Fabio Monachesi ABB Electrification Bergamo, Italy, email@example.com; Sekhar Chakraborty ABB Electrification Coventry, United Kingdom, firstname.lastname@example.org
One significant new element in the power landscape is the microgrid – ie, distributed energy resources and loads, mainly in low-voltage (LV) networks, that can work together in a controlled and coordinated way, either connected to a national grid or in “islanded” mode. LV microgrids are especially significant for the rollout of renewable energy. The decentralization LV microgrids represent is the ultimate antithesis of the centralized national utilities of old.
The small scale and tight budget of LV installations mean that the incremental expense of intelligent power control, monitoring, or management can quickly dominate the overall microgrid cost. This restriction has led to the installation in microgrids and other LV applications of millions of air circuit breakers and molded-case circuit breakers – of all brands – that lack advanced features for monitoring or resource optimization. This unfortunate situation has now been put in the spotlight by the arrival of digitalization in the form of the Internet of Things (IoT) and communications networks that can unlock the power of data to optimize power management – provided the appropriate smart technology is available.
ABB’s Ekip UP provides this smart technology →01-02.
ABB’s Ekip UP is a multifunctional digital unit that delivers monitoring, protection, control, programmable logic, full connectivity, easy integration and comprehensive energy management to LV power distribution and automation applications with volatages of up to 1,150 V and operating currents of 100 to 6,300 A →03-05.
By using an optional gateway module, Ekip UP can connect directly to the ABB Ability™ Electrical Distribution Control System (EDCS) to provide a powerful, cloud-based platform designed to monitor, explore, analyze and act upon entire electrical systems. This cloud architecture has been developed together with Microsoft to enhance performance and guarantee the highest reliability and security. The Ekip UP/EDCS combination delivers extensive monitoring and management capability in widespread LV networks.
Five versions of Ekip UP are available:
Ekip UP Monitor
Ekip UP Monitor measures a comprehensive set of parameters relevant for good power management for sites up to 4 MW: voltage, current, frequency phase, active/reactive power, etc. Ekip UP Monitor also features a power quality network analyzer – built according to the IEC61000-4-30 edition 2 standard – that measures up to the 50th harmonic and a fault analysis datalogger. Eight Fieldbus and Ethernet links plus one proprietary bus allow for easy system integration. Each Ekip UP has four slots for plug-and-play modules to share up to 3,000 data points with supervision systems, guaranteeing modularity for each application.
The digital unit also senses bus bar, transformer and switchboard temperature and humidity values using PT probes and analog sensors in built-in modules.
Ekip UP Protect and Ekip UP Protect+
These models add protection functions to those provided by the Ekip UP Monitor based on current, voltage, frequency and power values. Ekip UP Protect+ adds generator protection, as well as adaptive and overcurrent directional protection for power distribution and generation. The device enables digital zone selectivity via a proprietary bus and native IEC 61850 GOOSE communication for substations. It also allows restricted/unrestricted earth faults to be distinguished from each other. Zone selectivity allows the fault area to be isolated rapidly so that disconnection only occurs close to the fault and other equipment remains interrupted.
Both models can be equipped with software kits to cater for load shedding, synchrocheck capability, programmable logic and interface certified protection. These advanced features ensure service continuity and energy efficiency and reduce complexity.
Ekip UP can also simply serve as a backup when a relay goes out of service.
Ekip UP Control
Ekip UP Control adds to the devices described above a patented power management algorithm that shaves peaks and shifts loads to optimize system performance and productivity. Such measures can reduce electricity bills by up to 20 percent.
Ekip UP Control, installed downstream of the medium-voltage (MV)/LV transformer, can use slope-of-frequency data to disconnect loads in case of emergency imbalance conditions. This interface protection system provides the protection necessary to connect end-users with local generation available to the utility. The generating units will be disconnected from the grid whenever grid voltage and frequency values stray out of range. When the main grid stabilizes, inbuilt Ekip UP synchrocheck logic manages safe reconnection.
Ekip UP Control+
With control features that effectively make it a microgrid controller, Ekip UP Control+ is the top-end member of the Ekip UP family. Ekip UP Control+ can run a suite of software functions to achieve every target a user in power distribution and automation may have.
Ekip UP application areas
Ekip UP is used in a wide range of LV settings. In commercial buildings, such as hotels, shopping malls, or offices, Ekip UP monitors the energy consumption of existing facilities and connects them to the cloud. Thanks to the remote energy management system and smart power management algorithm embedded in the digital unit, facility managers and end-users can increase the energy efficiency of the location’s electrical plant. In new infrastructure with e-mobility chargers, Ekip UP provides the key to understanding current flows, thus enabling peak shaving and load shifting strategies.
In industrial and utility plants, Ekip UP protects plant power systems and automation processes with a direct interface to every switching device. The unit satisfies a complete list of distribution and generation ANSI protections as embedded programmable logic can send tripping commands to switch disconnectors (a typical example in the oil and gas industries).
Microgrids are LV environments that can especially benefit from Ekip UP, as it can coordinate load/generator loading and flow. Thanks to the software functions available, Ekip UP can maximize microgrid service continuity in data centers, solar plants, etc. Ekip UP’s advanced connectivity capability makes integration simple.
ABB Ability™ EDCS
The ABB Ability™ EDCS is a cloud-based platform designed to monitor, optimize and control an electrical system:
• Monitor: Discover site performance, supervise the electrical system and allocate costs.
• Explore: Visualize the system structure, verify asset health conditions and get actionable insights taking into account predictions and prescriptions.
• Analyze: Schedule and analyze automatic data exports, improve the use of assets and take the right business decisions.
• Act: Set up alerts and notify key personnel; remotely implement an effective efficiency strategy to achieve savings in a simple way; and manage maintenance activities and schedule next maintenance actions.
The data used by the EDCS – from molded-case circuit breakers, miniature circuit breakers, arc guards, multimeters, etc. – is made available by Ekip UP, which makes the cloud connection without replacing any existing assets in brownfield applications. The EDCS is multi-user and operates through a Web interface, and so can be used anytime and anywhere via a cyber-secure link to a smartphone or personal computer. Through the EDCS platform, Ekip UP predicts maintenance on installed ABB and legacy GE assets, reducing related operational costs by up to 30 percent.
The ECDS gives access to real-time data and historical trends – on a single- and multi-site level – so that performances can be compared and benchmarks set. One maintenance technician can manage several sites and because the EDCS continuously performs diagnosis on the devices in the electrical system, action need only be taken when needed. By measuring device activity directly, the EDCS algorithm can provide the device reliability curve and suggest the next maintenance date.
Ekip UP in the field
A typical Ekip UP implementation would be in a switchgear application where the breakers are still in good working order, but other equipment needs replaced. Such was the case recently in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) with the Sharjah Electricity and Water Authority (SEWA). SEWA distributes water and generates electricity for the residents of the Sharjah Emirate.
The trip units of all the LV breakers – from an ABB competitor – at SEWA’s Qasimia substation became defective. The original supplier suggested full breaker replacement – a significant and expensive undertaking. Seeking an alternative path, SEWA contacted ABB. Because the breakers were otherwise sound, ABB replaced just the malfunctioning electronic trip release with Ekip UP, which is fully compatible with any existing LV breaker, even competitors’ devices. Commissioning was aided by ABB’s Ekip Connect, a free software tool that optimizes Ekip UP’s ability to manage power, acquire and analyze electrical values, and test protection, maintenance and diagnostic functions.
A smart choice
A wide range of accessories complements Ekip UP’s advanced features. With its modular and standardized design, and strengthened by the capabilities of EDCS, Ekip UP provides an ideal way to deliver cloud-connected technology that saves cost and downtime while making power management easier, more efficient and more profitable. Ekip UP is, literally, a smart choice that can provide any LV plant with a digital unit capable of monitoring, protecting and controlling the facility.