Mitch Palmer and Naveen Nadesan

Providing energy efficient solutions to problematic harmonics

In the search for improved energy and system efficiency, companies and organizations can often find new opportunities through improved technology. This is the case with ultra-low harmonic (ULH) drives, which stop harmonics from occurring in and therefore help reduce energy wastage.

In cooperation with our partner companies, these products enable ABB to provide energy-efficient solutions to our end users, ensuring system efficiency through clean energy.

One example of such a cooperative project is in Australia, where Remtron, an ABB Authorised Value Provider was chosen by AlburyCity Council to provide energy efficient drives for their pump station. As Mitch Palmer, Electrical Supervisor for Construction and Maintenance at the Council, explains, a problem arose as the area around the station was developed. “The pump station was in a paddock once upon a time but is now surrounded by schools and retirement homes. The softstarter-controlled motor was impacting the power and voltage supply to the neighbours as well.”

Reducing disruptive harmonics

The issue was harmonics. Harmonic currents can cause distortion in power networks, increasing losses in most components from cables to transformers and motors, and hence wasting energy. Variable speed drives (VSDs) have many benefits in terms of improved process quality and energy savings, but traditional VSDs also produce harmonics. However, the latest ULH drives generate hardly any while maintaining the benefits of VSDs.


Naveen Nadesan of Remtron, an ABB Authorised Value Provider in Australia, and Mitch Palmer from AlburyCity Council in New South Wales, discuss how cooperative efforts to provide greater energy efficiency has resulted in multiple benefits.

Generally, Remtron considers a variety of solutions to for their customer’s application challenges to help them save energy. “We consider whether our customers are using the power they already have on site in the most efficient way,” says Naveen Nadesan, Remtron’s National Sales and Marketing Manager. “And we also have a look at their power consumption, and the equipment they have, and suggest alternative methods. Our preference is to engage with our customers early, so we can talk about implementation of advanced technologies to enable energy efficiency such as ABB’s ULH and regenerative drive technologies.”

Connecting with technology

In the case of AlburyCity Council, the softstarters in the pump station were replaced with one VSD and one ULH drive, in line with Remtron’s recommendations, leading to immediate improvements. “As soon as we turned it on, it did everything we hoped it would,” explains Palmer. “It made sure the voltage stayed consistent, and we are recycling the energy that we are saving from that motor load as well. So, it made a huge difference.”

The Remtron/AlburyCity Council case is an example of how technological improvements can be utilized to provide practical solutions to real problems, resulting in not only reduced costs but also greatly improved energy efficiency. The benefits of such projects are not only felt by the companies or organisations involved, but in the community as a whole. “We try to connect our customers with the technology,” declares Nadesan, “and we try to also advise them on how they can improve energy efficiency in their processes. It is a changing world. Talk to us, talk to ABB, we are all in it together.”

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