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ABB technology helps to save energy at world’s largest stand alone sugar refinery in the Middle East

ABB has boosted production capacity of refined sugar by 1000 tons per day (TPD) and helped energy savings by 22% at Al Khaleej Sugar - the pioneers of sugar refining in the Middle East.

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The Jebel Ali refinery in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE), produces refined sugar for local consumption and for export. ABB technology was already installed at the plant, but an upgrade of the design, engineering and supply of ABB variable frequency drives (VFDs) in 2011 increased the production capacity of refined sugar considerably.

Energy efficient sugar making process
Al Khaleej Sugar (AKS) is a flagship company of the UAE based Al Ghurair Group. At the plant, cane sugar granules are melted, purified, concentrated to massecuite and then separated into fine granules of sugar through sugar centrifugal machines – the heart of the sugar making process. The use of VFDs with common direct current (DC) bus is the most reliable, cost effective and efficient control method, contributing to minimum electrical equipment installations, lowest energy consumption and almost negligible impact on the power grid.

Based on the quality of massecuite, centrifugal machines are grouped in 3 categories and the operating parameters are set accordingly. VFDs form an integral part of this process, and are used to control the number of cycles per hour and contribute to remarkable energy savings. Production capacity is increased by 20%, which meant number of cycles were increased from 22 to an average of 26 cycles per hour. To enable this, ABB's latest multi-drive along with new process performance motors replaced the existing Samistar drive. The automation system was supplied by BMA – a reputed German sugar machinery manufacturer.

Fitted with a non-regenerative drive, the centrifugals have very high energy consumption and during braking they produce a lot of energy, dissipated as heat. ABB adopted regenerative drives for this centrifugal application. These drives allow the energy produced during deceleration to be fed back into the supply system, so the net energy consumption of the centrifugals is reduced considerably. The problem of heat dissipation is also eliminated.

"Since the new ABB technology has been fitted, the refinery has benefitted from increased output, greater efficiency and improved reliability", says L. Chenna Krishnan, Dy.general manager, Refinery, Al Khaleej Sugars, UAE.


The sugar centrifuges, which thanks to ABB drives, now produce up to 7000 tons of refined sugar per day.

New technology increases productivity
L. Chenna Krishnan, Dy.general manager, Refinery, AKS, says since the new ABB technology has been fitted, the refinery has benefitted from increased output, greater efficiency and improved reliability. “Previously the centrifuges were completing 22-24 cycles per hour but the new technology enables up to 30 cycles to be completed per hour. This means we can easily produce up to 7000 TPD, the figure before was around 5000-6000 TPD,” Krishnan recalls.” There is also less power lost. Before the centrifuges consumed 0.952 KWH per ton of massecuite which has been reduced quite significantly to 0.75 KWH per ton of massecuite. This equates to 22% energy saving.”


Traditionally, centrifugals were driven by single speed fixed frequency induction motors. These can’t regenerate power and are considered extremely inefficient – deceleration is generally by mechanical brake. To increase efficiency, two speed motors were developed to allow the low speed winding to regenerate from spin to approaching half speed, recovering about 10% of the motor energy used during acceleration, spinning discharging and feeding. Another improvement resulted from the introduction of three speed motors, using a single cage rotor in a double wound stator. Regenerative braking then occurs recovering 20-25% of the motor energy used during acceleration.

Regenerative drives are key
After a thorough study of customer requirements and expert support by the ABB factory in Finland, multi-drive system was designed to meet demanding motoring and regenerative cycle requirements operating 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

This drive system comprised of three parallel operated Insulated Gate Bipolar Transistor (IGBT) supply units and 14 inverters to run ABB premium efficiency motors. IGBT Supply units help in regeneration of power, a feature required for this centrifugal application and facilitates low harmonic distortion and provides unity power factor.

Complete drive system was integrated by ABB's channel partner Blouden control system from Dubai, UAE. This company is the only partner in the Middle East to integrate the advanced ABB multi-drive system. ABB’s modular low voltage drives technology and documentation system facilitated channel partners to integrate these complex drive systems.

Facts

Customer

Al Khaleej Sugar (AKS)

Location UAE
Industry Food & Beverage
ABB deliveries Multi-drive along with new process performance motors replaced the existing Samistar drive
Results  Since the new ABB technology has been fitted, the refinery has benefitted from increased output, greater efficiency and improved reliability.

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