ABB generators: Power, efficiency, and other specs

ABB generators for various applications

ABB generators – background information

ABB generators, as in the case with motors from the same manufacturer, represent the heart of any electrical system because they allow producing much power from mechanical energy to feed this circuit. There are several types of generators, but ABB mainly creates induction ones. If we try to describe the assortment of ABB generators in crude terms, we will get the next list:

  • Generators for turbines (steam, gas and wind turbines);
  • Generators for engines (diesel or gas);
  • Generators for renewable marine energy sources;
  • Generators for railway transport (traction generators);
  • Synchronous condensers.

As you can see, ABB sorts out five categories of generators with six groups – there are two independent groups of devices for turbines. The rearmost representative of such electrical appliances is a synchronous condenser. This is not a proper generator. The condenser is usually used when it is necessary to correct (compensate) the lag in power factor of power grids. ABB crams this device into its collection of generators, but we will concentrate our forces on proper generators. As for the ABB motors and synchronous condensers (which are very similar to motors), we can give you a direct link to our previously written article:

Now let’s plunge into technology and find out what is good and bad in any ABB generator!

ABB generators for turbines

This group of ABB generators counts eight appliances. Five of them can be used in conjunction with a wind turbine, while the other three generators befit installations with gas or steam turbines. The entire list of ABB generators for turbines looks like this:

  • Compact HV generator;
  • Non-sparking synchronous generator;
  • Pressurized synchronous generator;
  • Doubly-fed generator;
  • PM generator;
  • Fixed-speed generator;
  • High-speed induction generator;
  • Generator for community wind turbines.

The first three generators are intended for use with steam/gas turbines. The other five groups represent generators for wind turbines. They all work a bit differently and have various power output values. Now let’s examine some of turbine generators closer.

A permanent magnet generator from ABB is a synchronous apparatus with reduced excitation loss up to 30%. This is possible thanks to the use of permanent magnets (as the name suggests) instead of ordinary rotor winding. These devices are additionally separated into three sub-groups, including high-speed and medium-speed generators, as well as direct-drive generators. New PM generators are built around the full converter concept, which allows operation of a rotor at any speed. The typical performances specifications are the next:

  • 1.5 up to 3.6MW of power output;
  • Minimal efficiency reaches 97% (at 20% loads), 98% at normal speed;
  • Standard air and water cooling options;
  • Ingress protection – IP54;
  • Mounting option – IM1001;
  • Rotor speed – 1,000-1,800RPMs;
  • Insulation and temperature endurance classes – F/B.

Compact HV turbine generators from ABB are also pretty powerful appliances with high-level effectiveness. The latest ABB generators in this group give even more power – 0.9 up to 6.0MVA with extended output voltage range – 3,300 and up to 13,800V. One of the most incredible characteristic of the ABB HV turbine generators is that they are capable of operating continuously for around 30 years. The next list shows other valuable traits of these appliances:

  • Frame size – from 500 to 630;
  • Number of poles – up to four;
  • Rotor spinning – 1,500-1,800RPMs;
  • Low protection level at IP23;
  • Open air cooling option only;
  • Insulation and temps endurance classes – F/F;
  • The terminals are incorporated on the top part.

Other than these, we should mention the optional digital Automatic Voltage Regulation device, which is available instead of ordinary analog variant. All in all, compact high-voltage turbine generators are pretty good devices, but they are also a bit disadvantaged. Now let’s segue to a less powerful, yet equally efficient generators for non-industrial usage. We mean the ABB generators for community wind installation. They are certainly simpler than all the previously mentioned devices. But they are not less important than HV turbine generators or PM generators. In fact, they are designed to be even more flexible with multiple options for cable connections and mounting, not to mention the great choice of enclosure materials. So, what features do they come with? Read below:

  • Three kinds of generators – M3BG, M3LG, and M3AA;
  • Lowered power output up to 1,000kW with 20kW minimally;
  • Voltage output – up to 690V;
  • One-speed or two-speed design with 750-3,600RPMs;
  • Air and water cooling;
  • Three options for enclosures – aluminium, welded steel, or cast iron.

Overall, the aforementioned ABB generators for turbines are the most interesting appliances in the group. There are no very bad features. However, note that the IP level is pretty low on some devices. Also, digital AVR is not standard – you have to order it separately. We would also wanted to see water cooling on the compact HV turbine generators apart from ordinary air cooling. On the other hand, ABB is sure that air cooling is enough, so we should accept this fact.

ABB generators for engines

ABB generators for a diesel or gas engine is a less large group that the turbine ones. Nonetheless, the choice is pretty good here too. Thus, customers can purchase one of the next ABB generators for an engine:

  • Low-voltage appliance for an industrial application;
  • Low-voltage appliance for a marine application;
  • Medium and high-voltage generators.

As is usually the case with any modern, more advanced, appliances, the most recent ABB generators for diesel or gas engines are more powerful. They are less unwieldy thanks to the reduced size and are overall more efficient. The medium and high-voltage generators perform very good:

  • Maximal power lies between 1 and 60MVA;
  • Maximal voltage values – 1,000-15,000V;
  • Many enclosure size – from 0500 up to 2500;
  • Drastically increased number or poles (up to 30);
  • More cooling options;
  • Insulation and temps rise classes – H/H, А, or B;
  • More protection options (IP23, 44, 54, 55, and IPW24);
  • Enclosures made from welded steel only.

ABB generators for engines offer three systems to cool down. The simplest variant is open-air cooling. The next, a bit better option, is air cooling with ducts. And the last alternative is water cooling. To find out, which one is available on your engine generator, pay attention to the next figures: IC01, IC611, and IC81W respectively. Another benefit of ABB engine generators is related to an extended variety of IP classes – up to five. This means you can choose a better solution for the exact application. As for the AVR, an advanced digital model is available only on demand.

Low-voltage engine generators, if you noticed, are divided into two sub-groups. The LV appliances for industries are a wider range. The device with minimal output (15-36kVA) have the AMG 0180 frame, whereas the biggest generator will provide 2,315 up to 3,750kVA in the AMG 0500 frame. Overall, nine frame sizes are developed. As usual, ABB has a list of extensions that you can use with LV engine generators, including:

  • Anticondensation heater;
  • Additional air filter;
  • Permanent magnet generator;
  • Digital voltage regulator device;
  • Transformer, etc.

Actually, each engine generator comes with two power outputs in the same frame. This means that the choice of nine models (related to the frame size) is increased twice. For example, you can order the ABB generator in the AMG 0180 frame with either 15-30kVA or 19-36kVA output. The less powerful version provides 400V and can work at 1,500RPMs, while the latter gives up to 480V at 1,800RPMs. The same goes for all other frame sizes – AMG 0200, 0250, 0280, 0315, 0355, 0400, 0450, and 0500. Such a wide choice is always great.

At first sight, ABB LV engine generators for marine installations are not that much diverse. You can buy an ABB generator with 180 up to 450 frames (eight overall) and four poles ad maximum. The power output is diminished too – 14-2,430kVA, etc. But, the company additionally makes generators with 400-630 frames and up to 10 poles. Certainly, they are more forceful with 500-5,000kVA output. These generators are modular – add another point to the list of advantages. ABB designs them for usage on ships of any types, such as tankers, cruisers, ice breakers, and so on. Here is the list of main features:

  • Four, six, eight, or 10 poles;
  • Four frames – 400, 500, 560, and 630;
  • Multiple mounting options;
  • Two cooling options – IC0A1 (open-air) and IC8A1W7 (closed-circuit water cooling);
  • IP23 or IP44 levels for the enclosure with IP55 for terminals.

The selection of features is very good. Again, you can pick the best solution with all necessary specs, tailored exactly for your application.

ABB generators for renewable-energy marine installations and for traction applications

ABB does its best by providing four ranges of generators for marine renewables. The marine renewable energy becomes more and more important green technology of the modern world. That is why ABB has generators for such applications. The generators in this series are induction (synchronous) variants with permanent magnets. Power-wise, they give from 20kW and up to 7MW. The other specifications of ABB generators for marine renewables are:

  • Four series – AMG, AMZ, M3BJ, and M3LJ;
  • Manifold frame size from 280 up to 1120;
  • Voltages – 220-6,600V;
  • Low revolutions-per-meter value – 100-850;
  • Two types of enclosures made of cast iron or welded steel;
  • Two cooling alternatives.

At last, we reach the traction generators from ABB. The company makes the latest traction generators in response to increased demands from engine builders. Contemporary generators must endure higher torsional vibrations. Therefore, ABB presented a new concept that allows the locomotive builders to allocate less area for a generator installation. ABB traction generators boast of having 85 up to 96.9% effectiveness depending on the revolutions-per-minute value. The effective produced power is set between 1 and 3.3MW at 1,200V. Surely, there are other modifications of ABB traction generators. We cannot forget to mention the classes of insulation and temperature rise. They are H/H up to C/H. ABB offers a couple of mounting options – with single of double bearing. Essentially, this is all interesting information on ABB traction generators.

ABB generators: pros and cons

ABB is a great manufacturer, no doubt. And we can say that its generators are very good. The company suggests an abundant selection of generators for several industries. There are even models for simpler installations, like for community wind turbines. A solid variety of enclosures, great number of poles, high wattage and voltage values – all this makes ABB generators stand out.

We couldn’t omit the fact that some ABB generators could have offered even more options. For instance, the compact high-voltage turbine generators from ABB are not very varied. They have only one IP level and cooling option. Also, this can be difficult to realize which generator suit medium-voltage installation, and which is better for high-voltage installation. If ABB diversify the product ranges better, it will be easier for us to choose a properly powered device.

All in all, we are rather happy with the ABB generators for turbines, engines, and other applications.


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