Advanced automation offers universal solutions

Paul Boughton

Sean Ottewell reports on how advanced automation and control systems enhance activities as diverse as balance-of-plant processes, operator training, remote monitoring and cybersecurity

Geothermal energy can generate a stable supply of electricity day and night, and in all weather conditions. Since no carbon dioxide is emitted, it is regarded as an attractive alternative to fossil fuels. Indonesia has the world's largest geothermal energy resources and is planning many additional projects to exploit these resources. Yokogawa is particularly targeting renewable energy fields such as geothermal power.  

Yokogawa Electric, for example, is to supply the control system for unit five of the Kamojang geothermal power station in Indonesia. The order was placed by Fuji Electric, which is responsible for manufacturing and delivering the unit's steam turbine and generator.

This geothermal plant is owned and operated by Pertamina Geothermal Energy (PGE), the geothermal arm of the state-run oil and gas company, Pertamina, and is located in Garut, a city situated approximately 40km from Bandung City, West Java. Unit five will have a 35MW power generation capacity, and its construction is scheduled to be completed by July 2015, whereupon it will be commissioned and enter service.

For the monitoring and control of unit five's steam turbine and auxiliary facilities, Yokogawa's subsidiaries Yokogawa Engineering Asia and Yokogawa Indonesia will supply the CENTUM VP integrated production control system, InsightSuite AE plant asset effectiveness optimisation services, PRM plant resource manager, Exaquantum plant information management system (PIMS), and a plant operation training simulator.

In addition to being responsible for the delivery of these systems, the companies will provide support during the engineering and commissioning phases.

Unit four at this plant also uses a Yokogawa integrated production control system, CENTUM CS 3000. Completion of the current project will bring to 11 the number of control systems that Yokogawa has provided for geothermal power plants in Indonesia.

Turbine controls

Emerson Process Management has successfully replaced the OEM turbine controls at the municipally owned city of Piqua power station in Ohio, USA, with its Ovation turbine control technology.

The control replacements were part of a larger project to improve the operation and reliability of the two 40-year-old peaking units. The original controls installed on the unit eight and nine turbines – a GE Frame 5 and Westinghouse W191 – were extremely unreliable, often resulting in unplanned downtime, according to Piqua power station.

Emerson completed each controls replacement project in just five months, compared with the eight to nine months typical for such projects. The accelerated timetable made it possible for the city of Piqua to return the units to service in time for the upcoming peak summer and winter months.

“We had an aggressive schedule for completion of this project. Emerson was able to deliver a superior solution in a compressed timeframe, returning our gas turbines to service when we needed them most,” said Ed Krieger, Piqua power station director. “Emerson’s performance on this project exceeded our expectations, as they engineered, procured and installed a turn-key, best-in-class solution to Piqua’s ongoing generation reliability and performance concerns.”

As part of the turbine controls replacement project at unit eight, Emerson also performed fuel valve and extended exhaust thermocouple replacements. During the unit nine controls retrofit, the company also replaced the pressure switch and gauge cabinet, starting diesel engine controls, ignition system, liquid fuel flow divider and vibration system.

The company has also won a US$15 million (€11.6 million) contract to modernise controls at Colorado’s second-largest power plant, Craig Station, with its Ovation system. 

The three-unit, 1311MW plant is an important regional baseload resource that is operated by Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association, a wholesale electric power supplier serving 44 electric cooperatives with approximately 1.5 million consumers in Colorado, Nebraska, New Mexico and Wyoming.

An Ovation system at each of the three coal-fired Craig Station units will monitor and control the boiler and turbine. Unifying boiler and turbine operations under a single, common automation platform will provide improved unit stability, responsiveness and thermal efficiencies; tighter overall control of plant operations; and a more concise view of key plant and turbine parameters.

Ovation technology will also control the burner management system, soot blower, fly ash system, scrubbers and balance-of-plant processes, as well as coal handling and other common systems.

Emerson’s comprehensive automation solution for Craig Station also includes a high-fidelity simulator for operator training, EDS technology that enables management to monitor plant performance remotely, and its Ovation Security Centre which streamlines the execution of cyber-security measures related to compliance with the North American Electric Reliability Council (NERC) critical infrastructure protection (CIP) standards.

The Ovation systems will be installed during three successive spring outages, beginning in 2015.

Lastly, Metso has signed an agreement with Babcock & Wilcox Vølund to supply automation for a greenfield energy-from-waste plant in Peterborough, UK. With advanced automation solutions, the operators will be able to efficiently control the process of transforming waste into green energy and manage operations at the plant.

The new plant will be operated and maintained by Viridor, one of Europe's major waste management companies. Once completed in 2015, it will have a capacity to treat approximately 85,000 tonnes of waste per year. The plant's electrical power generation capacity will be 7.25MW. Babcock & Wilcox Vølund is responsible for the engineering, procurement and construction of the plant.

Although the value of the contract was not revealed, Metso's delivery scope consists of a DNA automation system, a DNA information management system and a fully integrated DNA machine monitoring solution to predict mechanical faults in critical machinery. Taking the right actions at the right time guarantees maximum process availability and an efficient maintenance process, says the company. Project handover is scheduled to take place in December 2015. 

Metso also has been awarded four repeat orders from the CNIM group to supply automation to greenfield plants in France and the UK; taking it to 12 orders from the company since 2011.

These orders are intended for two greenfield waste-to-energy plants in Battlefield, Shropshire, and in Leeds (UK), and two greenfield biomass-to-energy plants in Estrées-Mons (France) and in Ridham Dock (UK). The CNIM group acts as a contractor in all these projects.

Console brings control rooms to life

Just released by Honeywell Process Solutions, the Experion Orion console is designed to meet the changing needs of the increasingly mobile plant operator.

The console – which builds on Honeywell’s flagship Experion Process Knowledge System (PKS) control platform – features an improved ergonomic design and better displays to simplify control system management, reduce operator fatigue and improve situational awareness.

Its design was based on operator inputs gleaned from numerous visits to plant control rooms around the world and across industries, in both newer and older plants. The design and capabilities are the result of behaviour observations, as well as insights collected in multiple phases at plants, including process startups and during periods of abnormal operations.

“The state of plant control today is like putting operators on a sleepless, 12-hour flight in economy-class seating and then asking them to make a critical decision that impacts their company’s production and employee safety,” said Jason Urso, chief technology officer, Honeywell Process Solutions. “Operators need more than just process data to make a decision like that; they need an environment that helps keep them alert, allows them to move about more freely, and presents information more intuitively. The Experion Orion console was designed with all of those factors in mind.”

The console’s features include a large flexible, ultra-high definition display that provides clear status assessments of process operations in a single glance for better and more-informed management. This flexibility also enables operators to customise displays for context-specific process issues, and incorporates advanced alarm management and pan and zoom capabilities. 

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