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Emerson Process Management has improved operations at the Porcheville thermal power plant in France by implementing an automation and control system featuring Plantweb digital plant architecture.

The system also features the Ovation expert control system, Scenario simulation, AMS Suite predictive-maintenance software, Smart Wireless technology and the Sureservice customer-support programme.

The measurable improvements – including a 50 per cent improvement in the plant’s ability to ramp up and down on demand – are translating into economic benefits for the plant’s owner, EDF, while also helping to maintain grid stability in France.

The Porcheville plant is located in the Yvelines region along the Seine, roughly 30 miles west of Paris.

Several years ago, in response to a growing demand for electricity in France, EDF began an ambitious renovation programme at Porcheville to boost the plant’s generating capacity and responsiveness.

Improving the plant’s ability to ramp up and down swiftly and accurately over a broader megawatt range enables Porcheville to compete for ancillary service contracts from the government.

This translates into additional revenue and enables EDF to avoid financial penalties that would be incurred if it were unable to fulfil its contractual obligations.

The ability of the plant to quickly meet the nation’s growing appetite for power helps maintain grid stability during swings of demand, frequency and voltage.

The automation and control portion of the project called for Emerson to replace obsolete data analogue controls on all four units with Ovation control systems.

Each unit’s Ovation system consists of a dedicated controller to manage individual operations of the Alstom steam turbine and three controllers for monitoring critical data associated with the boiler and balance-of-plant processes.

The Ovation system will also receive additional tank level measurements from Emerson’s Smart Wireless network, soon to be installed.

Smart Wireless extends Plantweb predictive intelligence into areas that were previously out of physical or economic reach, opening the door for new possibilities in process improvement.

Despite the project’s requirements, including modernising two units that had been mothballed for more than a decade, Emerson was able to install, test and start up the control systems within separate 18-day windows that had been allotted for each unit.

Meeting this aggressive timetable was important, as it helped EDF avoid financial penalties associated with project delays.

The results of the control-system upgrade have been dramatic.

Prior to the upgrade, EDF was only able to ramp up the Porcheville units by +/- 60MW.

Since commissioning, Ovation has boosted Porcheville’s manoeuvrability to +/- 90MW, a 50 per cent improvement – giving EDF the opportunity to win additional ancillary service contracts.

The increased demand for power production capacity is EDF’s greatest concern.

Even after being out of service for a decade, Emerson’s automation solution enabled EDF to put the Porcheville units back online in record time.

After more than two years of operation, EDF is confident it can reliably produce power when called upon during peak demand periods.

At the Porcheville plant, Emerson’s AMS Suite: Intelligent Device Manager works with the Ovation system to manage smart field devices, resulting in improved production reliability.

Maintenance personnel can access predictive diagnostics on all Hart instruments, including Emerson’s Micro Motion mass flowmeters and Rosemount Oxymitter 4000 transmitters, as well as Fisher DVC 6000 digital valve controllers installed throughout the plant.

As part of the comprehensive project, EDF is also taking advantage of Emerson’s Scenario simulation solution.

When it is up and running later this year, the simulation will be used to train new and existing operators, strengthening their skills and ability to respond to varying situations, which will further enhance plant performance.

To help ensure the plant continues to take full advantage of the latest technologies, EDF is also utilising Emerson’s Sureservice customer-support programme, which offers access to comprehensive technical support and Ovation software upgrades for five years.

Emerson Process Management – Power and Water

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