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Fully charged: Middle East Electricity highlights

Exhibitors at this year’s Middle East Electricity trade show discuss the products they brought to the show, the trends that current developments reflect in the market and what they made of the event

HTW-1745 generator sets installed in 40-foot containers at Dubai Festival City by UAE dealer FAMCO.
HTW-1745 generator sets installed in 40-foot containers at Dubai Festival City by UAE dealer FAMCO.

It seems unlikely that there are many exhibition halls as focused and yet as diverse as the generator section of Middle East Electricity (MEE), a show which this year saw its 42nd iteration.

From door to door and wall to wall, the event saw the demonstration of generator sets great and small, and all in all shapes, sizes and colours. PMV Middle East caught up with some of the heavy hitters.

Drawing the line just short of complete generator fabrication is Volvo Penta, which has chosen to avoid direct genset sales in favour of remaining an independent supplier of engines to the whole industry. it launched two new 16-litre diesel engines at the show: the TWD1644GE and TWD1645GE — the latter extending Volvo Penta’s competitive range up to 800kVA and which the manufacturer claims has the highest power density engine per litre of displacement in its class.

There to present the launch was Giorgio Paris, Volvo Penta’s president of emerging markets, who noted: “The development of these two new engines is a great tool to expand our presence in the upper range – now we have put forward a diesel engine that covers a range between 500kVA and 800 kVA, which is almost unique in the power generation business.

“The Middle East is one of the biggest power gen markets, and the upper range is definitely a market that is growing. These two new engines will allow Volvo Penta to penetrate power nodes where we have never been before.”

Volvo’s 16-litre family is one that is already quite well known and popular in the region, with Paris noting that there are many of these units working in Saudi Arabia to pump water from the ground for agricultural irrigation: “We have sold thousands of 16l engines into the region over the years.”

The TWD1644GE and TWD1645GE are an evolution of Volvo Penta’s existing range, with changes being made to the charger, the pistons, the wiring and the electronics.

The units have two fixed ratings: 1500rpm or 1800rpm, delivered at 50Hz or 60Hz, repsectively, and come with a standard warranty of two years. An extended four-year warranty can also be purchased. Reliability was one of the main pitches for the product, and they were introduced with the slogan ‘the heart that never stops’.

Paris continued: “In terms of total cost of ownership, we pay a very high degree of attention to fuel consumption — when these machines are working 24 hours a day, fuel consumption is a key element, and so our engineers have worked hard to make the engine efficiency really high.”

Commenting on MEE, Paris added: “My impression is that this show is developing quite well, and increasingly becoming a benchmark for the power generation business in the region.”

Himoinsa hybrids

Vertically integrated Spanish manufacturer Himoinsa was at the show this year to present technological concepts as much as products — advocating for the potential of integrating generator sets with photovoltaic systems.

Such hybrid solutions have the potential to reduce operator fuel costs and OPEX while taking advantage of solar resources in areas with high levels of solar irradiation. They also hold considerable potential for the supply of power in remote areas where the power grid either does not reach or is unreliable.

Daniel Crossan, project manager at Himoinsa Middle East, noted: “The Middle East is one of the leaders in innovation, so this show is a great opportunity to pitch our new innovative products. We know there’s a market for microgrids, and if we can get on board with a renewable provider, we are well placed to provide a combined solution.”

Guillermo Elum, global director of marketing for Himoinsa, added that the show was “quite busy and quite interesting”.

He added that the number of visitors might have been slightly lower than the previous year, yet Crossan highlighted that the show saw “less people, but more quality”.

To facilitate its hybrid solutions, Himoinsa manufactures diesel and gas generator sets designed to be integrated with photovoltaic systems and batteries. Elum pointed to the lowering cost of photovoltaic systems as key driver, making it possible to harness solar energy at a much more competitive price.

Today, in regions with a high level of solar irradiation and where energy is expensive, photovoltaics can pay for themselves in less than four years, according to Himoinsa.

Hybrid generators also fill a technological gap, as Crossan explained: “New technologies are coming, but there’s a gap between what the new technology can provide and what we’re currently doing, so the combination of hybrid renewable sources of power is really going to see generators as part of that model for the next 25 years – until we do come to a completely reinvented form of energy. Generators are going to be here for a very long time, but if we can provide a product that works with renewables, then that’s the next step.”

Silent success

A year since introducing its first diesel generator with a 1,000-hour service interval, the HYW 35 T5 unit, Himoinsa also took the opportunity to unveil a 1,000-hour maintenance kit for its HYW industrial range, from 8kVA to 45 kVA, and HRYW rental range, from 16kVA to 40 kVA, with Yanmar engines.

Aimed again at lowering OPEX, the kit includes a larger tank that supplies extra oil to the engine, with the result of significantly reducing on filter costs and downtime. In addition, the industrial range can incorporate a 1,000l fuel tank, 10 times larger than that offered as standard, which translates into less frequent refuelling operations. Considering that the genset works eight hours a day, this guarantees up to 70 days of running time.

Elum commented that the 1,000-hour concept was seeing “very good customer reception: “It has increased the number of our units working in the telecom sector, because they can reduce their OPEX.”

Another significant development over the past year has been the launch of its Silent Plus Range, which reduces noise emissions without limiting the performance of the machine. The first unit in this range is the HRFW-250 T5, which, powered with FPT engine, guarantees a noise level of just 61dB ±2 at a distance of seven metres from the unit thanks to a complex array of the air intakes and outputs.

The generators also incorporate two exhaust silencers as standard and top quality insulating materials, including high-density, 100mm thick rock wool, and silent blocks specifically resized for the engine-alternator assembly and its dynamic characteristics.

The range will ultimately include gensets with Yanmar, FPT-Iveco and Scania engines, and will cover a power range of between 20kVA and 500kVA — all the while guaranteeing a noise level of around 60 decibels.

The unit, aimed at the rental sector, comes with a 1660-litre tank that in the context of the low consumption of its common rail injection engine, allows it to run for almost four non-stop working days, or 30 hours, without having to refuel.

An increasing proportion of Himoinsa’s business involves standby solutions for building or even whole developments, as in the case of Dubai Festival City and Doha Festival City. Keith Webb, general manager for Himoinsa Middle East noted that “engineered solutions now represent 40% in terms of our sales value versus standard smaller pieces”, and Elum confirmed that such solutions are an increasingly important area of business for Himoinsa as a whole.

Back at the show

Another exhibitor that is seeing significant success in standby solutions is Alimar Generator, which produces industrial type diesel gensets from 1kVA to 3,000 kVA in its 45,000m2 production facility in Turkey. The company produces diesel and gasoline type portable gensets and exports its products to six continents through a global dealer network.

The manufacturer works with a broad range of engine suppliers, including Scania, Perkins, Volvo Penta, Cummins, Mitsubishi, MAN, Alimar, Allis, Deutz, SDEC and Navistar Engines, and uses alternators from both Euroenergy and Stamford by Cummins in its product range. It has a long term co-operation with ComAp for the sourcing of its genset controllers.

Alimar reference projects include the Mall of Istanbul and Koc Towers in Ankara.

Perkins was another engine manufacturer on site, promoting its 4000 Series engines, as well as a specific telecom tower solution powered by a 400 Series Perkins engine with a maintenance interval of 1,000 hours that was on display at the show.

Kohler was also at the show to reveal its KD Series large diesel industrial generators for the first time in the Middle East. The line is available from 800kVA to 4,200 kVA.

Founded in 1873 and headquartered in Kohler, Wisconsin, the firm has been involved with power solutions since 1920, and its acquisition of SDMO in 2005 created one of the world’s largest manufacturers of industrial generators with a combination 150 years’ worth of experience in industrial power.

Tom Cromwell, group president-power for Kohler, said: “After a very collaborative and thorough worldwide development process, we’re very pleased to be rolling out this new line of generators. We expect a strong response to these advanced new gensets.”

The products are designed for high ambient temperature conditions thanks to high technology regulation and monitoring control systems on each component, and are designed to meet global emissions regulations.

According to Kohler, the KD Series generator line also delivers the best fuel consumption at more nodes than any of its competitor between 800kW and 2500kW.

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