Something old, something new – supporting a sustainable energy solution in a Dutch community

2016-12-22 - The control system at the HVC Alkmaar plant has recently been upgraded, boosting reliability at this facility that generates energy from waste. ABB’s world-leading Symphony Plus digital control system was installed in just seven days, a swift migration with long-lasting benefits.

The city of Alkmaar in the northeast of the Netherlands may have a medieval façade and hold a traditional cheese market, but one of its methods of power generation points to a more sustainable future. At the HVC Alkmaar plant, domestic and industrial waste from more than a million residents is converted into electrical energy for over 100,000 people and hot water for a district heating network.

The waste-to-energy industry is a growing market. On the one hand, rising populations and urbanization are leading to more waste, while on the other landfill options are diminishing. However, using the waste-to-energy process, one ton of municipal solid waste could supply up to 800 kilowatt hours of electricity. A sustainable, reliable and affordable energy system is one of the aims of the Dutch Government, which is seeking to considerably reduce carbon dioxide emissions and increase the percentage of electricity derived from sustainable sources. This focus on sustainable living is reflected in Amsterdam and Rotterdam taking, respectively, the fourth and fifth position on the Arcadis Sustainable Cities Index in 2015.

A perfect fit

The control system at the HVC Alkmaar plant had become outdated. ABB migrated the existing Contronic E control system, which was also supplied by ABB, as well as the plant’s turbine control system, into its Symphony® Plus system. The migration ensures that plant control is state of the art for at least another 10-15 years. “Our existing control system was from ABB, so the new system fits perfectly. It was a logical decision to continue working with this company,” says Hans Deken, Project Manager at HVC Group, which operates the Alkmaar plant.

The migration also ensures that the plant’s entire automation system can be handled from one control room, using one common operating system. Symphony Plus is a digital control system that carefully collects plant and engineering data from across the whole plant, analyzes this and provides actionable insights to customers such as the HVC Group, who can use this to improve their asset performance and profitability.

The installation and commissioning of the new technology took place in just one week in summer 2016 – a challenging schedule brought about by the need to shut-down the entire plant for the migration. ABB met both the tight deadline and the customer’s expectations, and now its upgraded DCS technology will play a part in generating sustainable power for years to come.

ABB is a pioneering technology leader in electrification products, robotics and motion, industrial automation and power grids, serving customers in utilities, industry and transport & infrastructure globally. Continuing more than a 125-year history of innovation, ABB today is writing the future of industrial digitalization and driving the Energy and Fourth Industrial Revolutions. ABB operates in more than 100 countries with about 135,000 employees.

To learn more about ABB Power Generation Services, take a stroll through out website here: ABB Power Generation Service