Cogeneration electricity supplier opts for a sustainable retrofit

As part of its efforts to achieve net zero fossil carbon dioxide emissions, Swedish electricity supplier Mälarenergi has partnered with engineering firm ABB to upgrade its switchgear with retrofit solutions at its cogeneration plant in Västerås.

By replacing the plant’s aging circuit breakers with modern Emax2 models, says ABB, the electrical circuits are not only fully protected, but feature new technologies that reduce energy consumption, saving valuable time, costs and resources.  It also means most of the critical infrastructure has had its lifespan extended, avoiding the carbon emissions associated with manufacturing an entire new system, as well as additional transportation costs and inevitable emissions.

Mälarenergi’s cogeneration plant in Västerås is one of Sweden’s largest and plays an important role in the sustainable development of the city, with 98 percent of all properties in the locality connected to the district heating network.  Only renewable and recycled fuels are used in the cogeneration plant, which produces 1800GWH of heat and 700GWH of electricity annually and has been continuously upgraded with modern technology to maximize uptime and minimize environmental impact since the 1960s.

Rolf Bäckström, maintenance engineer at Mälarenergi explains: “This retrofit project is a step in our journey towards achieving net-zero emissions of fossil carbon dioxide. The fact that we are doing it together with a supplier who is on the same sustainability journey as Mälarenergi feels extra special.”

The retrofit, which was carried out in three stages with customized solutions required for each of the switchgear cabinets, also resulted in operational benefits for the plant. By modernizing its electricity system and upgrading the switchgear with up-to-date electronics that will work for many years to come, Mälarenergi can avoid unplanned downtime, maintain predictable delivery to its customers and increase safety for both personnel and equipment.

Amer Filipovic, project manager for ABB’ Electrification Sweden business area, explains: “By modernizing its electricity system and upgrading the switchgear, Mälarenergi is reducing its total cost of ownership, maximizing the return on investment and avoiding unplanned downtime. Using this method, we’ve seen some of our customers’ facilities reduce equipment operating costs by a third while extending their life cycle by as much as 30 years.”

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