Three power generators upgrade control, simulation platforms

Combined-cycle, nuclear, and coal-fired plants each weigh options for system upgrades, seeking efficiency, lower costs.


From Canada, U.K., France, and the Netherlands, power generators are seeking higher efficiency and more effective operation. Here are three projects, differing in technology but related by their industry and desired outcomes.

Combined cycle gas turbine

Anglo-French utility EDF will automate six new combined-cycle gas turbine (CCGT) units using Emerson Process Management’s PlantWeb architecture with Ovation expert control system. The new installations—located in West Burton in the U.K., and the towns of Blenod-les-Pont-à-Mousson and Martigues in France—will enable EDF to satisfy future energy supply requirements and meet its commitment to reduce carbon emissions.

Emerson’s solution includes deployment of the Ovation expert control system with HART communications to monitor and control the heat recovery steam generator, as well as the burner management system (for Martigues), and balance-of-plant processes. The Ovation system will also integrate the turbine control system and perform data acquisition, including sequence of events.

CCGT power generation is among the most energy-efficient and clean methods of fossil fuel generation. Such plants can be started in a matter of minutes, making them ideal for matching changes in consumption. “At EDF we are looking to provide modern and efficient power generation that is responsive and flexible to the demand for electricity,” says Bernard Bergerot, strategic director within EDF’s thermal engineering department.

Bergerot’s colleague, Jerôme Durand, I&C team manager adds, “To help achieve this, we have sourced an automation solution that offered maximum reliability, was easy to maintain, and provided flexibility. Emerson was chosen for its project management capabilities and its ability to ensure consistency between projects in several countries. Significant to its selection was EDF’s positive experience with the Ovation system at the EDF Porcheville (France) power stations.”

Emerson will also supply a Scenario simulator used to assist with start-up and for training operators. Configured using control logic identical to that of the plant, high-fidelity simulators offer a realistic training and engineering environment. In addition to training EDF operators on the new Ovation system, Emerson’s simulation solution will be used to test and verify control logic and for unit check-out prior to the plant’s synchronization to the grid.

EDF is also constructing a new 1,300 MW power station at its existing West Burton site, located in Nottinghamshire, U.K. With three 430 MW CCGT units, the new plant will stand next to EDF’s 2,000 MW, coal-fired power station and be ready for commercial operation in 2011.

Nuclear simulators

L-3 Mapps has been awarded a contract from Hydro-Quebec to upgrade its Gentilly-2 simulator as part of a plant refurbishment project, which will extend the life of the nuclear generating station until the year 2040. Gentilly-2 is located in Becancour, Quebec, east of Montreal near Trois-Rivieres, and is the only nuclear power plant in the province of Quebec.

Source: Hydro-Quebec

Hydro-Quebec Gentilly-2; learn more

To match the upgrades planned for the plant, the simulator, originally delivered in the late 1980s by L-3 Mapps, will also undergo major updates. The first phase of the upgrade consists of moving the current UNIX-based simulation platform onto a MS Windows operating system running L-3 Mapps’ Orchid simulation environment.

In the second phase, the reactor core and thermal-hydraulics models will be upgraded, replacing the digital control computers (DCCs) with a fully emulated equivalent that will be integrated in the full-scope simulator. Deploying a dual DCC emulation is a first-of-a-kind effort for CANDU (Canadian deuterium uranium) plant simulators. In addition, a test bench facility—including two fully stimulated plant computers connected to the simulator with a new card—will allow the Gentilly-2 technical staff to test and validate the modifications to the DCC software before implementing these changes in the plant.

The order also includes optional phases which could be selected later by Hydro-Quebec for emulating the plant’s new turbine control system, a new plant display system and further modeling changes. Work has already started under a pre-authorization from Hydro-Quebec and the new simulator is expected to enter service progressively in various phases until fall 2011.

High-efficiency coal plant

E.ON Benelux N.V. has selected ABB to provide its 800xA Extended Automation control system for a new high-efficiency power plant. E.ON’s 1,113 MW hard-coal-fired power plant in Maasvlakte Unit 3 will have a thermal efficiency of more than 46%, making it one of the world’s most energy efficient coal-fired plants. Because of the high efficiency, the CO2 emission of the new plant is approximately 20% lower than the average coal fired plant currently operational in the Netherlands.

ABB's scope of supply comprises a System 800xA control installation with boiler protection and all instrumentation. This includes electrical actuators, which will be integrated into the process control system via a Profibus network. ABB will also carry out engineering, installation, and commissioning.

—Edited by Peter Welander, process industries editor,
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