Zurich, Switzerland, September 29, 2016 – ABB has released the first variable speed drive control software that uses Model Predictive Control* to regulate the drive’s torque. The MPTC software was initially developed to ensure the operation of compressor stations during voltage disruptions, caused by lightning strikes, winter storms or ice buildup on power lines.
The stations use large compressors, up to 50 megawatts (MW), to compress natural gas for travel through hundreds of miles of pipeline. Historically gas turbines powered the compressors, today, more efficient large synchronous electric motors are used. The motors are controlled by variable speed drives, such as ABB’s largest drive, the MEGADRIVE-LCI.
When power supply disruptions happen, protection systems quickly shut down the compressors. This halts the supply of gas. Restarting compressors lasts from a few hours to days. The resulting interruption in the gas supply can mean financial losses that range into the hundreds of millions USD per year for large facilities.