Friday 8 July 2011

Software deployed in coal, wind and gas power generation

Predictive diagnostics to be used in combined-cycle, coal, wind, and gas storage—along with new research project on boiler tube leaks

SSE (Scottish and Southern Energy) is widely expanding its use of GE Intelligent Platforms' Proficy® SmartSignal predictive-diagnostic software and services. This is in recognition of initial value achieved by implementing the SmartSignal solutions in its coal and combined-cycle plants and SSE’s desire to provide this same level of protection for all of its critical equipment across all diversified assets.

SSE supplies energy to 10 million customers throughout Great Britain, is independently recognized as the best energy supplier for customer service on the island, and is Britain's leading generator of electricity from renewable sources. In the spring of 2010, SSE chose Proficy SmartSignal solutions to protect its entire large thermal fleet. This agreement covered all coal and combined-cycle gas turbine (CCGT) plants in Britain, consisting of 6.5 GW of generating capacity. The contract included fleet-wide licenses of GE’s flagship Proficy SmartSignal Epi-center solution, along with Proficy SmartSignal xConnector software, which provides a comprehensive gateway between Epi-center and the OSIsoft PI System™. This purchase also included implementation of the first two units: a CCGT unit at Medway and a coal-fired unit at Fiddler’s Ferry.

With the new agreement, SSE will expand its use of Proficy SmartSignal software beyond its thermal fleet to wind farms and gas storage. SSE will begin trials at its Toddleburn wind site, including all 12 Siemens turbines, along with the Aldborough Gas Storage site, including three Siemens gas compressors. If successful, these tests will lead to further expansion across the wind fleet and incremental gas storage assets.

Also, SSE will expand implementation across combined-cycle units by adding the Keadby and Peterhead plants. Covered equipment will include all combustion turbines and generators, steam turbines and generators, HRSGs, feed pumps, condensers, and condensate pumps.

According to Erik Udstuen, GE Intelligent Platforms Vice President, Software and Services, SSE and GE also will be partnering in an unusual and innovative R & D project to develop a software product to provide early warning and location of boiler tube leaks.

“Tube leaks in coal-fired boilers are leading causes of forced outages and lost production. GE will expand upon its initial work in this area, along with SSE boiler-expert and operator feedback. A resulting product would revolutionize the industry, helping operators to minimize the damage caused by leaks, reduce the time to repair, and make repairs during off-peak production,” he said.

Neil Connolly, Engineering Centre Manager of SSE, further explained the partnership, “Through our initial purchase, GE has proven its industry leadership and engineering expertise, and we’re really excited about working with them—and having the best monitoring and maintenance equipment across our gas storage and wind farms.”

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