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Plant-wide control optimisation

1st February 2013


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For many process companies plant-wide control optimisation is one of the cornerstones of efficient production - as these case studies demonstrate. Eugene McCarthy reports.

Avantha Power, part of the Avantha Group, one of India's leading global business conglomerates, has selected Rockwell Automation as its automation provider for the utility's balance of plant (BOP) applications for the next three years.

The US$2.5m (EUR1.78m) estimated investment allows Avantha Power to adopt a common control platform for its entire BOP system, improving plant-wide optimisation as well as reducing lifecycle costs.

"Avantha Power is aiming to achieve an installed capacity close to 4000MW of power in the next five years, so uptime and reliability are key goals," explained Randy Selesky, director, power and energy, Rockwell Automation. "By standardising its BOP systems on a single, open control platform that is field-proven, Avantha Power staff can enjoy the reduced maintenance time that comes with improved system flexibility."

The Rockwell Automation Integrated Architecture system will monitor and control up to nine BOP applications, including coal handling, ash handling, mill reject, water treatment and fire protection systems, at the company's two coal-based thermal power projects, each consisting of two 600MW units being set up at Raigarh, Chattisgarh and Jabalpur, Madhya Pradesh, India.

"The Integrated Architecture system can be easily replicated in both facilities, reducing our engineering time significantly," said Janmejaya Mahapatra, head of instrumentation and control, Avantha Power. "We only need to train our operators on one control system for all of our BOP applications. In addition, the system can be managed from a single, central location using one standard EtherNet/IP network to ease dataflow throughout the facility for improved troubleshooting and reduced downtime."

"Leveraging an integrated BOP solution rather than traditional non-integrated islands of automation is an innovative trend in the Indian power generation industry," said Partha Bhaumik, power industry manager, Rockwell Automation India. "Avantha Power's use of an integrated BOP control strategy helps them achieve faster plant start-up and operational flexibility."

The two greenfield electric power plant projects will begin power production over an 18-month period, beginning in March 2012. "The overall reduction in system complexity with a Rockwell Automation system helps make our aggressive timeline achievable," said Mahapatra.

In a separate development, Rockwell Automation has developed a support offering to minimise the risk associated with using older or discontinued Rockwell Automation products.

The Lifecycle Service Agreement is an element of the comprehensive Lifecycle Management Services suite of offerings, designed to identify, mitigate and reduce automation obsolescence risk.

The agreement helps manufacturers minimise the serious financial consequences that can occur due to extended unplanned downtime when spare parts or speedy repair are unavailable for outdated Rockwell Automation components.

"There are many companies around the globe who rely on legacy systems to meet today's production demands, either because they don't have the capital to upgrade or because there are simply too many outdated systems to address all at once," said Lonnie Morris, senior manager, Rockwell Automation.

"In fact, ARC Advisory Group recently reported that 88 per cent of process manufacturers acknowledged the use of automation beyond the manufacturer's obsolescence date. While some obsolete products are currently working well, the Lifecycle Service Agreement is designed to give manufacturers, in any industry, peace of mind by maximising the life of their automation investment until they are able to migrate to current technology."

Support for obsolete products

The Lifecycle Service Agreement is a single, comprehensive package of three unique services designed to provide 'intensive care' for obsolete automation products. The services include reserved repair, remote support and on-site support for discontinued products.

A reserved repair provides manufacturers a 'reservation' that assures access to Rockwell Automation product replacement, remediation or repair for all Rockwell Automation products included in the contract. Reserved repair customers are provided repairs even when maintenance resources or spare parts are constrained or are unavailable to the general public.

Remote support for discontinued product provides unlimited Web support for any obsolete or discontinued Rockwell Automation products included in the contract. Users have access to technical assistance for installation, configuration, troubleshooting, diagnosis, basic instruction programming and best-practice recommendations.

On-site support for discontinued product provides annual preventive maintenance services, migration and conversion-planning support on all Rockwell Automation discontinued products included in the contract.

The Lifecycle Service Agreement contract is part of the holistic Lifecycle Management Services offerings, which also include an installed base evaluation. The evaluation provides a lifecycle analysis report that features a colour-coded reporting dashboard to help identify and pinpoint where product obsolescence resides within the facility to expose potential production risks. It also helps companies identify spare part inventory overstock and deficiencies based on a mean time between failure algorithm.

In addition, Lifecycle Management Services offers migration services designed to identify areas of the greatest obsolescence risk and offer migration-planning support. These migration services range from supplying information for low-cost tools and programs, to turnkey migrations including full plan creation, design, programming, installation, start-up and complete project management.

Predictive maintenance software

In another major announcement, Foster Wheeler has chosen Emerson Process Management's PlantWeb digital plant architecture with the Ovation expert control system and AMS Suite predictive maintenance software to control a new biomass boiler at the Polaniec Power Station in Poland. When operational in 2012, this will be the world's largest 100 per cent biomass-fired boiler (Fig. 1).

Foster Wheeler is building the 190 MW biomass-fired circulating fluidised-bed (CFB) boiler island for plant owner GDF Suez, one of the world's leading energy providers. Poland has been investing in biomass power generation to achieve a target of producing 15 per cent of its total energy consumption from renewable sources by 2020.

"The Foster Wheeler CFB technology provides solutions for effective CO2 reduction in power generation through large-scale 100 per cent biomass utilisation," said Jaroslaw Mlonka, president & ceo of Foster Wheeler Energia Polska. "Emerson's proven automation technology will help overcome the difficulties of burning agricultural biomass efficiently by providing reliable, accurate and efficient boiler control."

Emerson's Ovation system features embedded advanced algorithms and proven control routines that continually adjust the combustion process to account for the varying characteristics of biomass fuels.

Emerson's scope of supply is based on an Ovation system to handle 6000 I/O. This includes Ovation SIS (Safety Instrumented System) for boiler protection and burner management. Project documentation will be generated using the Ovation Documentation Builder smart tool. Emerson will also supply automation services including complete project management, engineering and installation.

Also included is Emerson's AMS Suite, which will speed configuration and commissioning of boiler instrumentation. When the plant is operational, AMS Suite will enable maintenance and operations personnel to predict equipment issues to better maintain and protect the machinery.

The boiler island and biomass handling plant will be built next to the existing units at GDF Suez's 1800 MW coal-fired power station, which already uses an Ovation control system. Following further modernisation of the station's existing turbine, its output capacity will increase from 190 to 205MW.

Designed for high reliability and easy maintenance, the boiler will burn wood chips in combination with 20 per cent of agricultural derived fuel such as straw pellets or crushed briquettes, sunflower pellets, fruit husk pellets, and crushed palm kernel shells.

The annual biomass requirement of the new unit will be about one million metric tons, and it is expected to generate 1.2 terawatt hours (TWh) of clean energy annually. The plant is designed to ensure that emissions will be well below those required by the EU Large Combustion Plants Directive.

"Biomass utilisation will play a significant role in Europe's energy future," said Bob Sharp, European president, Emerson Process Management


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