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ABB powers Robben Island for 9 months of the year

  • Company’s solar microgrid can produce about 1 million kWh annually, to cut island’s diesel usage by 250,000 litres a year

Mention Robben Island and it immediately conjures up images of Nelson Mandela’s – and other high-profile political prisoners – 18-year incarceration in a tiny cell on the island’s maximum security prison.

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ABB opens new office in Namibia

ABB entrenches its commitment in Southern Africa by opening a new 2 200 m² facility in Windhoek, Namibia, which increases the company’s capacity to supply, maintain and service products to the local market and neighbouring countries such as Zambia and Angola.

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Innovation makes microgrid control smarter

In what the company refers to as a world first, power and automation technology group ABB is making it possible for microgrids to be protected, controlled and managed using smart circuit breakers. A software-based innovation for the company’s Emax 2 smart circuit breaker makes microgrid architectures simpler and more cost-effective than ever before.

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Sasol selects ABB’s flexible mobile E-House solution

ABB has designed and produced a solution that minimises production downtime and increases maintenance efficiency.

ABB, the global leader in power and automation, has supported Sasol to minimize process downtime for routine maintenance with a range of medium-voltage solutions.  Sasol, the international chemical and energy company, has implemented an innovative and flexible ABB solution utilising the power of UniGear Digital switchgear, Relion® protection relays and sensor technology installed in a lightweight E-House, mounted on a mobile truck trailer.

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MNS-Up from ABB provides power distribution and UPS in a single-system solution

Efficiency and reliability of power supply in the rapidly expanding data centre business is crucial to feed the ever-hungry global information economy. As a leading technology innovator, ABB has considered the needs of data centres and continually enhanced products to meet ever-expanding needs.

“MNS-Up is the result of on-going customer-centric product development. Data centres are continually growing and two key aspects, space requirements and scalability have needed to be addressed” says Ronald van Leeuwen, Business Unit Manager for Electrification Solutions in South Africa.

“MNS-Up addresses these two areas very efficiently by combining the switchgear and uninterrupted power supply (UPS) technologies into a single unit. No other provider of power distribution and uninterrupted power supplies is able to offer this level of technology in the market currently”, notes van Leeuwen.

Space Saving

In traditional power distribution environments three discrete areas are required. The first area is dedicated to housing the input switchgear which is fed by the main transformer. The second area, in-turn provides power to the modular UPS through either cable or external bus duct systems. The third area houses the UPS output switchgear, feeding power to the points of consumption. As the assemblies are physically separated, a specific level of safety is assumed and this architecture is well-proven and has established itself as the norm. However it does have significant drawbacks. This topology relies on providing separate incoming and outgoing switchgear assemblies, with the associated power cabling or bus duct, resulting in a large footprint and great expense to interconnect the three assemblies.

ABB’s MNS-Up eliminates the need for the three separate areas, allowing for a single assembly housing the power input, uninterrupted power supply modules and the power output (distribution). Footprint savings of 20% are typical for a 500 kW system, rising to a significant 30% for 2 MW systems upwards.

Scalability

Today’s information economy requires of data centres to provide cost effective solutions that can grow alongside information consumption.

“With modules of 100 kW capacity that can be added to accommodate power requirements MNS-Up can quickly react to market driven power demands, increasing the data centre’s ability to service clients,” points out Avi Ramdhin, Sales Manager for Electrification Solutions.

UPS modules are expandable in 100 kW blocks. Each frame can support a total of five 100 kW UPS modules, this can be further expanded with a duplication of the frames. Up to six frames can be joined together providing three MW of power. It need not end there; further systems may be added in parallel.

This flexibility is also demonstrated in the ability of the system to be assembled to meet the space layout available; straight line, back-to-back, L and U-shape, without employing external bus ducts or cables.

The modular approach followed in the design of the system allows for faster installation, upgrading and commissioning, resulting in a reduced time-to-switch on. With the ability to swap-out both switchgear and UPS modules online, the dual benefit of lowered maintenance costs and increased uptime is realised.

Tried-and-tested

ABB’s MNS switchgear incorporating innovative power management technology, including the Emax two air circuit-breaker alongside contactors and motor starting technologies that are class-leaders in the process control environment.  Safety lies at the heart of the design. Complete compliance with the International Electro technical Commission (IEC) 61439-2 and TR 61641 form the base on which MNS switchboards are designed. The broad scope of ABB switchgear extends beyond its proven track record in power distribution, a core area of ABB’s expertise. The MNS technology boasts an installed base of 1,5 million systems worldwide. For MNS-Up ABB has selected the Conceptpower DPA 500 uninterrupted power supply, which sports a transformer-less, double-conversion architecture. This solution is the choice of mission-critical users including major international stock exchanges.

The design of the system is such that a decentralised parallel architecture is used, each module has its own input switch, bypass, UPS and output switch and the hardware and software combination operates self-sufficiently. This allows for module isolation; as a result failure elsewhere in the system does not impact the entire operation.

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