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ADVANCED ANALYTICS TO BETTER PREDICT ASSET PERFORMANCE

SPG Dashboard by The Grain and SAS
ABOUT

SPG Dry Cooling

SPG Dry Cooling is specialized in cooling solutions and is a global leader in air-cooled condensers and air coolers, with installations all around the globe. A vast offering of dry cooling solutions, which falls under many international patents, is the key to their success.

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PROCESS

Cooling of the steam cycle

SPG Dry Cooling designs and builds Aero-Cooled Condensers for thermal power plants. Cooling of the steam cycle is necessary to create a vacuum at the outlet of turbine, as this vacuum determines the amount of electricity produced and therefore ultimately also directly affects the net efficiency of the power plant. 

Today the power utility market is undergoing major changes. The 3D’s : Decarbonization, Decentralization and Digitalization which have a great impact on how power plants do operate. 

Wind and solar power are contributing more and more to the decarbonization of power systems around the globe. However, given their specific characteristics, these technologies fundamentally change electricity systems and markets. 

Decentralized and more variable power production increases the flexibility requirements placed on the overall power system, both on the supply and demand sides. Existing conventional power plants have to cope with the weather-dependent generation of wind and solar power. 

Since flexibility (rather than baseload generation) is the paradigm that shapes modern power systems, increasing the flexibility of existing coal and gas power plants should be partially understood as necessary for bringing them up to date. Flexibility does not make thermal power plants clean but making existing coal-fired and gas plants more flexible enables the integration of more wind and solar power in the system. 

 Hence thermal power plants need to provide large operational flexibility. They are adjusting their output on a 15-minute basis (intraday market) and even on a 5-minute basis (balancing market) to variation in renewable generation and demand. 

Numerous technical possibilities exist to increase the flexibility of existing thermal power plants. Improving the technical flexibility usually does not impair the efficiency of a plant, but it puts more strain on components, reducing their lifetime. Targeted retrofit measures have been implemented in practice on existing power plants, leading to higher ramp rates, lower minimum loads and shorter start-up times. 

Advanced Analytics

Using Advanced Analytics to better predictions asset performance

In order to respond to these changing circumstances, SPG Dry Cooling involved The Grain given our industrial and data analytics expertise. 

This case started from a predictive maintenance approach where the objective was to increase the reliability of the installation. In addition to a reliable installation, understanding which phenomena have a major impact on the cooling performance of aero-cooled condensers is also very important to provide flexibility. Not all phenomena can be solved with thermo-physical models. 

As thermo-physical models might not suffice advanced analytics enables understanding these phenomena. So, this case quickly evolved into a full process optimization project where, in addition to predicting equipment failures, cooling performance itself can be predicted. And this up to 48 hours in advance. 

Besides the prediction of cooling performance insight is gained on cause of deviation of equipment performance and actionable advice to improve efficiency can be provided. SPG Dry Cooling provides this information to its end customers through their web-based dashboard. SPG dash on Mac

 

Results

These insights are worth their weight in gold.

Not only for any power plant with a steam cycle because cooling performance determines the amount of electricity that can be produced, but also for our customer SPG Dry Cooling who designs and builds these installations. 

The value to SPG Dry Cooling customers’ can be categorized in performance optimization (operational actions, fine-tuning the operation), risk mitigation (early detection of problems or avoid unavailability and freezing protection) and electrical output forecast as well as turbine trip and alarm level optimization enabling to improve the net plant heat rate. 

Today SPG Dry Cooling often doesn’t has access to actual operational feedback of their assets and their lessons learnt are therefore not sufficiently robust as to improve their designs and propose suitable aftermarket solutions.  

The implementation of advanced analytics enables to further finetune SPG Dry Cooling’s models and broaden the way they guarantee performances of new installations. Analytics coupled with their experience in this sector enables them now also to advise their clients on optimization. It also enables them to substantiate the payback effect of certain interventions -physical adjustments or operational. This ensures that SPG Dry Cooling is more than a supplier of installations, but a partner for their customers in the longer term. 

 

Create value from data

A continuous quest to create value from data

The way we combine industrial intelligence with our data science skills is what makes us unique: our starting point is your process, not the data.

We know how assets work and our domain experts work with you to understand the specifics of your operations.