The high level of sensorization of power generation plants built in recent decades enable to constantly monitor the facilities. In this way, both the deviation in its specific consumption and the potential degradation of the condition of its main equipment can be detected early, in order to take the corresponding corrective actions and optimize the operation strategy.
Nowadays the market offers different solutions that allow monitoring both the thermal performance and the condition of the equipment. However, it is not enough to develop and adjust the corresponding models, but to take full advantage of the information provided by these solutions, they must be accompanied by experts who provide accurate diagnoses.
Development of models and presentation of results
The first step for the commissioning of a monitoring system, regardless of whether the objective pursued is the detection of the deviation in the specific consumption or the degradation of the equipment, is the development of the models based on the available instrumentation. The models used by both solutions differ in terms of their conception since in the first case the models are based on first principles and mass-energy balances, while in the second they are based on statistical models and require training before their implementation in production.
Regarding the information provided by the models, we also found differences. While in specific consumption monitoring systems the user receives information on the deviation of real specific consumption from the target value (identifying how this deviation is distributed among the different systems and /or equipment), in the case of ACM, the user receives alerts when one or several variables have a value that is not included in the defined normality range. Considering that, in this second case it is even more important to have a team of experts who, apart from making a correct diagnosis of the condition of the equipment, is trained to discriminate false positives, which inevitably occur (especially during the commissioning of the solution).
Tecnatom has developed its own Suite of Solutions, TecOS, that has validated tools and is in the process of continuous improvement. These solutions facilitate the execution of tasks that support the operation, monitoring, maintenance, inspection and testing of power plants. This suite includes TecOS SOLCEP, its Efficiency Monitoring and Diagnosis software for electricity production plants, which is implemented in more than 65 fossil generation plants.
Additionally, Tecnatom has its own Monitoring Center (CMT) ) from which a group of experts in different areas provides Efficiency Monitoring and Diagnosis services, as well as Advanced Condition Monitoring (ACM) to more than 1600MW spread over 8 units from 3 different clients.
Benefits associated with integrated control centers
Implementing monitoring systems has a large number of benefits.
Some of these benefits, such as facilitating informed decision making and reducing O&M costs, are common to both monitoring services. Additionally, these solutions represent an advance for the implementation of advanced maintenance strategies such as benefit-based maintenance (efficiency monitoring) and predictive maintenance (ACM). Other benefits, such as maximizing production or increasing plant reliability and availability, are specific to efficiency monitoring and ACM respectively.
One aspect to consider is that the combination of both monitoring generates synergies, since the variation in the consumption of the equipment provides useful information to carry out a more complete diagnosis of their condition and vice versa, since the degradation of the condition of the equipment may be the justification for an increase in consumption.