Project Description

Background

Our client is a major UK utility company, supplying water services to nine million customers and wastewater services to 14 million customers.
The site is a large, modern water treatment facility, extracting 500 million litres of water per day from the company’s reservoir network and supplying it to customers in a major conurbation.

Overview
As part of a wider effort to reduce costs, improve energy efficiency and enhance the resilience of its operations, our client wanted to increase the flexibility and responsiveness of its on-site operations. Specifically, they wanted a system that would enable it to automatically manage daily energy demand, effectively reduce energy consumption during high-cost TRIAD1 periods, and maintain normal site operations in times of wider energy disruption. All without impacting on the reliability of clean water provision to its customers.
The planned upgrade activities and investment in new assets at the site was part of the client’s strategy to improve business efficiency through the application of advanced Instrumentation, Control and Automation (ICA) solutions to a number of its critical assets.

Need
Our client was looking for a state of the art control and automation environment to manage newly installed on-site power generation equipment, along with existing assets across the facility.
The control system needed to balance complex operational and commercial requirements: improving overall energy efficiency, exporting excess energy to the grid when available, and reducing the need to import power in periods when demand, and prices, are at their highest.
To minimise operating costs and optimise the performance of its operations, the company also wanted to move to a fully automated system.

How we helped
The strength of our capabilities in this ICA arena enabled Capula to secure this new programme of work to deliver a turnkey ICA focused Power Management System directly interfacing to the new on site generators and existing switchgear. Using the latest PLC and SCADA solutions, Capula provided monitoring, control and safety functionality via a newly designed fault interlocking panel. The scope of the project also included a number of additional development activities ranging from breaker control and monitoring to generator testing.
The new solution provides our client with the ability to plan and automatically control energy demand and consumption, allowing for a rapid, but well-managed response to high-cost TRIAD1 /NGR (National Grid Reserve) periods. It ensures energy consumption is effectively managed without impairing its ability to deliver essential services that customers rely on.

A key feature of the new system is its ability to continue site operations in the event of a site-wide power disruption. In addition, load scheduling capabilities enable the system to automatically balance the energy load to ensure critical components continue to function when power availability is limited. Given the criticality of this system to the company’s business operations, we designed and installed a new 7m-wide hardwired control display unit. This panel serves as a disaster recovery system in the event of a system failure, while also providing operators with a unified view of the complete control system.

Capula’s experience of delivering similar systems at other client sites allowed our engineering team to execute the project with a detailed knowledge of the system, control requirements and operating parameters. By building on a control and testing library we had developed and proved on other projects, our engineers were able develop, implement and test the overall system in a few months rather than years, using tried and tested logic to reduce system test time. These efficiencies greatly improved the project payback time, allowing our client to take ownership of the system quickly, and immediately begin to realise the associated energy cost savings, new revenue streams and other operational benefits.

Business Benefits

  • Cost benefits: reduces energy during high cost periods
  • Additional revenue: allows the sale of surplus energy to the grid operator
  • Secure: essential operations run efficiently without impact on output, even during TRIAD1 periods
  • Fully integrated diagnostics: results in reduced downtime
References

1 TRIAD: http:// nationalgridconnecting.com/ triads-why-three-is-the-magic-number/

2 Load shedding: In case of overload, automatic load shedding stabilises the power supply of large-scale industrial plants through the prioritized disconnection of consumers, thereby ensuring that core processes remain under power in critical situations and expensive downtimes are avoided.

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