Far away, so close
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Far away, so close
Remote Diagnostic Services (RDS) from Siemens can help keep power plants around the world up and running. Drawing on massive amounts of data obtained from some 100,000 measurements every day, RDS analyze the operational behavior of plants to prevent and fix problems, ensure an outstanding degree of reliability, and optimize operation and maintenance. The Siemens experts at the Power Diagnostics Centers in Muelheim (Germany) and Orlando (USA) monitor about 600 gas turbine and steam turbine units on the basis of RDS-generated data – among them Tahaddart power station in Morocco, the first power plant in Africa to receive an ISO 14001 environmental certification.
The 384 MW power station in Tahaddart, situated 30 km south of Tangier on the Atlantic coast, is Morocco’s first combined cycle power plant. Siemens delivered the plant in 2005 and is also responsible for the operation and maintenance of the power plant, which is owned by Energy Electric of Tahaddart (EET). Since its inauguration in 2005, Tahaddart has relied on Siemens’ Remote Diagnostic Services to optimize the reliability and availability of the power plant.
“The reliability of the power plant is key for us,” says Jose Luis Pastor, CEO of EET. “We’re providing an average of, say, 10 percent of the Moroccan power demand, so we cannot afford unplanned outages. We need to be reliable, we need to be flexible, we need to be quick on reactions to the needs of the country. We are running at a service factor of 100 percent and have achieved a reliability of 99.9 percent during the last operating year – ten hours unplanned shutdown and seven days planned shutdown. This puts us on the top of the world table for base load plants,” Pastor continues.
“The main job for us here is to ensure the plant is maintained in service without unplanned trips,” explains Glen Fallon, CEO of Siemens Plant Operations Tahaddart. “RDS helps us by making sure the plant is fully in service and avoiding outages. RDS continuously monitors the Tahaddart plant in the background. Our operators in Muelheim are able to see even the smallest deviations in instrumentation – deviations that are actually not visual to the operator. This means that they can detect deviations in instrumentation, which we can then later calibrate and check on-site.”
“To know what’s going on inside a turbine, you need to go in – in this case virtually,” says Stefan Pernau, Group Leader Power Diagnostic Services in his Muelheim office. “Here we can see things our colleagues at the plant cannot see. Having this insight we can advise the plant operators on how to adjust or fix an operational problem. Our job is to support the operators. We look at the data, see how values have developed over time, and we can then decide whether changes are critical or not. We don’t decide spontaneously, we can have a look at the history and at operating records of other, similar plants – it is, in effect, the accumulated wisdom of Siemens,” he points out.
In most cases, changes and trends are quite subtle, so operators on-site may not even notice them. An increase in temperature of only 0.1 oC every day for ten days straight, for instance, or a switch turning on milliseconds late. Pernau and his team assess whether such occurrences are insignificant, random fluctuations, or herald something serious. Whenever the latter is the case, the Power Diagnostic Services experts usually order up even more data from the on-site recorder and discuss the matter with on-site operators and colleagues throughout the Siemens network. “Our aim is to be proactive rather than reactive. We want to intervene before some seemingly negligible fault turns into something bigger.”
A main focus of the Power Diagnostic Services team is on performance. Today’s highly sophisticated turbines leave very little margin for variance, and every little change can have massive consequences – a reduced power output, for instance, which in turn means a loss of revenue for the plant owner. So if there is anything unusual that could entail any operational risk, members of the Power Diagnostic Services team take action. “We had two such events recently at Tahaddart,” says Pernau. “Our analysis had shown that two sensors weren’t working properly during a planned shutdown, and we informed Glen. He could check and recalibrate the sensors, and everything was in perfect condition again at the next startup.” “This avoids a potential incident in the future which is our main aim with RDS: to achieve our maximum reliability for this power plant,” adds Glen Fallon.
“It's very good to know that such a huge organization with such great experience as Siemens is backing us using RDS,” says EET CEO Pastor. “I can rely quite a lot on Glen, I can rely quite a lot on all the staff that he has working for him. It makes my life easier, and I do believe that it makes the life of Morocco as a country easier as well,” he concludes.
A view of the city of Tangier, Morocco
Tahaddart power station is Morocco’s first combined cycle power plant
The Siemens Power Diagnostics Center in Muelheim, Germany, continuously supports the operating staff at Tahaddart power station
Siemens Power Diagnostics experts in Muelheim analyze measurements recorded on-site in Tahaddart
Siemens Remote Diagnostic Services help the on-site operating staff to intervene before a small error turns into a bigger problem
Nighttime illumination in Tangier: Morocco’s power demand keeps rising
Remote Diagnostic Services help on-site staff keep the power plant fully operational
A view in the turbine hall of Tahaddart power station
Tahaddart power station reliably provides an important portion of Morocco’s power demand
Siemens delivered Tahaddart power station in 2005 and is also responsible for the operation and maintenance of the plant
IT for sustainability - the common Remote Service Platform
Siemens is a leading service partner for industrial and large-scale power plants worldwide. A broad spectrum of innovative products and services ensures plant reliability, improved efficiency, and optimal environmental performance of power plants in the utility, oil and gas, industrial processing, and power generation industries, helping customers to gain maximum benefit from their investments.
Operators expect a reliably high output from their plants, and Siemens can help cut downtimes to a minimum. With Remote Diagnostic Services, the Siemens experts can help optimize a plant’s operational behavior and even identify faults before they become failures. More than 600 gas turbine and steam turbine units are already connected to the Siemens Power Diagnostics centers in Muelheim (Germany) and Orlando (US).
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