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Emerson Process Management’s Smart Wireless technology is being used at San Diego Gas and Electric’s Palomar Energy Centre to increase throughput, extend asset life and improve process safety.

The Palomar Energy Centre is based in Escondido, California.

Five applications of Emerson WirelessHart network use Rosemount wireless transmitters communicating with a single Smart Wireless gateway to collect continuous data for San Diego Gas and Electric (SDGandE).

The data from the wireless network is integrated into Emerson’s Ovation expert control system, which monitors and controls critical plant processes.

SDGandE has increased its cooling tower throughput with the help of real-time cooling riser data delivered by Rosemount wireless temperature transmitters.

The technology helps it tap process data that was previously uncollected and use it for efficiency calculations.

Steve Lyons, instrument technician at SDGandE, said: ‘Now we can use the efficiency calculation to confirm that cooling fans are running at their correct speeds.

‘With this confirmation, we do not have to over-compensate, which gives the plant better thermal efficiency,’ he added.

In a second application, turbine compartment temperatures are checked continuously by wireless temperature transmitters to detect leaks of turbine exhaust cooling air.

Previously, SDGandE had only switches that would close if the temperature reached a certain point, but had no temperature data to indicate leaks.

Lyons said: ‘The new data allows us to perform maintenance when needed, and less on a scheduled basis.

‘As a result, we have cut our preventive maintenance on the turbines in half,’ he added.

A third Smart Wireless application of Rosemount wireless pressure transmitters detects air leaks from two forced draft fans as each alternately sits idle while the other runs to cool turbines.

Lyons said: ‘Wireless pressure data has helped us find leaks in a more expeditious manner.

‘We’re able to lower the fans amps, which has lengthened their lifetime.

‘Every five years, we will save approximately one fan motor, which costs EUR11,000 to EUR15,000 (GBP9,651 to GBP13,160),’ he added.

In a fourth application, Rosemount wireless DP transmitters check inlet air filters that protect turbine blades in an area subjected to construction dust.

When filters are fouled, turbine efficiency is severely reduced.

The SDGandE filter cleaning system did not provide accurate filter condition readings.

Lyons said: ‘After installing wireless DP, we have improved turbine efficiency and reduced our megawatt usage.

‘With better DP information across the filters we can clean them at the proper time,’ he added.

In a fifth Smart Wireless application, SDGandE installed a Rosemount wireless temperature transmitter to monitor pipes on the facility’s fire-safety system.

Pipe temperatures can rise to 70C if pumps are accidentally left on after weekly tests.

Lyons said: ‘This protects against pump damage, which could cost the plant EUR15,000 per pump.

‘But the greatest benefit is protection of personnel from burns,’ he added.

Installation and commissioning of the devices was easy and the cost-effective, self-organising network was performed without problems since start-up.

It took company personnel about an hour to install each device.

In addition to the Smart Wireless solutions already installed at SDGandE, Emerson offers a range of wireless field instrumentation and plant operations equipment, including Fisher position monitors, Rosemount Analytical and Machinery Health Management devices, and native wireless interfaces to AMS Suite predictive maintenance software and Smartstart services.

In addition to those at SDGandE, potential power plant applications include monitoring pressure relief valves, monitoring the corrosion in pipelines and vessels, monitoring temperatures at pre-heaters and pumps in order to improve thermal efficiencies, and freely deploying vibration analysers – even when the equipment itself is rotating.

Emerson Process Management

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