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Strength in numbers as mobile power plants gain ground

February 24, 2016

In a growing number of industrial, construction and mining applications with temporary power needs, large standalone generators are being replaced with groups of smaller generators that are programmed to work in parallel with each other.

QAC 1250 isometric

Mobile power at its best: Atlas Copco's QAC 1250 generator.

Known as mobile IPPs (independent power plants) or simply mobile power plants, these solutions are flexible enough to be used in a wide range of configurations. Typically, applications vary between three and 14 megawatts, but larger mobile power plants can comprise of up to 40 side-by-side generators working together.

Coordinated by a network of controllers, these plug-and-play generators can power up and down according to the on-site power requirements at a given time. For example, only one or two may be operational during periods of low load, thereby boosting fuel efficiency. Equally, all units can become active in periods of high demand.

Additionally, reliability is enhanced when the failure of a single unit is mitigated by other units increasing their output to maintain the same power. By contrast, the failure of a large single generator could cause critical downtime.

Another significant benefit to customers using a mobile power plant is that maintenance and servicing are completely outsourced to a third-party supplier. Rental of a mobile power plant does not only mean rental of the machine itself but the support as well.

“There are two things we need to be successful in our field. Firstly, a quality product that we can stand behind and have 100% confidence in. Secondly, a truly global service support network. If we get a call at 3am in the morning, we know that the Atlas Copco organisation is available to support us,” says Arnold Oostveen, CEO of Power Solutions.

“It’s a genuine partnership. Atlas Copco understands what we can offer when it comes to system design and logistics and so they also act as an advocate for our capabilities and we love the opportunity to partner on projects.”

Inside view: the QAC 1250.

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