Powerplant in Africa: the power of solar energy

Africa, a continent where the amount of sun hours in a year is very high. Because the sun is an important energy source, it would be a missed opportunity not to respond to the hybrid trend. Controlin in co-operation with several parties, under which Koninklijke van Twist, is currently responding to this trend. The involved parties are going to optimise a power plant somewhere in the west of Africa for a prominent client.


The purpose of this project is to take care of an optimal integration between the solar panels and generators, with the ultimate goal of making the energy management as efficient and reliable as possible. To achieve this, the power plant is considerably upgraded and expanded.

 

63 generator sets, with a total power of 16.9 MVA

At the moment, the plant in Africa consists of dozens of generator sets. Generator sets that have already been supplied by Koninklijke Van Twist in the past and are equipped with Comap’s InteliCompact NT Mint controllers supplied by Controlin. These sets are now being supplemented and dozens of generator sets have been added, making the number of generator sets on the power plant as high as 63. In addition, the power plant will be fitted with solar panels so that thanks to this hybrid installation, an energy supply will be available 24/7.

Africa, a continent where the amount of sun hours in a year is very high. Because the sun is an important energy source, it would be a missed opportunity not to respond to the hybrid trend. Controlin in co-operation with several parties, under which Koninklijke van Twist, is currently responding to this trend.

The (test) location at Koninklijke Van Twist played an important role during this project. Here, among other things, the new sets have been converted with hybrid controllers and the conversion panels have been prepared for the existing generator sets. Eltechna, Unica (panel builders for support with the conversion panels) and Van Wezel (supplier of the main distribution panels in the containers for the new sets) collaborated with Controlin and Koninklijke van Twist on the realization of this project.

All new and renewed generator sets are supplied with ComAp InteliGen NT(C) BaseBox controllers. InteliVision 5 control panels are used for operation and visualization. The IS-NTC Hybrid controllers, also from ComAp, are used to communicate directly with the PV plant. A Comap communication interface is placed between the hybrid controller and the PV inverters. This allows the different components in the hybrid installation to communicate with each other at all times.

An extensive project, in which the question “what exactly does this yield” soon comes to mind. The answer is as simple as it is overwhelming. Each generator set generates a maximum output of 330 kVA, even after conversion. Due to the high temperatures on location in Africa – it can be as high as 50 degrees – it is adjusted to 300 kVA. The old generators generate ‘’derated’’ 200 kVA. In total, 16.9MVA, a power that the term power plant lives up to.

Africa, a continent where the amount of sun hours in a year is very high. Because the sun is an important energy source, it would be a missed opportunity not to respond to the hybrid trend. Controlin in co-operation with several parties, under which Koninklijke van Twist, is currently responding to this trend.

A good start is half the work
Important dates of this project were 23 and 24th of April: the test days. On these days two commissioners, both from ComAp, visited the test location at Koninklijke Van Twist. On behalf of Controlin, commissioning engineer John van der Stelt was present, together with the commissioning engineers of ComAp and Koninklijke Van Twist, to monitor the new generator sets, to test them and also to commission them immediately.

In order not to be dependent on the weather and because the large number of solar panels that are placed on site cannot be simulated at the test location, the hybrid installation present at the test site was tested using a (DC) simulation source. This way it was possible to check whether the communication between the hybrid controllers from Comap and the inverters of the PV plant is working correctly.

To dot the I’s and cross the t’s
Friday, May the 4th, all elements, including the new generator sets and the conversion panels, were transported by planes to the customer in Africa. The most important days of the entire project will follow in June, when the entire installation is connected, optimized and commissioned on site.

Components used:

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