Monday, 13 April 2020

First recipient of the Dee Bradshaw Travel Scholarship

Shortly before her death (MEI Blog 8th June 2018), Prof. Dee Bradshaw set up the Dee Bradshaw and Friends International Travel Scholarship for students who display academic merit and are registered for a postgraduate qualification in the field of the minerals sector at the University of Cape Town (UCT). The purpose of the proposed travel to an approved international institution is to enhance research and education capacity, skills and experience.
The first recipient of this award was Nicole Uys, a PhD Candidate in the Department of Chemical Engineering at UCT. Nicole spent two months (16th January – 9th March) at the Helmholtz Institute for Research in Freiberg, Germany (MEI Blog 14th October 2019), hosted by the director of the institute, Professor Markus Reuter. The primary aim of her trip was to develop her knowledge and skills at using the HSC program, developed by Outotec, which is widely used within Professor Reuter’s research group. In addition to meetings with Professor Reuter she spent time with two of his students, Neill Bartie and Alejandro Abadias.
Nicole with Markus Reuter
Nicole writes:
"The initial starting point was developing my own Roast-Leach-Electrowinning (RLE) zinc flowsheet, similar, but more in-depth, to one Neil had already developed. By exploring additional features in HSC (equilibrium and reaction calculation modules) and checking these results with those obtained from FactSage, we were able to refine the model and more confidently predict elemental splits within different processing units and phases of products from different technologies.
In addition to the RLE circuit I was developing my own model for the Top Submerged Lance furnaces which forms part of the proposed, but as of yet uncommercialised, Direct Zinc Smelting (DZS) process route. The idea is to continue with flowsheet development in South Africa and focus on additional process routes such as Pressure Leaching and Atmospheric Leaching.
I also spent time with Alejandro who explained and illustrated how the exergy module, within HSC, worked. This module will be used once the flowsheets have been completed to allow the thermodynamic losses within each proposed flowsheet to be determined. A life cycle assessment, using the built-in connection to GaBi and Open LCA software, is also possible once the flowsheet development has been completed.
In my final week I was fortunate enough to attend a field trip to Nickelhütte Aue, which is a recycling plant focused on non-ferrous metals such as nickel, copper, cobalt, molybdenum, vanadium and tungsten. It was an excellent opportunity to see smaller versions of many of the pieces of equipment I had been and would continue to model such as the Top Submerged Lance furnace and a pressure leaching autoclave.
Field Trip to Nickelhütte Aue
I found it extremely valuable to work alongside colleagues who were exploring similar analyses in different areas (copper, critical metals for photovoltaics such as selenium and tellurium). It made me feel part of an international community that were operating with similar philosophies to achieve aligned goals. I have no doubt that these conversations will be ongoing amongst myself and my colleagues at the Helmholtz Research Institute in Freiberg. In addition, with many of them planning on visiting South Africa for the IMPC 2020 conference it provides another opportunity for face to face interactions.
I have submitted a paper to the IMPC 2020 conference based on my learnings from my Canadian plant visits and the learnings from both trips will form part of a review paper.
The two months spent in Freiberg were extremely stimulating and provided a strong platform from which to progress for the rest of the year".
Thanks for sharing, Nicole. Coronavirus permitting I look forward to meeting you at the IMPC in Cape Town in October.

1 comment:

  1. Nicole Uys, my hearty congratulations for being awarded such award named after a Legend.After reading all Barry wrote on your work, I am sure you would reach new heights in the area you have been working and contribute to our knowledge on still more to be explored in this area.


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