Sensors and Analytics for Reliable and Efficient Electrical Generation

by , , | Apr 1, 2020 | Digital Transformation, Industry, Power Generation

The reliable and resilient flow of electrical energy to our homes and businesses is the goal of every power producer. What are some ways that advancing technology is helping these producers achieve these goals?

In a Power magazine article, New Monitoring and Analytics Tools Improve Plant Performance, Emerson’s Brian Joe and Juan Panama describe how Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) technologies help electrical generating plants increase reliability and overall efficiency.

Power: New Monitoring and Analytics Tools Improve Plant PerformanceBrian and Juan open noting that while:

…the first step in digital transformation fulfills the data-creating side of the picture, it must be balanced with corresponding analytics to be effective.

Given the wealth of data available from sensors in the process, these analytics:

…designed to crunch and sort data gathered via smart sensors are providing users with the ability to apply predictive diagnostics to equipment and assets.

Some examples where these IIoT sensors can be applied to help improve reliable operations include:

  • Pumps, motors, and gearboxes.
  • Heat recovery steam generators (HRSGs).
  • Cooling towers.
  • Heat exchangers.
  • Leaking steam traps.
  • Leaking pressure relief valves.
  • Leaking drain valves.
  • Piping for flow-accelerated corrosion.

With these additional sources of real-time data, built-for-purpose operational analytics, such as Plantweb Insight applications:

…engineers can use data to predict problems before they affect operations. This allows maintenance, reliability, safety, plant engineering, and other departments to make quicker, more-intelligent decisions about their operations. With these educated decisions come cost savings, cost avoidances, improved maintenance and reliability, better safety, and improved heat rate.

Brian and Juan share an example about improving cooler tower performance:

…it is possible to determine the efficiency of cooling tower heat exchange equipment and tell if there is internal buildup or fouling of liquid or air passages. There are other sensors, including vibration and bearing temperature, which can be added to the motors and gearboxes driving fans or pumps. These can warn of developing mechanical problems, allowing corrective action to be taken in advance of failure.

Read the article for more on other applications for power generation facilities and suggested projects to improve overall reliability and efficiency. Visit the Plantweb Insight and Power Generation sections on for more on the technologies and solutions to drive improved operational performance.

You can also connect and interact with other IIoT and power industry experts in the IIoT & Digital Transformation and Power groups in the Emerson Exchange 365 community.

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The opinions expressed here are the personal opinions of the authors. Content published here is not read or approved by Emerson before it is posted and does not necessarily represent the views and opinions of Emerson.

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