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Reactive power compensation for Sinterwerke Grenchen Ltd.

Sintering involves the use of electrically heated furnaces and powder presses, which require a great deal of energy. Without reactive power compensation, these would overload the local electricity grid and incur substantial costs. To prevent that, we relieve power lines of reactive power and contribute to the local security of supply. This is something that Sinterwerke Grenchen can now also rely on.

The globally active firm Sinterwerke Grenchen Ltd. is a traditional and renowned specialist in sinter technology for the automotive industry. During an inspection of its production site in Grenchen, we found that the existing reactive power compensation systems were no longer in line with today's requirements. For this reason, we evaluated what was needed and replaced the reactive power compensation systems. A total of three systems, each technically equipped for a compensation capacity of 400 kVar, were delivered and put into operation on 14 November 2019. These systems, integrated into the company's infrastructure during ongoing production operations, have a fully automatic control system and reduce grid usage costs dramatically. In the next step, the load peaks are to be analysed, so as to identify how further cost savings can be made for Sinterwerke Grenchen.

Cost-reducing and long-lasting compensation systems

Each of the turnkey systems that we deliver is planned and manufactured on a country-specific basis. During analysis and engineering, we attach particular importance not only to grid frequency and impedance, but also to serviceability, installation options in existing electrical cabinets, or operation with solid-state contactors for rapidly changing loads, in order to guarantee a long service life and trouble-free operation. Short delivery times, country-specific technical system documentation and guaranteed availability of replacement parts are other reasons why Sinterwerke Grenchen Ltd. has opted to count on the services provided by Alpiq.

What is reactive power?

In order to generate electromagnetic fields, the motors used require reactive power. This places a load on the electricity grid, but cannot be utilised or converted into another form of energy. Beyond a certain point, reactive power is subject to fees. To avoid such costs, we plan, build and deliver reactive power compensation systems that function as capacitive loads. Investment in these systems is soon paid for by the absence of reactive power fees. Alpiq has been planning and selling reactive power compensation equipment for over seventy years and delivers it worldwide.