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A huge project is nearing completion next year to serve Algeria's second largest city.
Using an optimised variant of conventional reverse osmosis (RO) technology, the world's largest RO seawater desalination facility being built by ABB at Magtaa on the outskirts of Oran will produce up to half a million cubic metres of water each day, sufficient to meet the requirements of about five million inhabitants.
The complete and highly optimized electrical package supplied by the multinational will ensure what is promised as an unprecedented level of energy efficiency - and significantly reduce the length of scheduled plant shutdowns required for regular maintenance, too.
ABB will be energising this band-new facility and providing a 220kV outdoor substation which will connect it directly to the largely gas-fuelled national grid. The facility is being built and will be owned and operated for a period of 25 years by Asia's leading technology-driven environmental business, Hyflux.
As utilities throughout the Gulf know to their cost, consumption of electrical power is one of the biggest single running costs, even in a country like Algeria with so much gas to spare. So making the process more energy efficient translates directly into more water for safe drinking purposes in a particularly hot and arid shoreside environment.
ABB's innovative power solution for this landmark facility includes three medium voltage drives that will reduce plant electrical losses from the industry benchmark target of five per cent to just three points, a huge improvement in energy efficiency compared to accepted industry standards.
The same drives from the multinational EU-based supplier are being specially designed to speed up the long start up process for such utility facilities after they have been put through regular maintenance procedures, or have suffered a power failure-related shutdown.
Traditional methods of mechanical control cannot be relied on to do this. ABB-built drives reduce the mechanical stress on water pumps and the electrical stress on motors and, specifically in RO facilities like this, improve membrane life too.
Compared with traditional suction valve control, these drives also reduce the energy consumption of essential pumps. The calculated consequence over the 25 years of the BOO arrangement should be a massive increase in plant profitability.
ABB is a world leading supplier of power and automation solutions to the water industry, offering a compete capability in integrated and optimized instrumentation/control/ electrical systems as well as a range of automation products that improve the energy efficiency, productivity and reliability of such essential facilities.