Case Studies

Hydro, Power Generation

Helping Newfoundland & Labrador Hydro Keep the Lights On

THE CHALLENGE

As the leading energy provider for over 200 communities across Newfoundland and Labrador, Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro (NL Hydro) is a necessity for hundreds of cities, towns, and thousands of people. They operate 22 different diesel plants across the province, housing many industrial diesel generators of varying sizes.

NL Hydro is always on the lookout for new generators to replace ones reaching the end of their lifecycle. However, most of their larger plants are located in remote areas along the Labrador coast, which means any new gensets have to be extremely reliable and require very little maintenance — a tall order for machines that are constantly running.

THE NEED

NL Hydro needed custom industrial generators with the best life cycle costs available. This included longer operational periods, extended periods between overhauls, better performance, and optimal fuel and oil consumption. They also needed a way to make servicing and replacing the generators’ front bearings as easy as possible. Traditionally, drive couplings are heated when installed, which makes them a friction-fit piece. It also makes them incredibly difficult to service or repair in remote locations as removing them could severely damage or even destroy the couplings or the shafts.

THE WAJAX SOLUTION

After studying NL Hydro’s operation, we believed a custom Wajax built generator set with an MTU 12V4000G73 engine would be an excellent fit. An incredibly reliable machine, the 12V4000G73 has better fuel economy than its competitors and can produce between 900 kWe and 1050 kWe of power. We were also able to show them how this engine fit their overhaul timeline. NL Hydro initially believed their generators were working at higher loads, so they believed the MTU 12V4000G73 would require more overhauls and be less reliable. However, after studying their real-world operating conditions, we discovered their gensets actually operate on the lower, continuous rating, which has longer overhaul intervals. This meant that the MTU 12V4000G73 fit perfectly with their needs.

We turned to the incredible mechanical engineering team at our Génératrice Drummond facility in QC for the coupling issue. They went over the problem with a fine-tooth comb, researched different couplings, and worked with our suppliers to find a solution. Eventually, they found a coupling that uses a mechanical hub to connect the generator with the engine. Since it doesn’t require any heating when installed, it can be easily removed and makes servicing and maintenance ten times easier.

Shipping to the Labrador coast can be tight, as arctic ice can close shipping routes. Still, the project management, engineering, and production staff at our Génératrice Drummond facility have worked incredibly hard to ensure every one of NL Hydro’s custom generator sets is delivered on time. We haven’t missed the boat yet. We’ve also made the parts personnel at our Mount Pearl branch available should they require any additional assistance.

 

THE OUTCOME

NL Hydro has been incredibly happy with our genset recommendations. The MTU 12V4000G73 has improved fuel consumption and has required no major maintenance beyond the recommended routine maintenance intervals. NL Hydro was also greatly impressed with our ability to combine internal resources with major suppliers to create custom solutions.

NL Hydro now has five MTU gensets, with another three more on order for delivery in fall 2021. We hope our knowledge and insights continue to make the homes of Newfoundland and Labrador a little brighter.

Note: Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro is a regulated, crown-owned utility and Wajax was awarded the contract for the industrial gensets after proceeding through the public tender processes and evaluation.