Aberdeen software company Infotechnics has been selected by Scottish Power to implement its advanced operational logging and reporting software Opralog.

The contract award is part of a drive by Scottish Power towards a more centralized shift logging and reporting system.

Scottish Power – which is part of the Iberdrola Group, the fourth largest energy company in the world – will be implementing Opralog across all its coal, gas and hydropower generation assets throughout the UK in order to improve their operational efficiency and ensure a high level of safety throughout the business.

Jim Ross, project manager at Scottish Power, outlines the company’s requirement: “As part of the Scottish Power Business Operational Transformation Programme, we identified a desire to move away from the current methods for shift logging and implement a system that will provide a centralized view of all generating sites.

“The aim was for valuable information to be presented and utilized in a manner that would increase operational efficiency and enable us to maintain a high level of safety. Opralog ensures more effective communication between shifts, and facilitates our legal requirements to provide documentation on plant status and events during the shift handover.

“Our coal, gas and hydro stations all have different requirements and characteristics, and the highly flexible and configurable nature of Opralog ensures it is utilized in the most effective way at each site. Opralog will interface to other plant systems and automatically capture significant events thus improving information quality and reducing manual effort”.

Speaking about the contract, Infotechnics’ business development director Jon Howard said: “We are delighted that Scottish Power has chosen to use Opralog and we look forward to working together on this project. One of the most important criteria that Scottish Power had for the Operational Shift Logging System was to effectively manage knowledge and information across each site.

“Information has to be visible and available to users for them to conduct detailed and granular analysis with an aim of quickly and effectively communicating a single ‘best practice’ method across the business for key operational activities.

“Opralog is able to capture complex information whilst still being extremely intuitive and simple to use for the end user, and by interfacing to various other plant systems Scottish Power will have a complete view of the plant status and events for all locations at any one time.

“Continued success has seen Infotechnics expand rapidly, with Opralog now deployed by energy majors E.ON UK, Scottish & Southern Energy and Scottish Power. Moving forward, our aim is to invest considerable effort and time to build on our existing customer base, and use our versatility of approach to continue delivering effective solutions in the future.”

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Aveva’s laser scanner cuts out a large chunk of manual processing for 3D modelling

Plant operators have a constant need to fully understand their “as-built” plant, versus the original design, which will often have changed substantially over time. Good as-built knowledge supports safety and compliance, revamp and upgrade projects, and ongoing operations and maintenance, and reduces the likelihood of costly mistakes and rework.

Laser scanning has proven to be a very effective way of capturing this information, but until now, turning the laser scans into an intelligent, as-built 3D plant model has required extensive manual intervention in the back office, which is very expensive. So, back to square one. Not according to Aveva, however, whose new Laser Modeller product cuts out a large chunk of the manual processing, making for much quicker and cheaper production of the 3D model from the laser data.

Aveva Laser Modeller is the result of Aveva’s technology partnership with laser data specialists Z+F UK. The joint development has created a solution that can turn laser scan data directly into intelligent, as-built 3D models. These models can then be used to produce and manage many other types of data and deliverable used in the operational plant, as well as in engineering projects. These cover not only 3D design, but also engineering activities like HVAC, electrical equipment, safety equipment, instruments, piping, and so on.

Aveva says Laser Modeller’s key differentiator is that the 3D model it produces has “engineering intelligence within it” – in other words, it understands how to relate the laser scan data to actual engineering components and items. This makes a lot of sense when you look at how laser scan data has been used to create 3D models until now, said the firm. It has been a two-stage process, requiring manual modelling of the 3D CAD geometry from laser scan data, and then a further manual conversion of the 3D CAD geometry into the full 3D model.

Even in the best of circumstances, this is time-consuming and expensive. It is known, for example, that each hour of scanning time typically requires 20 hours of back-office processing time to make it useful. The process is also rather prone to error and incompleteness, as only selected items are converted, based on the engineering understanding of the person carrying out the modelling.

Aveva has effectively compressed the two stages into one integrated operation, with less room for error. It has also freed the user from proprietary laser vendor relationships, as Laser Modeller accepts many different formats of laser scan data. The use of intelligent 3D CAD for plant revamps, upgrades and even day-to-day operations and maintenance is not new, but this technology has been perceived as expensive to deploy and difficult to keep current.

The principal aim of Aveva Laser Modeller is to remove these barriers and make the technology accessible and maintainable at a fraction of the traditional cost. In fact, Laser Modeller enables operators of existing plants to move away from an environment where as-built information is hard to access and often only available in scanned or paper formats, to one in which all as-built information and deliverables are fully digital – and therefore far easier to keep up to date – or “evergreen”.

Aveva has been active in the laser product space for a while, and its existing laser products seem to address several interesting areas of operator need. Laser Model Interface, for example, enables the user to overlay laser data onto an existing 3D model, so he or she can measure discrepancies, clash-check new designs, and design or re-route pipe runs. IntelliLaser enables laser scan data to be turned into an asset management tool, linking the scanned data not only with the 3D model, but also with associated engineering data and documents.

Aveva estimates that 47 per cent of the market for laser scan data is currently in the plant space, and the market itself has grown by 750 per cent since 2002. Clearly, plant operators are latching onto the idea that it is important to have reliable, up-to-date information holdings about the as-built nature of their plants.

Common sense says that they are not going to get there if their information is squirreled away in document archives somewhere. No, the way forward for all these plants that have a dirty paper secret is definitely digital – and if they can get there on a laser beam, they will probably get there quicker.

Aveva is being somewhat coy about the identity of the several organizations already using Laser Modeller, but they should be easy enough to spot: they’re the ones installing bigger paper recycling bins.

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Emerson awarded automation contract for Ambarli power plant modernization project in Turkey

 

Emerson Process Management has been awarded a contract for technology and services to automate two units of the Ambarli power plant, west of Istanbul.

The units are being updated by engineering contractor EPP to help the state-owned EÜAŞ generating company meet Turkey’s increasing demand for electricity. “The comprehensive upgrade and expansion of the Ambarli power plant is essential to support our efforts to meet performance guarantees and efficiency requirements,’’ said EPP executive board member Abdurrahim Özpınar. “By modernizing this existing plant using the very latest automation technology from Emerson, we have the opportunity to not only increase total output capacity, but also improve plant availability.”

The contract is part of a rehabilitation and full repowering programme that will improve performance, reduce environmental impact and increase total plant output by 516 MW. The oil-fired units 4 and 5 are being converted to natural gas with the installation of two new combined-cycle gas turbines and ultra-modern heat recovery steam generators, and the rehabilitation of the two existing 150 MW steam turbines.

Emerson specialists will manage the automation project and be responsible for the design, procurement and installation of all instrumentation and control systems, as well as overseeing the commissioning and start-up of both units, scheduled for April 2012.

Emerson’s PlantWeb digital plant architecture with the Ovation expert control system will replace the existing controls. The Ovation system will directly control each unit’s steam turbine and balance-of-plant processes and equipment. In addition, it will interface with the gas turbine control systems, enabling all inputs to have a common platform for operators to work from. The system will oversee automatic unit start-up/shutdown and automatic unit operation within the full range of load changes.

As part of the PlantWeb digital architecture, Emerson will also install a full range of instrumentation, including its Rosemount measurement equipment.

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Fluid Components International introduces the ST100 series mass flow meter

The debut of the breakthrough ST100 series thermal mass flow meter from Fluid Components International (FCI) sets a new industry benchmark in process and plant gas flow measurement instrumentation, the company claims.

The ST100 combines superior flow sensing performance with the industry’s most feature-rich and function-rich electronics to deliver unsurpassed adaptability and value to meet plant gas flow measurement applications for today and tomorrow, said FCI.

FCI developed the advanced ST100 series flow meters in response to countless hours of discussions with a wide range of instrument, process and plant engineers who wanted both more comprehensive measurement information as well as the flexibility to adapt to plant and process control technology they might deploy in the future.

The future-ready ST100 series flow meter is the result of those conversations. Beyond its ability to continuously measure, display and transmit the most extensive array of parameters, it is the industry’s first thermal mass gas flow meter designed with a migration path to tomorrow, according to its makers. Whether the need is for conventional 4–20 mA analogue, frequency/pulse, alarm relays or advanced digital bus communications such as HART, Foundation Fieldbus, Profibus or Modbus, the new ST100 is the solution, said FCI.

Should a plant’s needs change over time or an upgrade be desirable, the ST100 flow meter adapts as necessary with a plug-in card replacement that can be changed out by plant technicians in the field.

The new ST100 flow meter features a unique graphical, multivariable, backlit LCD display that provides the industry’s most comprehensive information with continuous display of all process measurements and alarm status, and the ability to interrogate for service diagnostics, said FCI.

The ST100 measures gas mass flow rate, total flow, temperature and pressure depending on the model family. The ST100 stores up to five unique calibration groups to accommodate broad flow ranges, differing mixtures of the same gas and multiple gases, and obtains up to 1000:1 turndown.

An optional, patent-pending SpectraCal Gas Equivalency calibration method lets users select and switch between ten common gases. Also standard is an on-board data logger with an easily accessible, removable 2 GB micro-SD memory card capable of storing 21 million readings.

With the ST100, FCI becomes the industry’s first thermal manufacturer to offer three different types of flow sensors to best match user applications, said the company. The FPC-style is a fast response type that features an integral, patent pending flow conditioner and protective shroud optimized for compressed air and clean gas applications.

The FP-style is a fast response, general purpose design with a protective shroud and is also the sensor used with FCI’s VeriCal in-situ calibration option. For applications with wet or dirty gases, or erratic flows, the unshrouded S-style facilitates easy cleaning and provides a smoothed response.

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GE claims mercury emissions reduction breakthrough

GE has completed testing of its ThermoPleat Pleated Filter Element (PFE) – technology that the company claims can reduce mercury emissions from coal by up to 98 per cent.

In a statement, GE said that tests that have been conducted by Particulate Control Technologies (PCT) at its Mercury Research Centre (MRC) in Florida, USA, show that the new technology offers the potential to reduce emissions by more than 90 per cent.

Until now, coal fired boiler air pollution control operators have been unable to achieve these high levels of mercury scrubbing without resorting to the use of costly powdered activated carbon injection.

“Against an uncertain regulatory backdrop, this technology could be a game-changer for plant, environmental and maintenance managers who are looking for smarter, cost-effective upgrades to reduce emissions,” said PCT technical adviser Ralph Altman.

“The filters performed very well and are so compact that they open up a whole new range of casing designs for both new and retrofit applications.”

The tests by PCT and GE allowed researchers to use the facilities’ unique full-scale testing capabilities to determine the best method for reducing mercury emissions.

By using ThermoPleat elements, GE found that some coal-fired boiler air pollution control operators may be able to capture as much as 98 per cent of mercury emissions. These results can be achieved when the plant reduces the temperatures of its flue gas, thereby allowing a more efficient utilization of the capture capacity of the unburned carbon in fly ash.

At other flue gas temperatures, ThermoPleat elements may help some coal fired boiler air pollution control operators capture around 75 to 80 per cent of their mercury by inherent loss-on-ignition (LOI) of fly ash.

Operators may be able to increase the percentage of mercury emissions that are captured by using powdered activated carbon – although at a much lower injection rate than that typically used today with standard filter bags. Doing this could also help to substantially reduce these operators’ yearly operational costs.


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