keep these parameters within specified ranges as detailed in our BLM-approved mine plan.

The facility is located in mountainous, rugged terrain making it difficult and very expensive to employ wired devices. To improve overall efficiencies, we installed wireless temperature, pressure and flow sensors to monitor all the parameters specified in the plan.

The Future of Coal: Efficiency Over Politics?

Many changes in the power industry have taken place over the last decade. In advanced economies, sensitivity to climate change has displaced coal as a viable source of fuel for new power plants while the need for baseload power generation in developing countries has perpetuated the building of conventional coal-fired power plants. But the question on many people’s minds now is: “Will the changing political climate in the United States have an impact on power plant building in North America?”

While renewable energy generation has risen rapidly in the U.S. with solar, wind and tidal varieties increasingly taking a share of the power demand, the thermal plants powered by coal, gas and nuclear fuel sources still provide much of our power requirements.

The 2017 Energy Outlook: Exports and the Demand for Valves

The recently released Annual Energy Outlook 2017 (AEO2017) from The Energy Information Administration (EIA) provides modeled projections of domestic energy markets through 2050. Projections in the Annual Energy Outlook 2017 are not predictions of what will happen, but rather modeled projections of what may happen given certain assumptions and methodologies. It considers various scenarios: where oil prices are higher than currently projected, where they are very low, and a “reference case” scenario. The reference case projection, which is being shared in this article, assumes trend improvement in known technologies and economic and demographic trends reflecting the current central views of leading economic forecasters and demographers.

Mining: Are We There Yet?

In the U.S., mining is largely about oil and gas. However, said Glen Ives of Deloitte at VMA’s 2016 Market Outlook Workshop, “We’re talking about the ‘real’ mining–digging things up. And the story this year is that, at least commodity prices are pretty steady. Miners are not so convinced the world is going to end, and they’re giving some thought about looking into the future. That’s good news for valve manufacturers, because now there is some thought about replacing some old kit, and dusting off some expansion plans.”

LNG: State of the Market

Natural gas production in the U.S. has increased substantially over the last few years due to technological advancements in natural gas extraction methods. Certainly this increased production has resulted in reduced prices for natural gas consumers, but the benefits go far beyond the country’s borders. The ample supply and low prices are making the prospect of exporting liquefied natural gas (LNG) exciting, but the path is not as direct as some had hoped.

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