The right ABB modernization services at the right time to prevent expensive downtime at the Neste Porvoo refinery

The right ABB modernization services at the right time to prevent expensive downtime at the Neste Porvoo refinery

ABB Motion Services identifies the best possible ways to match assets life cycle with operational needs and helps optimize their performance. ABB's tailored modernization solution improves reliability and prevents costly downtime of the main compressor motors at the Neste Porvoo refinery.

Neste is the world’s leading producer of renewable diesel and sustainable aviation fuel, developing chemical recycling to combat the plastic waste challenge. As a technologically advanced refiner of high-quality oil products with a commitment to reach carbon-neutral production by 2035, Neste is also introducing renewable and recycled raw materials such as waste plastic as refinery raw materials. In Finland, Neste has a refinery in Porvoo, comprising of four production lines and more than 40 process units. Production at Porvoo refinery is highly automated; it is one of Europe’s most advanced and versatile refineries.  

ABB’s modernization services minimize the risk of production cuts at Neste hydrocracking process

The hydrocracking process is an important part of reforming high-quality products like diesel and jet fuel. ABB AMZ motors are used in Neste's hydrocracking process to drive two recycle and makeup gas compressors. The compressors raise the pressure of fresh hydrogen from the hydrogen unit and the base oil unit's circulating gas to the process pressure level. Under normal operating conditions two out of three fresh hydrogen and recirculation gas compressors are in use and one in reserve. The process operates at high hydrogen partial pressure and the reactions require a considerable amount of hydrogen. As a result, the process would run into safe state if even one compressor stopped working, causing production cuts and significant production loss.

ABB provides modernization services to extend the lifetime of equipment and optimize its performance. ABB experts replaced the three motor control panels (MCPs) of the ABB primary compressor motors which were installed at the Porvoo refinery in 2005.

“After 15 years of operation, the MCPs were close to the end of their lifetime. As power electronics components, such as automatic voltage regulators, have a shorter lifetime than motors, ABB recommended an MCP replacement to ensure continued reliable operation of the motors.” said Pekka Ketola, ABB Motion Services Global Product Manager.

An MCP is a critical element in a direct-on-line operated synchronous motor as it controls the excitation and protects the motor. When an MCP is at the end of its lifetime, the availability of the motor can decrease. This can impact the whole production line, leading to expensive downtime for Neste. That’s why it is important to plan for a replacement or upgrade at least once during a motor’s lifetime.

Therefore, Neste decided to modernize all the three motor control panels during 2019-2020. The modernization was carried out during a planned normal shutdown at the Porvoo refinery. In order to further minimize possible downtime in the future, Neste opted for a dual automatic voltage regulator (AVR) model, with advanced protection in its main components. This dual-AVR arrangement provides redundancy, and a single fault is detected immediately and cleared to further minimize the risk of downtime for Neste.  

  • AMZ motor at Neste Porvoo refinery
  • Motor Control Panel (MCP)
  • Neste Porvoo refinery
“ABB has been our trusted partner for services for many years. The new MCPs from ABB with built-in redundancy ensure that our production is not impacted even if a fault occurs,” said Juha Sihvonen, Group Leader, Electrical Systems at Neste. "In addition, we also have access to ABB troubleshooting services."

With over 130 years of experience in manufacturing and servicing motors and generators and more than 40 years for drives, ABB is recognized as a global leader for effective extension, retrofit and upgrade solutions in the field. ABB’s standardized offerings ensure customers get the best possible service every time and the group also leverage its engineering and consultancy expertise to modernize selected third-party installations.


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