ABB supplies power and automation solution for India’s largest seawater desalination plant

2011-03-14 - ABB is supplying a complete electrical, control and instrumentation solution for India’s largest seawater reverse osmosis desalination plant in Chennai. Best technical fit, reduced energy consumption and rapid delivery were among the reasons why.

By ABB Communications

ABB was awarded the contract in early 2010 by VA Tech Wabag, one of the world’s leading providers of water treatment facilities, for a turnkey electrical, control and instrumentation solution for the Nemmeli seawater reverse osmosis desalination plant near Chennai on the east coast of India.


The ABB distributed control system will handle all plant operations and provide a comprehensive information management platform for the entire facility


The ABB solution was singled out for the extensive benefits it brings both to VA Tech Wabag during implementation of the project, and to the end user, Chennai Metro Water, in the form of energy efficiency and reduced operating and maintenance costs.

For VA Tech Wabag, ABB’s turnkey power and automation solution eliminates multi-ordering from different vendors and reduces lead times. ABB’s ability to complete the project in 18 months will be crucial to VA Tech Wabag delivering its largest desalination plant ever within just 24 months.

ABB’s scope of supply includes the electrical system for the desalination plant (motors, drives, switchgear, capacitor banks, transformers, cabling, lighting), a 110/11kilovolt ( kV) substation that connects the site to the power grid, the plant’s distributed control system and wireless communication system, and the instrumentation for measuring, monitoring and analyzing the entire desalination process. ABB is also responsible for engineering, supply, erection and commissioning.

ABB’s market and technology leadership in the products and systems that make up the integrated electrical, control and instrumentation solution will bring substantial operational benefits for Chennai Metro Water as well.

ABB drives cut the energy consumption of pumps at desalination plants significantly compared to traditional suction valve control. They reduce the mechanical stress on pumps and electrical stress on motors and improve membrane life


For instance, the use of high-efficiency ABB motors and variable speed drives to power the high pressure pumps and reverse osmosis process will significantly reduce energy consumption and electrical losses. The drives will lower the mechanical and electrical stress on pump components, speed up the long startup process after maintenance shutdowns, and reduce plant downtime compared with the traditional method of mechanical control.

Over the course of the plant’s lifetime these improvements in energy efficiency, plant productivity and reduced wear and tear will provide a huge and sustained boost to plant profitability.
Nemmeli seawater desalination plant when completed in end 2011 will supply up to 100 million liters of potable water a day and reduce the stress on Chennai’s dwindling groundwater resources.

Chennai is India’s fourth largest city, with a population of around 4.6 million. The city is a booming information technology and IT services hub, and among the top 10 car manufacturing centers in the world



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    ABB's desalination solution for Chennai Metro Water was singled out for extensive benefits of energy efficiency and reduced operating and maintenance costs. (Pictured is a reverse osmosis dealination plant in Spain)

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