HIGHVOLT and CEPCO to construct Saudi GCC electrical testing lab

Oct 18, 2019
Posted by Patrick Haddad

The ‘GCC Electrical Testing Laboratory’ (GCC ETL) in Dammam, Saudi Arabia has been given a completion deadline of 2021.

The $22 million project will, upon completion, be the largest testing laboratory in the entire Middle East region and the largest testing laboratory in the world ever built in a single construction phase.

Contracts for construction were awarded this year to Saudi construction firm CEPCO and German electrical testing company HIGHVOLT.

The laboratory offers customers a range of test bays where many different tests can be conducted on operating equipment like transformers, cables and switchgears. The biggest and most important part will be the high voltage test laboratory, which will be almost the size of a soccer pitch.

It is designed for dielectric testing of high voltage products like transformers, switchgears, circuit breakers, measuring transducers, isolators etc. and will contain various AC voltage test systems for voltages up to 1200 kV and an impulse voltage test system for over 3000 kV, as well as a three-phase AC voltage test system with a capacity of 4000 kVA specifically for testing power transformers.

Besides the high and medium-voltage test bays, the GCC ETL will also offer high power electrical testing, low voltage testing, calibration services, EMC tests (electromagnetic compatibility) and mechanical tests. In testing laboratory operations, the GCC ETL will cooperate closely with CESI, one of the largest testing service providers and consultants for electrical system operation worldwide.

The high-voltage test bay will also contain a huge electromagnetically shielded cabin containing an AC voltage resonance test system with variable inductance up to 800 kV and a high-current test system for currents up to 6000 A for cable testing. This will largely be used for multi-day type tests of high-voltage cables.

One special feature will be the test bays for isolator contamination testing, consisting of three separate test chambers with multiple AC voltage test systems for voltages up to 400 kV. They simulate realistic contamination conditions like condensation, salt deposits and moisture, and expose the equipment under assessment to long-term loads from operating voltages and overvoltages.

The scope of delivery also includes test systems for on-site testing. In particular, this includes a mobile AC voltage resonance test system with variable frequency for testing long medium, high and very high voltage cables after laying and a similar system for testing complete transformer stations with switchgears, transformers and short supply cables.

Source: Powertech Review

Photo (for illustrative purposes): Construction / Stephen Rush / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0


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