Successful completion of challenging electrical rotating machinery refurbishment projects has long been the hallmark of Marthinusen & Coutts, a division of ACTOM (Pty) Ltd. And it is this reputation that secured Marthinusen & Coutts the contract to complete the reassembly and recommissioning of a very large synchronous condenser in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
The repair contract was awarded to Marthinusen & Coutts early last year by an international electricity equipment company currently engaged in an upgrade project on the hydroelectric power supply system for the DRC’s power utility, Société nationale d’électricité (SNEL).
Richard Botton, divisional chief executive at Marthinusen & Coutts, says that most significant about this order is the fact that it was placed on Marthinusen & Coutts by an international OEM who is a global leader in electrical engineering.
Botton says that Marthinusen & Coutts had previously repaired two of the Kolwezi power station condensers in earlier contracts a few years ago. “Part of the repair work on the third condenser had been done when the international company commissioned us to complete the job; this based on our experience and our successful complete refurbishment of the other two condensers,” he says.
The synchronous condensers are critical components of the DC/AC converter station in Kolwezi in the DRC, which converts the DC power transmitted on a 1 700 km transmission line from a converter at the Inga hydroelectric power station on the Congo River in the north. The power from the Kolwezi converter feeds the energy intensive Copperbelt in the Katanga Province.
The synchronous condensers supply the necessary reactive power, which cannot be transmitted via the DC transmission line or provided by the converter station. The inertia of the rotating assembly of the condenser provides the necessary