Transferring water through the Sahara Desert
2011-11-03 - ABB is providing a turnkey electrical, control, instrumentation and mechanical solution for the Réseau de Collecte water transfer scheme in Algeria, one of the largest water projects ever undertaken in the Sahara region.
When completed later this year, the Réseau de Collecte water transfer scheme will pump and deliver 50,000 cubic meters of water a day via pipeline through the Sahara Desert from In Salah to Tamanrasset, a distance of almost 750 km.
In Salah is an urban community of 43,000 inhabitants located close to an aquifer, whereas Tamanrasset is a much larger city of 115,000 with inadequate water resources. Earmarked as one of the Algerian government’s key infrastructure projects, the capacity of the scheme is expected to triple to 150,000 cubic meters a day by 2030 to meet the needs of Tamanrasset’s rapidly growing population.
ABB is playing a key role in the project by supplying a turnkey mechanical, electrical, control, instrumentation and communications solution for the entire water collection system at In Salah.
The 25 square kilometer site consists of 24 wells, from which water will be pumped from a depth of 600 meters at a rate of 35 liters per second. The water will then be collected and stored in eight huge covered reservoirs, where it will be protected from evaporation, ready for transfer via the pipeline to Tamanrasset.
The ABB solution will power the whole water collection system and connect the site to the local power grid to ensure a safe and reliable supply of electricity to site operations. ABB instrumentation will measure the flow, temperature, pressure and quality of the water, and an ABB distributed control system will monitor and control the entire process.
Improved pump performance
ABB was able to use the breadth of its power and automation offering and water industry expertise to improve on the original specifi cations by adding ABB low voltage drives to each well pumping system. The drives significantly improve pump performance, availability and energy consumption by starting the pumps smoothly and by automatically adjusting them to rapid changes in operating conditions, thereby saving energy and reducing wear and tear.
ABB is executing the water collection system in conjunction with the Chinese joint venture MCC-SOCOM on behalf of Algérienne des Eaux (ADE), a state-owned utility under the management of the Algerian Water Resources Ministry.
The project is one of several that ABB is currently delivering or has recently handed over in Algeria. They include a complete and highly optimized electrical solution for the world’s largest seawater reverse osmosis desalination plant at Magtaa in the city of Oran; and turnkey electrical, control, instrumentation and mechanical solutions for the Harrach Douéra, Oued Djer and MAO pumping stations.