Sustainable Asset Productivity and O&M Management
Energy plays a vital role in today’s society. Economic growth, prosperity and population growth will inevitably boost energy needs over the coming decades. At the same time political, economic and social requirements create a dynamic and complex environment for the energy business.
The Mission of Energy business captures the commitment to sustainability, which means the balanced management of the economic, social and environmental responsibility in business.
A financially strong company is able to bear the responsibility for the environment, take care of the well being of personnel, meet the needs of its customers and support the development on the entire society. The efficient use of resources and the need to mitigate climate change are emphasized in environmental responsibility. Carbon dioxidefree hydro and nuclear power production and the energy-efficient combined heat and power production play a key role in mitigating climate change. As a target there will be a gradual transition from traditional energy production towards a Solar Economy, with infinite and zero-emission energy production and high-level resource and system efficiency.
The foundation for all business activities is a business culture which boosts performance and growth and which indicates that accountability, creativity, respect and honesty are company values. Two linked concepts have been developed around these frames, SusAPTM for the management of productivity and TOPGen® for the operation and maintenance of production plants. Figures 1, 2 and 3 illustrate the background for these concepts.
Sustainable Asset Productivity
There is a need to invest in new, more energy efficient and emissions-free energy production capacity. The prices of fuel, CO2 and electricity as well as the political directions are very volatile and therefore forecasting changes and the future is difficult. It is challenging to decide what is the right long-term investment programme when the cost and profit factors as well as the economical situations are variable.
The SusAPTM (Sustainable Asset Productivity) concept tries to connect the demands of conventional asset management, productivity management and sustainable development to one operational concept. It searches the continuous development of multidimensional operative effectiveness.
Figure 1. Fortum mission and strategy.
Figure 2. Transition towards Solar Economy.
Figure 3. Management process for SusAPTM concept.
Figure 4. Annual improvement potentials for 200 MWth bioCHP plant.
The elements in different production types, thermal power or hydro-power, are a little different but mainly the fall under the following:
- Management and optimization of assets/production plants.
- Management of purchasing and partnership contracts.
- Customer relationships and management of contracts.
- Personnel and competence management.
- Management of sustainable development and connecting actions and results.
The content of the concept element is divided in different sub processes which are e.g. in the performance management:
- Life cycle and value management assuring correctly focused and scheduled investments
- Availability, condition and maintenance management as well as criticality based maintenance strategies.
- Management of energy, fuel and environmental efficiency.
- Strategic resource and competence planning.
- Risk management.
Thermal Power Plants
It is possible by planned and systematic operation to find fairly important improvement and saving potentials, typical annual and life cycle potentials for 200 MWth bioCHP plant and 800 MWe gas combined power plant are illustrated in figures 5 and 6. The improvement potential in terms of plant availability, fuel efficiency and annual investments is bigger than just reducing O&M costs.
Hydro Power Plants
Most of the existing hydropower production in Europe was constructed in the 1940’s, 50’s and 60’s, therefore the age and condition of units used by hydropower production utilities can vary greatly. The role of hydropower has changed several times during its 100-year long history. Until the 1960’s hydropower was used mainly for base load production. A strong increase in thermal and nuclear power energy in the 1960’s and 70’s led to an increase in the start-stop cycles and power regulation of hydropower units. De-regulation of the Nordic electrical energy market in the mid-1990’s led again to an increasing number of start-stop cycles and regulation in this area. Experimental studies from geographic areas with a relatively high amount of wind power show that an increase in wind power will once again increase regulation and probably the start-stop cycles of hydropower units.
A major failure of a hydro turbine or generator causes the shutdown of the production unit until the failed component has been repaired or replaced. This can lead to high, unplanned production losses and therefore, an estimation of the remaining lifetime of turbines and generators is of primary interest in the asset management of hydropower production.
Most hydro turbines and generators reach their full lifetime of several decades with high reliability and therefore the number of old units can be relatively high in the fleet of hydro generation companies. Turbine and generator refurbishment plans are usually made after about 10 years and preliminary plans even 20 to 30 years ahead. When the lifetime estimation covers decades, various factors affecting the total lifetime need to be taken into account. In addition, the lifetime estimation should be performed even though there are not yet any clear measurable signs of ageing. The use of ageing models in lifetime estimation is therefore needed.
A schematic flowchart for the lifetime estimation procedure for hydro generators is shown in Figure 6 . Lifetime consumption until the review date is estimated based on operation history using the ageing models and taking into account the improvement actions which have lengthened the lifetime. The expected remaining lifetime is determined by taking into consideration the future operation mode and operation conditions and these results are verified with condition inspections and diagnostic tests. Lifetime estimation procedures can also include simulation of various future operation mode scenarios, if needed.
With state-of-art technology during the refurbishment it is often possible to increase the efficiency of existing hydro turbines about 2 % to 4 % of and the existing hydro generators about 0.5 % to 1 %. This means that with the same amount of water discharge through the turbine totally about 3 % to 5 % more electric energy can be generated.
In addition, it is quite a common practice to use environmentally friendly solutions in refurbishment of the hydro turbines even though they are more expensive than traditional solutions. By using clean water instead of oil in the power regulation systems, the amount of oil is significantly decreased and practically all oil leakages through turbine to the river can be prevented.
Figure 5. Life cycle improvement potentials for 800 MWe CCGT plant.
Figure 6. Schematic flowchart for lifetime estimation of hydro generators.
Figure 7. Load factor benchmarking.
Nuclear Power Plants
Nuclear power plays an important role in climate- benign energy production as it does not cause any greenhouse gas emissions. With the electricity produced in Finland at the Loviisa nuclear power plant, annually 6 million tons of CO2 emissions is avoided but operating a nuclear power plant requires special technology know-how and detailed safety specifications and monitoring.
Figure 8. Concept elements.
Figure 9. Process structure and requirements.
A very important ongoing project is the automation systems modification of Loviisa nuclear power plant - the system will be gradually migrated from analogue to digital. The Loviisa Automation Renewal (LARA) project was launched in the beginning of 2005, and it has four phases during about 10 years. The migration process and also training of plant personnel are widely supported by the Apros process simulator (www. apros.fi).
The track records of Loviisa nuclear power plant have been commonly good. The load factor history and benchmarking is presented in figure 8.
Summary for Power Plant Cases
The actual power and heat production capacity is long aging (30–70 years). The production units have mainly been big and centralized and the impacts to environment (to nature and society) have been significant.
High level environmental and safety cultures are more and more important for common business acceptability and it is necessary to make major modifications to actual power plants for example because of tightened environmental regulations. Occupational health, safety and well being, and on the other hand continuous learning and networking in connection with organizational changes are highly focused in the energy industry. The new, more de-centralized energy production systems will also introduce new management needs and continuous concept development is needed.
How to secure that the above-mentioned principles and targets will be applied in daily power plant operations? The TOPGen® (TOP=Totally Optimized Performance, Generation) concept has been developed for the power plant management, operation and maintenance, and it is based on long development and experiences from various types of power plants.
The concept emphasizes three-dimensional focus:
- People (principles of leadership, personnel recruitment, training, multi-skilling, development)
- O&M technology (IT infrastructure, MMS, systems for optimization, understanding of production processes, condition management, forecasting)
- Organizing (organization, processes, co-operation/ supplier networks)
The elements and structures of this concept are presented in Figure 8 and 9.
The objectives of general concept requirements are:
- to ensure predictable operational performance in terms of health and safety, power plant availability, fuel efficiency and asset integrity
- to ensure that requirements of customers and other stakeholders are fulfilled
- to ensure the motivation, well being and involvement of people in organization.
The focus of general concept requirements is on structured operating processes that are documented in plant specific Site Management System (SMS), which is the basis of how the operations are managed and all works performed.
The SMS is reviewed periodically through internal assessments and management reviews and the compliance with TOPGen® requirements is verified and potential improvements are identified by a Continuous Performance Improvement Process (cPIP®), which also assesses the EHS (Environment, Health and Safety) processes.
»»References 1. V . Kokko, “Experiences on U sing Ageing Models in L ifetime Estimation of Hydroelectric Generators”, Renewable Energy Conference, Cologne Germany, June 2012
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