The electrical generation sector is facing a future of disruptive changes with the implementation of more renewable energy, a higher demand of electricity due to more electric transport and newly developed storage technology.
Power plant digitalization
In this context, conventional power plants (mainly nuclear and combined cycle plants) are still a necessity, but under different operating conditions than those currently seen. There needs to be more flexibility in their operations and the related costs need to be reduced to guarantee their survival. Plants are taking on this challenge and are embracing digitalization, applying data analysis technology, artificial intelligence, mobility and automatization.
Mobility solutions such as computerized procedures and electronic work packages mean that procedures and work packages can be carried out digitally, both on site and in the control rooms, significantly reducing operating costs with more efficient processes.
The importance of new technology
Having advanced solutions available for operations supervision such as high-performance displays or the rationalization of alarms, mean more emphasis can be placed on the operators of important actions, reducing human error and increasing the availability of plant assets.
The application of data science technology (big data and machine learning) to the monitoring of plant data means any deviations in its thermodynamic performance can be detected and can help in decision-making processes to improve production or reduce consumption. Likewise, the advanced monitoring of the status of equipment or predictive monitoring can help with the early detection of any wear and tear of components, meaning maintenance work can be undertaken before any serious breakdown occurs.
These same techniques are used for specific applications, such as improving start-up predictions for combined cycle plants and for the optimization of fuel consumption.
The integrated management of plant assets also needs to include testing and inspection activities, allowing decisions to be made based on the data of the status of said assets, optimizing overall operating costs.
Tecnatom’s role in the digitalization of its clients
Tecnatom is fully committed to its clients, supporting them with all their needs to overcome these challenges as efficiently, effectively and as best as possible. That is why it has created the TecOS suite, which offers solutions to cover the operations, maintenance, inspections, testing and monitoring of plant installations, resolving specific problems with a view of improving the yield of the plant’s assets.
We have also created the Tecnatom Monitoring Centre (CMT) from where our experts support plant personnel with the monitoring of their plants’ performances, using predictive monitoring to keep an eye on their plants’ assets.
In addition, Tecnatom is supporting different national and international utilities to define the Smart Power Plant concept which is supported by a digital twin. These are platforms which are unified by data and other digital solutions to cover the entire life cycle of plants, from their design, construction, commissioning and operation.