Digitalising existing assets

30 May 2019

Digitalisation of existing assets is increasingly becoming a key component of O&M activities in the power sector.

As part of an 18-year extension to a multi-year maintenance service agreement with Shuweihat S2 Operation and Maintenance Company (S2O&M), Siemens will deploy products from its Omnivise digital services portfolio, including cybersecurity solutions, to help improve asset visibility, reliability and availability, as well as providing conventional support functions (eg inspections, spare parts, etc) to the 1500 MW Shuweihat S2 combined cycle IWPP (independent water and power plant) in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

The project will see the deployment of Siemens’ FlexLTP (Flexible Long-Term Program), which provides a high degree of asset availability by extending intervals between inspections.

This includes an integrated suite of advanced remote monitoring and diagnostics services, such as Asset Monitor. Using advanced data-driven analytics, the service provides a visualisation of plant asset data and key performance indicators (KPIs) for early detection of potential issues.

“Digital solutions have become a strong contributor to sustainable growth in the power sector,” said Gianluigi Di Giovanni, senior executive vice president of Siemens Power Generation Services in the Middle East and North Africa.

One of the challenges faced by power plant operators is receiving hundreds of false alarms, caused by different factors that could interrupt operations. Utilising cloud analytics, Siemens’ I&C Monitors and Advisors can identify the root cause of false alarms and help eliminate them. By improving the accuracy and reliability of power asset measurements, this technology can increase productivity and thus, profitability.

Siemens will also deploy Remote Resident Engineers, which allows the company’s experts to remotely resolve performance issues and forecast maintenance needs, using a secured network and two-factor authentication to eliminate any cyber risks.

GE is similarly providing digital enhancements at Sorgenia’s Termoli plant in Italy, alongside an extension of the existing multiyear service agreement to 2031. The power plant will use big data analytics to improve performance and make smarter operational decisions, says GE.

It will make use of GE digital offerings such as Predix* Asset Performance Management (APM), Operational Performance Excellence, Efficiency Optimizer, OpFlex* advanced controls and Mark* VIe solutions with the aim of making the plant more competitive in Italy’s rapidly evolving energy market. With these digital capabilities Sorgenia hopes to “strengthen its activities in energy trading and asset optimisation to respond faster to a European energy framework marked by increasing liquidity and interconnection with the Italian market.”

“With power production in Europe and in Italy becoming largely renewables driven, gas power generation will need to provide the necessary flexibility to balance them”, says Michael Rechsteiner, CEO of GE’s Power Services business in Europe, noting that the digital and hardware improvements that Sorgenia is undertaking will “reinvent how they operate their assets.” Hardware improvements include a compressor upgrade package that will contribute to a 0.5% improvement in efficiency.

Elsewhere in Italy, GE is working with utility A2A on the modernisation and digitalisation of its existing power generation assets, at Chivasso, Sermide, Cassano and Monfalcone.

In January 2019 GE announced it had implemented its first Predix-based Asset Performance Management (APM) system in India, for Tata Power’s fossil power business, part of a programme to digitise and optimise around 8 GW of Tata Power’s fossil and renewable power generation portfolio.

Tata Power has been a pioneer in the field of reliability centred maintenance (RCM), implementing an RCM-led O&M transformation on a large scale. “This company wide programme aims to improve asset reliability and embed best in class O&M processes while optimising cost”, says Ashok Sethi, COO and executive director, Tata Power. “Digitisation is one of the main pillars of this programme and we’re glad to partner with GE and their APM solution to bring to life our vision.”

Tata Power programme includes implementation of RCM on all their fossil assets, an effort launched two years ago to increase reliability by adopting a proactive approach to daily O&M activities. GE says its approach will help Tata Power reduce O&M expenses, optimise availability and reliability, reduce risk, and reduce costs through intelligent asset strategies, as well as improve maintenance planning. In addition, GE’s APM package will be implemented on Tata Power’s solar inverter and wind assets, across seven different OEM wind turbine models totalling 1 GW.

APM employs “holistic and risk-based intelligent asset strategies to balance performance and cost by considering design, operational procedures, and maintenance plans for all assets”, says GE, which emphasises its applicability across both

GE and non-GE assets. Predix-based APM helps reduce unplanned downtime and increases availability and reliability by helping to ensure that critical assets and systems are monitored and protected from emerging threats, the company says. Further, the need for costly emergency repairs is drastically reduced by detecting problems early, turning unplanned downtime into planned downtime. GE says APM “has helped customers globally improve the reliability of power generating machines, reducing unplanned downtime up to 5%, reducing false positive alerts up to 75% and reducing overall operations and maintenance costs.” 

Sorgenia’s Termoli plant

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