Hydropower plant in Spain improves power output by ~25% with ABB’s modernization services

Hydropower plant in Spain improves power output by ~25% with ABB’s modernization services

FIL-GENESIS, a power generation company based in Barcelona, modernized its plant by adding a new full-power ACS880 drive with embedded ABB Hydropack turbine control software between its hydropower plant’s generator and grid, improving power output by around 25% in low water flow ranges.

After an assessment of the customer’s installed base, ABB’s service experts identified that modernization of the system with the integration of a new ABB drive and specific control software would make a significant difference by almost a quarter in improving the overall efficiency and performance of the hydropower plant.

Prior to making the modifications, the customer provided ABB with the plant’s technical data, which showed production flow rates from the last 10 years. With this data, the service experts were able to determine the return on investment of the modification, based on the improvement provided by the drive and the turbine working at variable speed.

Enhanced efficiency and power output

The modernized system upgraded by ABB for FIL-GENESIS allows the plant’s turbine to operate from a fixed to variable speed, increasing profitability of the installation and helping in recovering investment in a short period of time. The embedded PLC software in the drive – Hydropack control software, integrates an algorithm that looks for the most optimal working point in the speed of the turbine. This is one of the characteristics that makes the drive unique. The new full power ACS880 drive and its dedicated control system helped in covering more speed range and in generating more power to the grid.

Adding a regenerative drive and ABB Hydropack control software also improved the efficiency of the hydropower plant with a reduction in mechanical losses. The customer could benefit from an enhanced power output, alongside reduced emissions, and less maintenance costs. An indirect benefit provided by the installation of the drive is the mechanical smoothness that prevents breakdowns and increases the lifespan of the mechanical components.

Achieved a faster return on investment  

The rivers in Spain have a very large flow variability throughout the year. In order to optimize the power curve in all production conditions, ABB Motion Services provides the customer with an annual permanent monitoring together with a monthly report of the improvements and optimizations done during the first year after the modernization. In addition, service experts will conduct a follow up of any modifications of the installation for a period of one year.

“Due to low river flows, the power plant was not as efficient as our expectations. After the modernization of ACS880 drive, we not only witnessed a significant increase in the performance of the power plant at low flow rates, but also an improvement at the rest of flows, even at a nominal speed, leading to a faster return on investment in nearly one and a half years,” says Josep Maria Sabatés, Head of FIL-GENESIS.

Red line: Theoretical power curve at variable speed 

Blue line: Power curve without drive 

Green line: New real power curve with drive implementation

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