Monitoring Water Use at a Power Station

I just blogged about water use at a electric power plant.  I mentioned the article to OSIsoft’s Martin Otterson, and he pointed me to a solution for measuring water use at power plant.

Pin-pointing water usage

April 2009

Emerson’s Smart Wireless technology is helping E.ON UK to accurately monitor and measure treated water usage, thus allowing trending and analysis to formulate target values at its Kingsnorth dual-fired power station. Using Emerson’s Rosemount wireless transmitters, E.ON is now able to collect flow measurement data from new flowmeters installed throughout the turbine hall. The self-organising wireless network delivers the data for trending in an OSIsoft PI historian which helps personnel monitor water usage within the system.

Solution evaluation
E.ON Kingsnorth, a 1940 MW generating facility located on the Medway Estuary in Kent needed a solution to monitor and measure water usage within its main plant. They decided to install new non-intrusive ultrasonic flowmeters to carry out this task. The high cost of wiring associated with a conventional cabled solution and a desire to embrace the very latest networking technology led E.ON to evaluate wireless technologies that could meet their needs.
“E.ON is keen to adopt the very latest technology to help improve productivity, efficiency and availability, and wireless technology provides the ideal networking solution to access the flow measurement data from the turbine building without having to install new cabling," said Chet Mistry, team leader, E.ON UK.

Emerson’s wireless transmitters provide access to flow readings from non-intrusive ultrasonic flowmeters

Emerson’s wireless transmitters provide access to flow readings from non-intrusive ultrasonic flowmeters

Having initially undertaken extensive trials of Emerson’s Smart Wireless technology, E.ON selected the Emerson solution because it offered high levels of reliability and long transmitting distance, as well as the ability to add additional devices to the network without the need for additional infrastructure.

The water data is integrated into OSIsoft’s PI system.

System architecture and operation
Fourteen Rosemount wireless transmitters have been installed to provide access to flow percentage readings from the new non-intrusive ultrasonic flowmeters monitoring different sections of the turbine hall. The Rosemount wireless transmitters are transmitting flow measurement data every 15 seconds to an Emerson Smart Wireless gateway, situated in the main administration building on the other side of the road from the turbine hall.

Using Ethernet, the data is sent from the gateway to Emerson’s AMS Suite predictive maintenance software, which manages the wireless transmitters and uses its OPC server to import the flow data into the PI data historian. From here operators view trends and pinpoint where any loss of flow takes place.

Think about a system like this for your data center.  If you think it is difficult to get a wireless monitoring system running in a data center, imagine the issues in a power plant.

Difficult RF environment
The turbine hall at Kingsnorth is around 500 m long and presents a difficult working environment for wireless as it houses large turbines, vast amounts of metal piping and a number of metal walkways that could interfere with the wireless signal. Such an environment would not be suitable for a line-of-sight wireless solution, but Emerson’s Smart Wireless self-organising technology encountered no problems in terms of routing data back to the gateway or reliability of connection.