ABB’s new Modular Synchronous Generator delivers flexible backup for the energy transition

ABB’s new Modular Synchronous Generator delivers flexible backup for the energy transition

• 20 MW class provides new opportunities for peak shaving, intermediate or continuous baseload operation
• Design enables integration of flywheels to help operators add inertia to tackle their grid code challenges
• New approach to cooling increases efficiency

ABB has developed the new Modular 20-megawatt (MW) class synchronous generator as a flexible, scalable approach to balance power grids as they transfer an ever-increasing amount of renewable energy. In contrast with previous designs intended for continuous output only, the modular platform can be configured for various operational profiles. These range from short-term, peak shaving, through intermediate operation to traditional, continuous baseload generation. The new synchronous generator also offers the capability to increase the inertia available by incorporating flywheels. 

  • Modularity means versatility to meet the needs of grid code requirements of today
  • Flywheels ensure grid compliance and help to balance reliable power generation
  • Save energy and increase efficiency with the upgraded cooling unit

“Growing levels of intermittent and variable renewable energy resources (RES), such as wind and solar, are creating increasingly challenging conditions for power grids. Hence the growing need for reliable generators designed to maintain the balance essential for resilience and security of supply,” says Markku Väinämö, ABB Global Product Manager, Generators. “That is why we have worked with some of the global leaders in engine power plants to develop this innovative platform. It offers the adaptability essential to support a new generation of operational profiles and applications.”

In addition, generating sets often need to meet country-specific grid code requirements before they should be connected to electricity networks and the Modular synchronous generator is fully grid-code compliant. Another demanding requirement is to stay connected during a low voltage or short-circuit event in some part of the grid. This calls for high inertia to ensure that the plant stays synchronized with the grid when the fault is cleared, and voltage returns to nominal. To support this requirement, the Modular synchronous generator has an option to add inertia by incorporating additional flywheels.

Modular construction, together with ABB’s extensive global supply chain footprint, enables the new generator to be delivered within shortened timescales. It is also designed to support easy transportation and installation

Using the Modular synchronous generator in peak-shaving or intermittent operational profiles typically means that the running hours are shorter compared to traditional continuous operation. This reduces the demand for cooling. Therefore, the new design also features an upgraded cooling unit which can be operated only as needed.

ABB (ABBN: SIX Swiss Ex) is a technology leader in electrification and automation, enabling a more sustainable and resource-efficient future. The company’s solutions connect engineering know-how and software to optimize how things are manufactured, moved, powered and operated. Building on 140 years of excellence, ABB’s ~105,000 employees are committed to driving innovations that accelerate industrial transformation.

ABB Motion, a global leader in motors and drives, is at the core of accelerating a more productive and sustainable future. We innovate and push the boundaries of technology to contribute to energy efficient, decarbonizing, and circular solutions for customers, industries, and societies. With our digitally enabled drives, motors, and services, we support our customers and partners to achieve better performance, safety, and reliability. We deliver motor driven solutions for a wide range of applications in all industrial segments. Building on over 140 years of domain expertise in electric powertrains, our more than 22,000 employees across 100 countries learn and improve every day.

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