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Non-stop energy: service so good the client didn’t even notice us

1. August 2019

After a Spanish contractor, mostly working on international projects, was assigned a unique project in the remote mountains of Talca, 260 km from Santiago, they started searching for equipment to generate the necessary energy to build a 120 MW hydroelectric power plant. The project required equipment that could deliver optimal performance, avoid shutdowns and contribute to a safe work environment.

To meet these challenges, we delivered six (6) modular power plants with 4 QAS generators and one (1) with QAC 1250 generators at the different ork stations of the site.

Securing constant energy supply and optimal fuel consumption

As the project was located about 100 km from the nearest city (Talca), there was no main electricity grid to connect to.

To solve this, the contractor had in mind one generator per construction station. In that case, however, there would be no back-up if a generator failed, making shutdowns inevitable.

After some thorough calculations, we proposed using three to four 500 kVA diesel generators per workstation. Each generator would be equipped with a built-in Power Management System to optimize fuel consumption.

These Power Management Systems are used to synchronize the generators, so that additional generators are only activated when a larger amount of energy is needed. When a smaller amount of energy is required some generators remain inactive to avoid fuel waste. In this configuration, there is always a backup generator that will start working the moment a failure occurs, avoiding a plant shutdown. In addition, the QAS generators are compact and designed to be portable so they can easily be moved around as frequently as needed, guaranteeing a safe work environment.

A challenging environment

We also needed to convince the customer that this not only was the right solution but that our equipment is superior to our competitors both in quality and fuel consumption. To achieve that, we prepared several 3D simulations demonstrating how our generators would cope in a wide range of possible situations. It was important to demonstrate that we take continuous, efficient service very seriously, as the remote location of the hydroelectric plant would be quite challenging.

Due to the tricky, mountainous location, the installation of the generators and connections demanded extensive coordination with the customer. For one of the stations, we even had to use a helicopter to deliver the generators since there was no road.

Not only placing the equipment was challenging, but using it was also really complicated in such a rugged environment. During construction, the contractor had to drill a 12 km long tunnel.
Drilling long-distance tunnels requires higher voltage generators in order to transport the energy through the tunnel all the way to the drilling machine. To ensure this distance, we connected the generators to a pair of voltage-boosting transformers, increasing the voltage from 400 to 13.800 VAC. Exactly what our customer needed!

To make sure all of our equipment ran smoothly, we also had ten field technicians who 24/7 checked everything on site for the entire duration of the project.

“Service so smooth the client didn’t even notice us”

In the end, we offered the equipment and service the contractor was looking for.
Our diesel generators with Power Management Systems delivered a strong performance and contributed to a safe work environment, while taking into account the mountainous surroundings. Most importantly, our generators were able to provide electricity non-stop, avoiding plant shutdowns while also saving on fuel costs.

The idea was not having to worry about energy generation during the construction. In fact, the energy delivery and service have been so good, we didn’t even notice the presence of Atlas Copco Rental during our work

Rafael Gotzon , Ferrovial Contract Administrator

Francisco Valderrama, Project & Development Manager, Atlas Copco Rental Chile concludes that "In four years of construction, we managed to have not one single plant shutdown. This once again shows how reliable our generators are."

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Great ideas accelerate innovation. At Atlas Copco we have been turning industrial ideas into business-critical benefits since 1873. By listening to our customers and knowing their needs, we deliver value and innovate with the future in mind. Atlas Copco is based in Stockholm, Sweden with customers in more than 180 countries and about 37 000 employees. Revenues of BSEK 95/ 9 BEUR in 2018. Learn more at www.atlascopcogroup.com. Great ideas reinforce sustainable development. At Atlas Copco Specialty Rental we team up with our customers to set up state-of-the-art temporary air, power, flow, steam and nitrogen solutions. Our passionate experts have extended application as well as equipment knowledge. We understand our customers' needs and can provide a total solution for any industry, no matter if it is for emergencies or planned projects. We are a division of the Power Technique business area, headquartered in Boom, Belgium and offer specialty rental solutions under several brands around the globe.