A leading Belgium energy supplier has turned to ABB Electrification Service for a retrofill solution to safeguard and extend the safe operating life of its switchgear systems across five of its combined heat and power (CHP) plants.

Engie, which specializes in energy supply, management, mobility solutions, solar panel installations and batteries, and asset-based energy services, was looking to modernize its electrical infrastructure by extracting as much value as possible from its existing equipment with high embedded carbon and material footprints — think switchgear metal cabinets, plates, and busbars. 

The ABB OneFit Retrofill Solution replaced conventional and aging breaker components with state-of-the-art VD4G vacuum circuit breakers. The upgrade protects mission critical Engie assets, such as generators and transformers, against potential short-circuits by isolating power interruptions within milliseconds and preventing severe damage and lengthy plant stoppages.

“Engie is all about providing efficient and sustainable energy solutions that will support our customers in their transition to zero carbon,” said Nico Verroken, technology manager, Engie. “Our innovative heat and power plants harness the waste heat created during electricity generation and convert it to usable power for the local infrastructure, so their continuous and safe operation is absolutely essential.

“For us, this retrofill from ABB not only provided a low carbon footprint solution, but minimized disruption to energy supply while guaranteeing reliable and safe energy for the long term.” 

Another bonus of the OneFit retrofill service is that upgrades can be implemented in stages and staggered to not only optimize capital expenditure but also allow work to be completed in short production breaks and within normal planned maintenance downtime. 

“Our technical expertise combined with close and transparent collaboration with Engie meant the best custom-made and cost effective solution was developed for the business,” said Ben Verboven, sales engineer for ABB’s Electrification Service. “The highest safety standards for employees across all five sites was guaranteed by providing an extra enclosure inside the switchgear and a closed-door operational mode, which removes the risk of electrical contact injuries.” 

Comprising an adaptation kit and standard withdrawable equipment, the OneFit plug-in technology enables the new breakers and switchgear components to be simply and safely connected to a wide range of existing panels, including those of other manufacturers. 

For Engie, this latest modernization program by ABB Electrification Service is a tangible example of how the circular approach of extending asset life span and reducing the cost of operating equipment brings both short and long-term benefits, while helping deliver performance improvements, investment optimization, and new levels of sustainable efficiency.