Welington Cintra
Energy Division Head
ABB Mexico
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View from the Top

Digital Solutions Making the Energy Sector More Efficient

By María José Goytia | Mon, 06/13/2022 - 10:20

Q: What were the main challenges ABB Mexico overcame to achieve success in 2021?

A: The hardest year was 2020.  ABB had to face two main challenges to overcome: the pandemic and oil prices. Between the end of 2020 and the beginning of 2021, ABB adjusted its operation to adapt to the new reality. We were one of the few companies that overcame these two simultaneous setbacks, remaining profitable while keeping our people safe.

By 2Q21, we began to see an economic recovery, especially in oil, gas and power generation, generated by the start of the Dos Bocas refinery project. Another challenge we faced during 2H21 was the change in our structure once again to re-adapt our new pandemic procedures to our more traditional methods of meeting our client demands. By the end of 2021, the new projects that arrived allowed ABB to close the year with promising results.

 

Q: How does ABB Ability support the industry in reaching its energy efficiency goals?

A: ABB Ability encompasses all of our digital solutions. Energy efficiency is only one of the solutions that ABB Ability implements. Customers from both the private and public sectors, have the same desire to optimize their processes and ABB Ability fits this need. Usually, clients have different levels of digital maturity and similar solution requirements. The diversity of solutions offered by ABB Ability enables us to meet the needs of our customers.

Regarding energy efficiency, ABB Ability offers several solutions, including Manufacturing Operation Management (MOM) software. Through artificial intelligence (AI), MOM links to the customer’s control system, identifies and interprets the variables and works to optimize production and processes so that companies can do more with less.

Another energy efficiency solution is Asset Performance Management (APM), which focuses on improving how a customer’s assets work in order to gain efficiencies, improve productivity and optimize performance. APM can work with turbines, motors and compressors. For example, with motors, the software monitors all parts. With the help of artificial intelligence, APM predicts potential failures, allowing the client to take preventive action before facing a shutdown.

 

Q: What other solutions does ABB Ability generate for the energy industry?

A: Digitalization is pushing cybersecurity into the limelight and this issue is also included within our ABB Ability portfolio. We assess the current state of the customer’s system and evaluate it to diagnose and provide solutions to minimize cyber security risks. Another software branch that is useful in the energy industry is Power Management System (PMS). Either in a refinery, on a platform or in a power plant, PMS calculates the power demand and pairs it with sources, configuring the best set-up to optimize energy supply in terms of quantity and reliability.

 

Q: How is artificial intelligence transforming businesses’ energy infrastructure?

A: AI is quite new for everyone though most ABB Ability solutions are powered by it already. For example, we are implementing a PMS project where AI can monitor all the variables affecting demand management. The software then triggers optimal setups for the customer’s processes to provide the best output regarding energy quality and reliability. On the energy production front, we are running a MOM project where our software carries out a similar process focused on production volume and quality.

 

Q: What other ABB solutions are helping the industrial transition toward sustainability?

A: ABB has a variety of products for the distribution and control of solar and wind generation. Internationally, hydrogen production is also part of our portfolio. Even though we have not yet implemented a hydrogen project in Mexico, this business line is gaining relevance, so there is a chance to implement it in the country in the future. Furthermore, electric vehicle (EV) chargers are an important part of ABB’s portfolio. At Mexico’s Formula E event, ABB provided the entire infrastructure on different scales. Infrastructure for EVs is still lacking in the country but we foresee demand that will generate new projects in the future.

Another emerging trend are CO2 emission reduction solutions for oil and gas fields. We are collaborating with other players to provide on-field solutions, which we have already established at the subsea level to remove CO2 emissions from production cycles, making these processes aligned to the energy transition.

 

Q: How is ABB involved in other forms of renewable power production in Mexico, such as geothermal energy or hydropower?

A: Hydropower is part of our core business, too. For example, our excitation products and solutions are a key component in many power generating units, used by plant owners and operators to achieve reliable operations, stability and a fast transient response of their assets, as per grid requirements.

 

Q: What are ABB’s main objectives in Mexico for 2022?

A: Our first goal for 2022 is to become a leader in digital solutions for the oil, gas, power generation and water industries. Secondly, we aim to grow our installed base of control systems for both energy and industrial process applications. By growing this market, we will expand our footprint with our customers. Allowing us to help them to speed up and optimize their digital transformation capabilities by using our portfolio of solutions and employing ABB’s domain expertise in the industrial sector. Thirdly, we want to improve our position in the power generation market with our excitation solutions.

We already have a strong market share in Mexico, but we can improve it with expanded services and digital offering. Finally, ABB will continue to explore opportunities in the Mexican offshore environment. Therefore, we are preparing to increase our Mexican business presence and take advantage of our global network to bring products and services to Mexico.

ABB is a leading global technology company with four customer-​focused, globally leading businesses: electrification, process automation, motion and robotics and discrete automation. 

María José Goytia María José Goytia Journalist and Industry Analyst