General Electric (GE) has been tasked with improving efficiency at power plants for Japanese electric power company, Tepco, using the Internet of Things (IoT).
The two companies signed a memorandum of understanding agreement to jointly develop and introduce Industrial IoT solutions throughout Tepco’s thermal power plant fleet.
GE will begin to install its Asset Performance Management (APM) software in the LNG-fuelled Futtsu Power Station in 2017. This is Tepco’s third-largest, natural gas-fuelled power plant, located in Chiba Prefecture.
According to GE’s website, APM connects disparate data sources and uses advanced analytics to turn that data into actionable insights. If successful, there are plans to introduce the system at other Tepco-owned sites.
Connected power plants
According to reports in Nikkei Asian Review, GE will use sensors attached to gas turbines and generators to collect data from the power plants. The data will then be analysed in the cloud to provide real-time updates on the use of gas within the plant.
The hope is that, by constantly monitoring operations at the plant, GE will ensure the efficient use of gas and will spot any problems early on. This should reduce the number of inspections at the plant and, ultimately, costs.
“As we look at the future energy needs of our customers, we must invest in the latest digital solutions that can help us increase the productivity, efficiency and reliability of our existing power plants,” said Toshihiro Sano, president of Tepco Fuel & Power, Inc.
“We look forward to developing a new business strategy with GE by harnessing IIoT technologies that will create new customer value at our domestic and overseas thermal power plants and deliver improved reliability for our customers through improved plant economics.”
General Electric and IoT
“GE is honored to collaborate with Tepco to deploy our advanced digital solutions to increase the reliability and performance of its thermal power plants and enhance Japan’s energy supply,” said Steve Bolze, president and CEO of GE Power.
“The Futtsu station installation is our first advanced digital power plant project in Japan and demonstrates the numerous operational benefits that utilities can achieve by investing in the industry’s latest software solutions.”
In the last year, GE has launched digital power plant systems for gas and coal plants. In new plants, GE says its technologies have increased the average conversion efficiency from 33 percent to 49 percent.
The company has also made inroads in Europe. GE’s ‘Digital Foundry’ is based in Paris, France, and is the first of a range of new digital centres the firm is opening this year.