Sectors Manufacturing

The challenge

Provide backup power with monsoon season looming

Manufacturing aluminium is a round-the-clock job. If a smelter goes without power for more than four hours, the molten metal solidifies and causes extensive damage to plant equipment. It’s critical to have adequate backup power, plus a black start power system, in case the local grid fails. 

An aluminium smelter in India learnt this lesson the hard way when monsoon winds disrupted the local grid in 2014. With just eight weeks until the next monsoon season, we were called in to make sure they were ready to face it.

Project fact file

32 MW / 6.6 kV

Power package

8 weeks

Delivery time

19.5 %

Minimum voltage dip allowed

The solution

A black start power package designed to meet the smelter’s needs

We have the experience and resources to meet tight deadlines like this one. Our local team designed and installed a temporary black start power package capable of kick-starting the smelter’s captive power plant. On paper, it looks like an easy task. But a lot of number-crunching was needed to meet the unique needs of the smelter. Our system needed the grunt to start a 4.9 MW motor in direct-on-line (DOL) mode, and control the voltage dip to less than 19.5 per cent over a base load of 6 MW. We’ve done plenty of this work before, so knew exactly what was required.

the aggreko difference

Our teams always show their mettle, however complex the situation.

The impact

Continuous operation and no costly repairs

When the 2015 monsoon began, the aluminium plant was ready for it. Our black start power package was installed and tested within just eight weeks, and proved itself more than capable of keeping the smelter up and running if the local power grid failed. The risk of financial loss associated with catastrophic power failure was virtually eliminated. 

“We were in a race against nature on this job, and we drew on vast global experience to quickly address the unique needs of the aluminium smelter.”