ABB’s medium voltage drives to ensure efficient and reliable pumping in major desalination plant in Saudi Arabia

Saline Water Conversion Corporation ‘s (SWCC) water treatment plant in Jubail, Saudi Arabia will use ABB ‘s digitally enabled-ACS2000 medium voltage variable speed drives (VSD) to reduce energy consumption and lower their total cost of ownership.

The plant, which will have a daily output capacity of 400,000 m3/day of clean water, will be one of the largest projects in the region, designed to meet the future water needs of Riyadh and other cities such as Dammam, Khobar and Jubail. Saline Water Conversion Corporation is responsible for supplying water throughout the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA). The company is a global leader in seawater desalination and the second largest electricity producer in KSA. It maintains more than 8,000 km of water pipelines for six national water transmission systems and runs 32 plants with a desalination capacity in excess of 5.9 million m3/day. They have 13 desalination projects in works within the Eastern Region where the plan is to replace existing water plants, which date back to the 80s. These plants use less energy efficient distillation technology to turn seawater into potable water.

Desalination plants typically operate in areas where water supplies are already scarce. Maximizing productivity, while reducing costs is crucial to meet the increasing demand for clean water. The latest project in Jubail is a part of the vision that Saudi Arabia must strengthen the supply of water for its major cities and cope with the increasing demand of water by 2030. As water availability is a key challenge in the region, heavy investments have been made in seawater desalination, which makes the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia the largest producer of desalinated water in the world.

The water treatment plant in Jubail will use reverse osmosis (RO) technology for desalting the water. RO helps remove a large majority of salt and all deposited material from the water by pushing it under high pressure through a semi-permeable membrane. The EPC, SEPCO Electric Power Construction Corporation has been commissioned to install 56 pcs of ACS2000 medium voltage drives for the plant. ABB’s variable speed drives will be used to control the flow rate of pumps, with a typical 30 to 60 percent savings expected in energy consumption. While improving the efficiency of the entire water cycle, VSDs will also reduce the mechanical and electrical stress on pumps and aeration equipment, significantly lowering maintenance costs for SWCC.

The ACS2000 VSDs are equipped with digital connectivity kits enabling them for ABB Ability™ Condition Monitoring digital services to help deliver accurate and real-time information of drive parameters to SWCC for analysis purposes. By collecting and analyzing information directly from the drives in real time, condition monitoring helps understand and predict any potential downtime, enabling the scheduling of maintenance services at an optimal time, and enabling remote assistance and troubleshooting by ABB experts when deemed required. Based on the received information, SWCC will be able to make proactive decisions regarding how to service their water assets in the best manner.

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