Gerdau tasks Primetals Technologies with engineering and supply

by David Fleschen

Primetals Technologies has won a contract to provide the Gerdau Petersburg plant in Virginia, U.S.A., with a 69-kV static synchronous compensator (STATCOM) to support the operation of the plant’s alternating current electric arc furnace (AC EAF). Once commissioned, it will be the largest industrial STATCOM ever implemented at a steelmaking plant in North America.

In steelmaking, large and varying electrical loads coming from electric arc furnaces (EAF) may cause disturbing effects in the electrical supply system. The disturbance is caused by fluctuations in reactive power and/or unsymmetrical loads. A STATCOM mitigates flicker by providing or absorbing reactive current at the point of connection between the mill’s electrical distribution infrastructure and the utility power system. The 69-kV STATCOM with an insulated-gate bipolar transistor (IGBT) module provides a dynamic and fast response, which cannot be achieved by a conventional static voltage compensator (SVC) system with thyristor-controlled reactors.

In 2022, Primetals Technologies worked with a team at the Gerdau Petersburg plant to develop the conceptual design for the 69-kV STATCOM and model AC EAF operation under present and future conditions. Gerdau Petersburg has accepted the conceptual design for the project and groundbreaking is imminent. All work will be completed within the next 27 months.

This order demonstrates Gerdau’s confidence in the Primetals Technologies team. Implementing such complex technology requires deep knowledge of AC EAFs and grid-level electrical power systems — expertise that differentiates Primetals Technologies from most electrical power designers.

Source and Photo: Primetals

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