Medium voltage drives for power generation industry

Variable speed drives improve the heat rate and net power output and reduce operating costs.

The investment in variable speed drives increases the plant availability and flexibility through improved process control and reduces emissions and maintenance costs.

Using ABB's medium voltage drives for speed and torque control of power generation applications offers many advantages, including:

  • Increased production capacity and reduced emissions
  • Fast and precise control under all conditions
  • Soft starting features for a longer lifetime of electrical and mechanical equipment
ABB supplies drives products and systems for various kinds of processes and applications in the power generation industry:

Gas turbine power plants
GT starters, drives for fuel gas booster compressors, boiler (HRSG) feed-water pumps and cooling water pumps
Steam generating boilers, waste incinerators
Drives for boiler feed-water, cooling water and circulation water pumps, FD and ID fans
District heating, Combined Heat and Power (CHP)
Drives for water circulation pumps in industrial and municipal combined heat and power plants
Fuel handling
Drives for conveyors, coal mills and fuel gas booster compressors
Selective catalytic reduction, flue gas desulphurization
Drives for ID booster fans, limestone slurry-feed and absorbent circulation pumps and oxidation air compressors
Pumped storage hydro power plants
Soft starters for hydro turbines
Renewable energy
Drives for geothermal power plants and soft starters for synchronous condensers
Nuclear power plants
Drives for feed-water, condensate recirculation and cooling water pumps


Energy savings and reduced emissions
Since pumps and fans typically run at partial load, huge energy savings can be achieved by controlling their speed with variable speed drives. A small reduction in speed can make a big reduction in energy consumption.


Processes driven by pumps or fans are usually controlled either electrically with variable speed drives, or mechanically with inlet guide vanes, throttling vanes or hydraulic couplings. With mechanical solutions, however, it is practically impossible to achieve the optimal process efficiency over the whole control range.

Soft starting
During the starting process, variable speed drives act as soft starters. They progressively increase the motor voltage and frequency and smoothly accelerate the load to its rated speed, eliminating the stress on the electrical and mechanical equipment. Maintenance costs will be reduced and the lifetime of the equipment extended. High starting currents and voltage dips in the supply network, which might cause process disturbances, are eliminated.

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