Rodelta pumps and ABB motors support the transition to low-emission biofuels

Rodelta pumps and ABB motors support the transition to low-emission biofuels

Dutch pump manufacturer Rodelta, in collaboration with ABB, recently redesigned its close-coupled range, enabling a contract to supply pumps for one of Europe’s largest biofuel plants.

Rodelta Pumps International has been selected by Shell to supply close-coupled pumps for the new Red2Green biofuel plant being constructed in Rotterdam. When planned production starts in 2024 the plant will produce 820,000 tonnes per year of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) and renewable biodiesel which will reduce CO₂ emissions by 2.8 million tonnes every year - the equivalent of taking one million cars off the road.

Close-coupled pumps are technically very demanding. Close coupling means that the motor and pump are integrated into a single unit, with the pump impeller directly mounted on the motor shaft. The pump does not have its own bearings, and the motor’s bearings have to withstand all the forces generated. As the motor and pump are totally integrated, the motor and pump manufacturers work closely together to ensure that all tolerances are within agreed specifications. Rodelta’s close-coupled pumps (OH5) are part of the company’s API range, a pump configuration defined in American Petroleum Institute standard API 610.

Complete hydraulic redesign

“A new edition of the API standard was released in early 2021, and this was a great opportunity for us to launch our new hydraulic redesign of our OH5 pumps,” says Ronald Dijkers from Rodelta. “It was a big project. We carefully studied the new requirements and worked closely with ABB to optimize our solution. ABB redesigned the motors according to our specifications.”

“We upgraded our entire OH5 range, and our pumps are now fully compliant with the latest, 12th edition of the standard. Our range has zero deviations from the requirements. Other manufacturers can’t match this – we know of cases where the wall thickness deviates from the standard, for example.”

Rodelta’s OH5 range previously consisted of inline pumps, but as part of the redesign they added ‘U-turn’ versions with the suction and discharge connections on the same side. The same ABB motors are used for both versions.

“At ABB we are pleased that we could play our own part, working with Rodelta’s professional team, to help redesign the motor/pump combination,” says Michel Jansen of ABB in the Netherlands. “We worked very closely throughout the project, and a team from our low voltage motors factory in Finland visited Rodelta to make sure we got all the tolerances and specifications exactly right.”

Small footprint and low maintenance

Important benefits of OH5 pumps are that they have a much smaller footprint than horizontally mounted pumps, and therefore save space. Close-coupled pumps do not have a gearbox or other coupling, which eliminates alignment issues and avoids wear problems related to mechanical components. These factors have made close-coupled pumps increasingly popular, especially in chemical, oil and gas applications, and sales have risen rapidly in recent years.

In addition to a batch of engineered pumps for Shell’s high-profile Red2Green plant, other recent successes for Rodelta’s close-coupled pumps include seven new U-turn pumps for a second Shell project in the Netherlands, as well as 38 pumps for a project in southeast Asia.

Rodelta was founded in 1946 and is based in Almelo, around 120 kilometers east of Amsterdam. It offers products for flood control, irrigation, drinking water, waste water, pulp & paper, power, chemical, oil & gas and general industries, backed by a comprehensive range of services.

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