Venetian Innovation

ABB will install sytem to protect Venice from flooding

ABB has committed to an advanced integrated automation and electrical solution for the largest Italian public works project of the last century; an innovative flood barrier system designed to protect Venice, Italy from impending flooding. The company announced the agreement in a press release on April 4.

The system, currently called Mo.S.E. (the Italian acronym for Modulo Sperimentale Elettromeccanico, or experimental electro mechanic module), will be designed to block the high tides and storm surges that enter the Venetian Lagoon from the Adriatic Sea through three inlets and regularly flood the city’s historic center. ABB received the automation order in 2015 and the electrical order in early 2016, together amounting to more than $38 million designated to protect La Serinissima.

Venice, Italy. — Photo courtesy of Yervant Photography.

Venice, Italy. — Photo courtesy of Yervant Photography.

The solution will utilize the Internet of Things to manage data signals from approximately 50,000 devices and will coordinate operation of the entire flood protection system, consisting of flood barriers, navigation locks, and breakwaters to shield the lagoon from rising sea levels, as well as winter storms and spring tides. Mo.S.E. entails 78 flood barriers embedded in the sea floor at the three inlets to Venice’s lagoon. These water-filled steel boxes ranging in size from 18.5 x 20 x 3.6 meters to 29.5 x 20 x 4.5 meters can be raised with compressed air in just 30 minutes, creating on short notice a barrier able to withstand incoming high water levels up to three meters above normal.

ABB’s automation software platform will control the raising and lowering of the barriers according to pre-set parameters whenever high water approaches or leaves the lagoon. Further to that, ABB will also provide an integrated electrical automation solution enabling remote operators to control the power network, thus ensuring a stable and reliable supply for the entire project. It will also supply the medium- and low-voltage switchgear and distribution transformers managed by the platform management system.

“The seamless integration of power and automation is a key element of ABB’s Next Level strategy to ensure safe, reliable and efficient operations for our customers,” said Peter Terwiesch, President of ABB’s Process Automation division. “These latest orders are another case where the connection of things, services, and people not only creates customer value but can also contribute to a better world.”

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