ABB Future-Proofs Energy with Power Plant Modernisation

ABB has partnered with Nordværk to replace its ageing infrastructure
The Nordværk waste to energy plant in Denmark successfully modernises installed base with just minutes of downtime thanks to an innovative ABB solution

One of Europe’s most important waste to energy incinerator plants has successfully modernised its ageing network as a result of a collaboration with ABB.

The Nordværk energy plant in Denmark’s circuit breakers were upgraded with just minutes of downtime thanks to ABB’s Direct Replacement (DR) solution, which removed and replaced the mobile parts of its legacy Emax circuit breakers.

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A significant feat, the replaced infrastructure had been in place since the plant’s inception in 2005 and enables the Nordværk facility to provide renewable energy for thousands of households in the northern region of Denmark.

ABB: Updating Nordværk’s ageing energy infrastructure

The Nordværk plant provides 42MW of district heating and boasts 17MW electricity generation capabilities, underscoring the urgency of updating the facilities’ infrastructure. This was further compounded by the fact that spare parts are no longer available, making modernisation imperative.

“We have an important task of producing electricity and district heating for Aalborg and its critical infrastructure,” Nordværk electrician Claus Riis said.

“It’s hugely expensive to shut down completely.

The Nordværk energy plant in Denmark

“Replacing the breakers with minimal downtime was of the utmost importance, so when we were presented with the new possibilities enabled by Direct Replacement, it was actually a pretty easy choice.”

Intervention via ABB’s Direct Replacement method allowed for swift replacements, ensuring that the modernisation was not only fast but also safe, making sure the operation to continued with minimal downtime.

How ABB’s modernisations works

ABB’s Direct Replacement solution is specifically designed for situations where minimising shutdown time is critical. By replacing only the mobile part of the old breakers with a dedicated Emax 2 part, the installation process is significantly simplified, as Ole Dahl, Electrification Service Sales Engineer at ABB Denmark, explains.

He says this solution addresses the outdated assumption that modernising breakers requires prolonged shutdowns and extensive equipment removal.

“Circuit breakers play a vital role in preventing overheating or fire causing catastrophic damage and stoppages but too many businesses where uptime is crucial, such as power plants, hospitals and data centres, are running old install bases to the point of failure,” he said. 

ABB’s Direct Replacement method ensured that the modernisation was not only swift but also safe

“Modernisation projects such as Nordværk prove that legacy breakers can be upgraded with minimal downtime. Spare parts are readily available for the new equipment, which is not only more reliable but also future-proofed with the possibility for advanced monitoring and communication.”

In the case of Nordværk, the entire exchange process was completed in just 10 minutes per breaker. This efficiency, as highlighted by Claus, was critical for the plant.

ABB’s commitment to sustainable innovation

ABB’s modernisation project at Nordværk serves as a compelling case study for other businesses where uptime is crucial, demonstrating that legacy systems can indeed be upgraded efficiently and effectively.

This ties in with ABB’s commitment to sustainable innovation. As a global technology leader in electrification and automation, the brand continues to drive innovations that transform industrial operations, enhance energy efficiency and support a low-carbon society. 

Its history of excellence spans back more than 130 years of excellence, and its workforce of more than 100,000 employees propels the brand to the forefront of technological advancements that enable a sustainable and resource-efficient future.


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