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Aspin Kemp & Associates (AKA): From hybrid drilling vessels to microgrids

Rittal supplied a total of 114 enclosures for the project, including standard enclosures, as well as modified and EMC-compatible ones.

Hybrid drive systems are not only used in applications where mobility is involved, they also drive the drilling systems employed in the oil and gas industry as well as industrial microgrids. The Canadian company Aspin Kemp & Associates (AKA) has developed a system where diesel generators supply the electrical energy needed for the drilling and active heave process. This company has also taken their technology into land-based applications through the development of industrial microgrids with energy storage and green power sources. Supercapacitors (“supercaps”) are often used as buffers to ensure a reliable and uninterrupted power supply. In order to accommodate these supercaps or other energy storage technologies safely, AKA relies on enclosure systems from Rittal.

“Our cooperation with Rittal was positive and essentially a partnership. In the meantime, we have been using Rittal products for such a long time that they have become an integral part of our production processes.”

Jason Aspin, CEO of Aspin Kemp & Associates (AKA)

Specialist for power applications

AKA, based in the Canadian province of Prince Edward Island, is a world-renowned provider of solutions for open sea, offshore and industrial applications in the oil and gas, Marine and land-based power industries. One typical example is the hybrid solution used in drilling vessels, installed as hybrid drillfloor systems on production ships. If no buffer system is present, load fluctuations cannot be compensated for, which leads to fluctuations in output. In contrast, the new hybrid system flattens the load profile of the power plant. Fewer diesel engines are needed and efficiency is improved. The system enables continuous process performance, even if the power supply should briefly fail.

AKA has taken their technology from this sector and adapted it to land-based systems as well. AKA‘s Smart Microgrid provides back up power generation, grid support and both long term energy storage and short term energy storage options that provide an optimized solution specific to the application. Similar to the drilling vessels, the energy storage provides a response to changes in loads and generated power including bridging, peak shaving, shifting and smoothing functions.

Close collaboration with many industry partners makes AKA’s systems tightly integrated and more efficient. For example, through its partnership with MAN Energy Solutions, the companies can offer their customers turnkey, end-to-end solutions for energy, drive and automation applications.

Supercaps housed safely

In the innovative hybrid drilling floor, the diesel generators are coupled with supercaps that act as buffers to ensure the stability of the energy supply. Dozens of enclosures are needed to house the buffers. AKA relied on Rittal to solve this challenge and provide a suitable, customer-specific solution. This energy storage system, unique in the shipping and offshore market, required enclosures in which it was not enough to simply meet the usual standards. Rittal supplied a total of 114 enclosures for the project, including standard enclosures, as well as modified and EMC-compatible ones. These also contribute to operational safety and meet the requirements for shipping. As no adjustments could be made on site, the Rittal enclosures were fully adapted, ready for installation and delivered in accordance with the shipping regulations, including those of the DNVGL and ABS. Rittal cabinets are also being utilized for AKA’s many other Marine and microgrid projects.

Working successfully

AKA’s hybrid drilling platform is the first of its kind; it has now already been successfully put into operation on five deep-sea drilling vessels owned by Transocean. The new system allows some of the generators to remain in stand-by mode and not operate continuously. This reduces wear on the diesel generators and cuts the amount of maintenance needed. At the same time, fuel consumption and pollutant emissions are reduced substantially. Similar results are being found on AKA’s projects in the other industries. Environmental reductions, operational savings and increasing reliability and safety are at the center of all of AKA’s designs.