Friday, May 8, 2015

ITS Solving Customer Problems in the Field

We have received a customer call regarding client/server connection problems and error messages occurring in their power plant process-LAN.

The problem was: 

Some of the Mark V alarms/events weren’t written into both of the redundant SQL-Servers. The database content of the used tables was different without any understandable reason and the in-house IT technician wasn’t able to find the problem. 

Our technician was able to find the cause quite fast because the extended log-files created from every TMOS component, shows it in clear words. A timeout of the TCP/IP protocol occurred during establishing the connection between client and server. The timeout was reached after a delay of 3 seconds where the connection couldn’t be established in their modern gigabit-network. After some tests a needed connection time of about 4200 ms was measured.

The network connects two power plants and uses a great amount of switches and media converters between copper and fibre cables that there are a vast amount of opportunities for an error to occur. It took more than a day of digging into the Ethernet network structure and its components to finally find the problem.

The results from the availability-test, bandwidth-test and free system resources etc., were negative. Also the software configurations of the network interfaces of the server and switches were all well executed except one management interface. The SNMP-based TMOS network infrastructure overview display shows one interface which could not be accessed and matched to its component.

It is only after a walk through of one of the plants, checking all the hardware, that a possible issue was spotted on a dedicated server that is used for the ITS Online Combustion Monitoring System. The shared port for management and regular Ethernet was used to connect the process-LAN.

Our technician realised, as this is the only server with a shared ethernet port used in this network,  a detailed study of this server seems to be necessary. After remembering the perils of an unconfigured management interface and the process LAN on one single ethernet port he quickly found through his experience that this could be a reason for the problem.

After configuring the management port and modifying the second interface as the port used for the process LAN, the problem was solved. The connection time was back on about 3 ms, which is typical for these power plants.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Renewable Energy for Peaking Power Station

Integrating renewable energy sources into the electrical power grid can be challenging to say the least.  One of the biggest issues regarding this integration is the fact that solar and wind power as such can be interrupted and this in turn affects the stability of the overall output to the consumer.

Wärtsilä will supply a new 56 MW Smart Power Generation plant to the Stillwater Utilities Authority (SUA) in Oklahoma, U.S.A.  It will be balancing out wind and solar generation and will in essence be a peaking power station distributing energy in times of need.  According to an article in the Diesel & Gas Turbine Worldwide, they will be replacing a 26 MW gas turbine built in the 1950’s.  The plant will allegedly run on three Wärtsilä 50SG natural gas engines.  

In Oklahoma 14.8% of the electricity generated in 2013 was wind power, and as per die Diesel & Gas Turbine Worldwide, this state has more than 1700 active wind turbines with over 1300 MW capacity making it sixth among all American states.  
Wärtsilä was selected because of the flexibility of its engines and naturally because of its practical experience in similar renewable integration projects in other parts of the US.

The official start of the project is planned for next year, with the delivery of equipment scheduled for November 2015.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Armenia Set To Implement New, Gas Turbine Power Plant.

In August the Armenian Government has announced that they have authorised the development and building of a 540 megawatt gas turbine power plant.

A Private company has received authorization for constructing a plant consisting of two 270 megawatt units and it has been agreed during negotiations that all of the risk will be carried by the company handling the project.  The generated power is set to be exported and this could prove to be very lucrative.  The Project is set to be implemented in 18 months.
At the moment Armenia derives its electricity from three-generation sources: nuclear (34 percent), thermal (32 percent), and hydropower (34 percent).

The nuclear power plant in Armenia is considered to be one of the most dangerous in the world, because of its location and its structure.
The Metsamor nuclear power station is only one of a few plants left without primary containment vessels.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Coal power plants still showing presence in Europe

Germany is one of the countries at the forefront of Europe’s fight against cleaner air and Co2 emissions yet it is still home to five of the dirtiest power plants in the area.  According to a recent study by the WWF, Germany has a total of 6 out of top ten of the power plants in Europe that emit the most CO2 per hour of energy produced.  While Greece is still the winner of the dirtiest European power plant which produces around 1.35 kilograms of CO2 per hour of kilowatt power, Germany and Britain (seemingly unlikely sources) are at a steady second on that shameful list with 10 plants in the top 30 respectively.

To spite Germany’s high ranking goals to generate most of its power from renewable energy it is still turning to the coal industry for a great deal of its power supply.  Many environmental organisations and in particular the WWF are criticising Germany’s decision to continue building coal fired power plants.

According to this newly published report Germany uses more coal to generate electricity than any other EU country even though it has a reputation for being the leader in fighting for rapid climate change.
The WWF has now made a plea to Germany to stop using the coal industry and to rather switch to other energy sources.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

EPA's Are Turning The Tide

The ever growing stronger emissions standards on the automotive industry seem to have finally made its dent.  Over the time since 2004 when these new regulations started taking shape, there is a definite downward decline in the pollution scale according to research done by the University of Michigan. There is a solid and traceable line of positive change from the time of implementation to present day.

This way of thinking is starting to manifest itself in the subconscious of the everyman and taking shape in the consumerist behaviour in the car industry as a whole.

Unfortunately the power plant industry has not been able to emulate the same kind of success in their show of progress in the same area.   President Obama has recently released a proposal to cut carbon emissions by 30% over the next 16 years in the US.  This would be seemingly more unpopular with the general public as they are intending to replace the cheapest form of energy such as coal and replace it with something seemingly more expensive.
Nevertheless the general American public appear to be backing the Obama administration for its efforts in reducing greenhouse emissions considerably and regardless of our opinion great changes lie ahead in the future of Power Plants as a whole.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Power Gen Expo Europe 2014

Last week the team from Industrial Turbine Services attended the annual Power Gen Europe Expo in Cologne, Germany.  There was a noticeable difference in the multitude of traffic from previous years and my colleague immediately noted that it would be a much more peaceful experience than what he has witnessed in the past.  The overall organisation of the event was done excellently and everything flowed in a smooth and effortless manner.

We had already purchased our day passes online and this made the wait much shorter than normal.   The idea of having a fast track line has made it much less troublesome to wait in a queue.   After making it to the front and receiving our event catalogue and name tags, we made our way through to the exhibition halls. We inquisitively snaked along the rows of very neatly laid out stalls, attentively looking through brochures and listening in on discussions about Gas Turbines and all of the functionalities that go with it.

After a day of keenly observing the marketing strategies of big companies such as Siemens, Wärtsilä and General Electric it was our conclusion that in 2014 the Expo in its entirety seems to have reduced quite a bit in comparison to previous years.  The packaging and presentation of brochures have considerably increased in recent years.  The overall finish on all of the marketing material I found to be of a very professional nature and there is something to be said for presentation and strategy of all of the exhibitors involved.

In conclusion the Power Gen Europe expo is a great platform for networking with existing customers as well as creating new contacts for building fresh and long lasting business relationships.

We look forward to attending in 2015!

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Pollution And The Gas Turbine.

Pollution and all matters concerning our eco evolution have become of uttermost importance in today’s society.  So much so that there is a growing awareness to the future and sustainability of fossil fuel burning power plants as they continue to have global effects on climate changes.  It is no secret nor surprise that the reduction of these emissions are of cardinal importance for our environment and subsequently for us as a society.

The current emissions from gas turbines are relatively small in comparison to other fossil fuels used for energy.  It has been noted that nothing is indeed as harmful as the emissions of burning coal. In 2010 43% emissions produced from fuel combustions were from coal, the next was from oil and the least was from gas.  It is generally accepted that the emissions from fossil fuels such as coal and oil are better replaceable with gas turbine combustion of whom  which the manufacturers and legislative powers are committed to lowering the negative impact environmentally.

Worldwide the conditions for emission permits are getting stricter.  The rules to which gas turbines must submit to are constantly becoming more stringent.  The ITS Flame Scanner is made from the best and most durable steel, making it able to resist very high temperatures.  It's electronic composition is perfectly optimised for ensuring that the burning of fuel within the turbine is executed correctly for longer periods of time than other Flame Scanners might be able to do.

All things considered gas turbines are still a very viable option for power generation while simultaneously lowering the harm done to the environment.