Emerson’s Ovation control system selected at UK power station

Aug. 30, 2007

Pittsburgh,  August 29 — Emerson Process Management has announced  that Fawley Power Station Unit 3 is standardizing on the company’s Ovation expert control system as it upgrades plant operations in several key areas. Under separate contracts, Emerson’s Power & Water Solutions industry center is replacing existing turbine and burner management system controls at Fawley Unit 3 with its Ovation system. The contracts were awarded by RWE npower, the UK’s largest electricity supplier with approximately 6.8 million customers.

When the modernization is complete, Fawley Unit 3, located in Hampshire on the shore of Southampton Water, will feature an integrated control system architecture based on Ovation technology that translates into coordinated unit boiler and turbine control. In the power generation industry, coordinated control has been proven to improve unit stability, responsiveness and thermal efficiencies; enable tighter overall control of plant operations; and provide a concise view of key plant and turbine parameters.

Built nearly 40 years ago, Fawley Power Station was originally comprised of four 500-MW oil-fired units. Today, it operates as a two unit, 1,000-MW (2X500-MW) peaking plant that plays an important role in meeting the area’s electricity needs.

As part of its unit-wide adoption of Ovation technology, Emerson is modernizing controls for the unit’s SIL2-rated burner management system, as well as replacing existing Rolls Royce EHG (Electro-Hydraulic Governor) turbine controls and related hydraulic equipment. Emerson's ability to meet a very challenging schedule – just 20 weeks from contract award to commissioning – was an important factor in RWE npower’s selection of Emerson for this particular project.

The burner management system and turbine upgrade projects are expected to be completed in September 2007.

Operators at the Fawley Power Station are already familiar with Emerson control technology. Unit 1 currently uses Emerson’s previous-generation WDPF distributed control system. Since 1993, Fawley Unit 3 also used the WDPF distributed control system for boiler control and balance of plant processes. In April 2006, Emerson completed a WDPF-to-Ovation control system migration for Unit 3 that allowed RWE npower to preserve its previous investments in WDPF I/O cards and cabling while also enabling them to take advantage of the enhanced functionality of the Ovation control system.

To further enhance operations, in March 2007 Emerson completed an alarm management study for Unit 3. Emerson’s analysis identified areas for improvement that would reduce the proliferation of unnecessary alarms, consequently translating into reduced downtime and increased productivity for plant operators.

RWE npower has also awarded Emerson a contract to provide a high-fidelity simulator using virtual controller technology. Virtual controllers, which reside on a PC platform, mirror the actual Ovation controllers that comprise the plant control system. Because up to five virtual controllers can reside in one PC, virtual controller technology provides opportunities for achieving higher levels of affordability and scalability with a significantly reduced footprint.

At Fawley Unit 3, Emerson’s simulation solution will serve as a training tool – both for the ongoing education of existing employees as well as for qualifying new employees for safe and efficient plant operation. This training capability is becoming even more important to power generators like RWE npower, which are preparing for the expected retirement of experienced operators over the next few years.