ABB technology improves energy supply reliability at Africa’s largest climate-controlled agricultural facility

ABB technology improves energy supply reliability at Africa’s largest climate-controlled agricultural facility

The theme for UN #WorldFoodDay 2020 is: “Grow, Nourish, Sustain, Together.” The UN states "the need to make food systems more resilient and robust, which will require more sustainable agricultural practices that preserve the Earth’s natural resources, our health, and the climate.” ABB is helping by securing productivity for the most technologically advanced future farming platform in Africa.

ABB technology is helping Africa’s largest climate-controlled agricultural facility, Dube AgriZone in Durban, South Africa, to improve productivity. The installation of ABB’s PCS100 AVC-20 Active Voltage Conditioner has resolved voltage stability issues in the site’s power network, halting recurring production losses.

Dube AgriZone is a large-scale producer of short shelf-life vegetables for retail markets in South Africa and for international export. The hydroponic facility is the largest climate-controlled, glass-covered area in Africa, growing plants using advanced, soil-free processes that use significantly less water than conventional farming methods. 

Aerial view of Dube TradePort
Aerial view of Dube TradePort

The site comprises 16 hectares – approximately 30 football fields – of greenhouses, plant nurseries and laboratories with sensitive electronic instruments, pumps and fans regulating the hydroponic process.

Frequent voltage dips and variations in the site’s power network has previously caused expensive process control equipment damage, resulting in plant outages and production losses.

For the first six months since installation, the AVC-20 reduced equipment failure and process disruptions at Dube AgriZone to zero, protecting production, equipment and profits. As a result, production efficiency has also benefitted.

The PCS100 AVC-20 is ABB’s proven inverter-based system for environments where an unstable network or utility voltage affects productivity. The system’s advanced control software continuously regulates the voltage, detecting and regulating even major voltage dips in less than 20 milliseconds to ensure clean, constant power for sensitive equipment. The system allows facilities to use utility power, without the need to install battery systems or captive power plants. The PCS100 AVC-20 removes voltage fluctuations of ±20 percent from the power network, preventing equipment malfunctions and securing productivity with improved operational consistency.    


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