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Retrofit solution enhances efficiency for leading European energy supplier

14 July 2023

ABB is allowing a prominent Belgium energy provider to embrace a circular economy with a retrofit switchgear upgrade, achieving significant improvements in safety, performance, and cost-effectiveness.

ENGIE, which specialises in energy supply, management, mobility solutions, solar panel installations and batteries and asset-based energy services, was looking to modernise its electrical infrastructure by extracting as much value as possible from its existing equipment with high embedded carbon and material footprints – such as switchgear metal cabinets, plates and busbars. 

The ABB OneFit Retrofill Solution replaced conventional and ageing breaker components with state-of-the-art VD4G vacuum circuit breakers. 

The upgrade protects mission-critical ENGIE assets, such as generators and transformers, against potential short-circuits by isolating power interruptions within milliseconds and preventing severe damage and lengthy plant stoppages.

ENGIE’s Technology Manager, Nico Verroken, said: “ENGIE is all about providing efficient and sustainable energy solutions that will support our customers in their transition to zero carbon. 

“Our innovative heat and power plants harness the waste heat created during electricity generation and convert it to usable power for the local infrastructure, so their continuous and safe operation is absolutely essential.

“For us, this retrofill from ABB not only provided a low-carbon footprint solution, but minimised disruption to energy supply, while guaranteeing reliable and safe energy for the long term.” 

Another bonus of the OneFit retrofill service is that upgrades can be implemented in stages and staggered to not only optimise capital expenditure, but also to allow work to be completed in short production breaks and within normal planned maintenance downtime. 

ABB’s Electrification Service Sales Engineer, Ben Verboven, added: “Our technical expertise combined with close and transparent collaboration with ENGIE meant the best custom-made and cost-effective solution was developed for the business. 

“The highest safety standards for employees across all five sites was guaranteed by providing an extra enclosure inside the switchgear and a closed-door operational mode, which removes the risk of electrical contact injuries.” 

Comprising an adaptation kit and standard withdrawable equipment, the OneFit plug-in technology enables the new breakers and switchgear components to be simply and safely connected to a wide range of existing panels, including those of other manufacturers. 

For ENGIE, this latest modernisation program by ABB Electrification Service is a tangible example of how the circular approach of extending asset lifespan and reducing the cost of operating equipment brings both short and long-term benefits, while helping deliver performance improvements, investment optimisation and new levels of sustainable efficiency. 

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