Aberthaw Materials Handling automation upgrade
21 Mar 2009
Aberthaw Power Station, located in South Wales, is a 1500MW coal-fired power station and owned and operated by RWE npower, part of the RWE Group. Coal is delivered to the site by rail where it is received, stored and delivered to the generating plant by means of the Materials Handling process plant. The plant consists of a series of rail unloading silos, conveyor systems, storage and a reclaimer plant and ensures that the right quantity and type of coal is delivered to each of the boilers according to the power station's needs. The process of handling the coal is a vital part of the power station process, and without efficient and reliable materials handling, the power plant cannot function. Subsequently, the reliable function of the control system is crucial.
After many years service, the current control system used on the Materials Handling plant has come to the end of its useful life, becoming increasingly difficult to maintain and consequently not providing the level of automation and flexibility required in today's demanding commercial environment. RWE npower have thus decided to replace the control system with a new, modern and flexible system to ensure continued delivery of fuel to the power plant for years to come. Capula were recently awarded the contract to completely replace and upgrade the system for completion by the end of the year.
A key aspect of this project is to replace the current operator's control desk and equipment with a modern and ergonomically designed control environment. The control room will receive a new desk and will be completely refurbished, while the new control system (incorporating new computer display and CCTV screens) will provide increased automation, thereby increasing efficiency and allowing greater flexibility of the operation of the plant.
Another key requirement of the project is to remove existing systems and install the new one whilst minimising any disruption to the production of the plant. Given the constraints of the equipment, this will require careful planning and orchestration to achieve this aim.
The new system will also provide fuel-tracking facilities, which will enable more accurate accountancy of the fuel stocks and will enable RWE to better control the combustion process and minimise emissions in line with Government guidelines.
“Capula have an extensive track record for providing similar materials handling systems on power plants around the UK,” said Chief Executive Roger Turner, “And our expertise has also been used at Aberthaw recently on the replacement of the control and instrumentation systems on two of the generating units at Aberthaw.
“Capula are very pleased to have been awarded this additional contract which ably demonstrates our commitment to the power generation industry.”
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