When Raylex, a specialist in highly complex turnkey projects in the electricity, telecommunications, governmental, and mining sectors, needed to create an autonomous radio communications system as part of its hydroelectric project, it turned to Atlas Copco Power and Flow for a solution.
Raylex was commissioned to deliver a hydroelectric power station for the electric utility giant Enel Generación in the Maule River basin, in Los Cóndores, Chile. The development consisted of a run-of-river hydropower plant with an approximate installed power capacity of 150 MW.
The isolated location meant that no grid power was available, and the harsh weather conditions during the winter months made the site inaccessible for a considerable part of the year. That is why Raylex required the autonomous radio communication system to operate reliably with servicing only once per year, and practically no supervision.
To overcome the challenge, Atlas Copco Power and Flow worked with Raylex to design a hybrid generation system using photovoltaic panels as the main source of power. The system stores surplus energy in a battery bank while providing power to four radio antenna stations. Each set is supported by two of Atlas Copco’s QES 14 generators with an expanded 1,000-litre tank, equipped with a diesel boiler for autonomous pre-heating and a double battery.
Thanks to a transfer and control panel, the generators can interact with the system via a control logic method to control operation during low temperature, failure, or unavailability of one part of the solution, or lack of fuel or low battery charge. They can also manage features including periodic start-up of equipment to ensure operation, maintenance routines, and equipment priority change routine in case of failure. Other controllable features include autonomous alarm recognition and low battery start-up of equipment. To ensure ease of operation, all features of the units can be controlled by Enel Generación, without assistance from Atlas Copco or Raylex
Our projects require creative, efficient, and flexible solutions, and Atlas Copco has been a strategic partner in this. For years, we have worked together to design the best bespoke solutions that meet our customers’ needs. From the conception of an idea to the execution of the project, Atlas Copco’s team is involved in the entire process, crucially contributing to its success. They understood the challenges the hybrid generation presented and worked with us to configure a customized system that we use today as a benchmark for the industry.
We are delighted Raylex trusted us with this project. To deliver the right solution for our customers, we need to understand their needs. In this case, considering the combined challenge of the isolated location, extreme weather conditions and lack of electricity network helped us choose the right generator for Raylex’s project. Our QES range was the perfect fit: it is very versatile, thanks to the multiple customization options available, and it provides features including the high level of performance required.