Fresh air with Brexit @ProcessingTalk

Having been a silent voter during the run up to the referendum, and appalled by the rubbish pedalled by the Politicians on both sides, I was delighted to discover that despite my reservations about leaving the EU, a small majority of the voting population also agreed that the positive aspects of a Brexit outweighed some inevitable early problems.

Why is there so much worry over the UK from my overseas friends and relations? The UK is one of the original trading nations, dating back to the C15th. The world is now a much smaller place, and all nations seek to trade worldwide. No countries or group of countries put up trading barriers (or walls) to stop trade, so business between the EU and the UK across the board will continue. They would lose more business than we would, by ceasing to carry existing business forwards. Plus all the recent growth in UK exports has come from trade with non-EU countries.

Forty years ago, the Politicians suggested joining the Common market would be great, citing cheap wine etc. Just another bad promise I’m afraid. Plus we joined the Common Market, not the EU, a Federation of States whose unelected bosses dictate that cucumbers and bananas shall be straight, and set the minimum size of strawberries to exclude the better English (and Scottish) ones. My niece asked where I would get my supplies of wine – so I mentioned that we drink only Australian and NZ wine, the wine sold expensively in the UK from France is actually the cheap stuff they would not drink themselves, and presumably normally turn into vinegar.

The French describe the British as a nation of shopkeepers. It is true, but I say we are a nation of independent-minded traders, sometimes also called entrepreneurs.

What about Automation

In the UK, there will be a slowdown of investment, and this will hit what little domestic spend there was on process automation. It is in the food industry where automation is needed most, and the suppliers there are surely used to an unwillingness to invest. Other sensors go into machinery that is exported, and some of that will suffer with a turndown in EU trade. The oil industry is not really investing at the moment, but the lower GBP/USD rate might make our oil industry, with its experience, and our costs more competitive in overseas contracts.

Siemens, who were publicly very much against a Brexit, has announced it will put on hold any further investment in its wind turbine manufacturing plant in Hull, where it has just set up a new factory employing 1000 people, at a cost of GBP310m. Hull voted by one of the largest majorities FOR Brexit. Dong Energy, the biggest investor in UK wind power, said “we don’t believe that UK energy policy is dependent on EU membership”. Maybe the UK can impose a trade barrier that stops Areva sending their reactor to Hinkley Point: already a UK Government advisor has suggested the GBP18Bn investment by EDF would be cancelled by the French. Maybe then we could go for a sensible UK/US solution?

From an editor’s point of view, press releases about major onshore automation investment projects in the EU, by British suppliers, have been very thin on the ground for several years. So what is at risk with a Brexit anyway? For the big multinationals, they deal with these contracts through their local subsidiaries, wherever the work or engineering is carried out. Most project descriptions these days mention interlinked CAD systems using resources from 5 or 6 design centres all around the world, and the work flows electronically through country borders. From India to Aberdeen, Houston, Madrid, Romania, Italy, UK and Egypt. So what will change? The Brexit might subtly boost the likelihood of investment projects in Eire, rather than the UK, which would be good news for Ireland.

Changes to expect

Probably the people feeling the pinch most will be the City Traders and the Banks. The pound will settle to a lower level, enabling us to recover faster, and then it will climb back when compared to the Euro, if not the Dollar. Whether there will be any further effects on the EU, I cannot predict. There is very little likelihood of Scotland or Northern Ireland breaking away from the UK and joining the EU separately (but the last time I said something similar to this, it was to say that “clamp-on ultrasonic flowmeters would never be able to measure steam or gas flow” – judge for yourself).

What I would like to see is an end to the extreme contrast between the lowest and the highest salaries in the UK, possibly starting by eliminating those highly paid banking jobs. Already HSBC is relocating their Euro currency trading operation to Paris. Maybe this will put a lid on the property prices in London, and overseas billionaires will sell their empty apartments. At least we will now stop paying high salaries and higher travel expenses to the ineffectively employed UK MEPs (Members of the European Parliament)!

For another viewpoint….

For a different viewpoint, see Eoin O’Riain’s post on his Read-out.net Instrumentation Signpost blog: https://instrumentsignpost.wordpress.com/2016/06/30/nobody-knows-brexit-pauto-tandm/

Nick Denbow

http://www.Processingtalk.info

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New ABB inverter boosts solar performance

The new ABB PVS980 central inverter – an essential component in every solar installation that converts direct current (DC) produced in solar panels into alternating current (AC) for use by electricity grids – allows the amount of incoming solar power connected to a single inverter to be increased by as much as 40%: a dramatic improvement that completely changes the economics of a solar installation. Thanks to its increased power, the PVS980 inverter also means a site needs 30% fewer inverters than previously.

The PVS980 high power 1500 VDC central inverter is capable of processing more incoming DC power from photovoltaic (PV) panels through one inverter, reducing the total number of inverters needed on-site, which helps reduce overall costs across the lifetime of a solar plant. Central inverters are used for applications such as large field installations as well as large arrays installed on buildings and industrial facilities. Originally introduced at the Intersolar exhibition as a concept last year, the PVS980 is now shipping commercially and has already seen strong interest among customers, with a number of pilot projects in place. The new inverter is designed to seamlessly integrate into digital smart grids and operate efficiently, while reducing the carbon footprint of the installation.

ABB engineers have improved the compactness of the device, enabling a power density increase of more than 40% – making it possible to build large power rated inverters in the same physical size. Avoiding external air entering the critical compartments of the inverter, the equipment can operate from below freezing to extreme heat in 100% humidity without jeopardizing functionality. The very wide temperature capability offers full performance without derating at up to 50°C, in a waterproof and dustproof enclosure.

(c) ProcessingTalk.info

648MW solar project in India

ABB has successfully commissioned five substations to integrate a 648 megawatt solar project at Kamuthi in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu to the national transmission grid. The project was awarded by independent power producer the Adani Group in 2015, and completed on schedule. The solar photo-voltaic project – made up of five plants in a single location – is the largest of its kind in the world. 360 MW from the solar project is currently grid-connected and at full capacity this facility will account for nearly 10 percent of the country’s current solar capacity of around seven gigawatts.

Adani’s 648 MW solar power plant

The Adani 648MW solar power plant

The project contributes to India’s vision of achieving 100 GW of solar power by 2022, with the overall aim of diversifying its energy mix to meet growing demand while minimizing environmental impact. As part of this plan, the government has issued a proposal to implement 25 ultra-mega solar power projects with capacities between 500 and 1,000 MW over a period of five years. The government of Tamil Nadu is also pursuing a solar policy which envisages a solar generation capacity addition of 3,000 MW.

“We are proud to support the country’s clean energy vision and push for solar power which demonstrates its commitment to sustainable growth,” said Claudio Facchin, President of the ABB Power Grids division. “This project exemplifies our end-to-end power and automation system integration capabilities and reinforces our commitment to the renewable energy sector, a key component of the ABB ‘Next Level’ strategy.”

The ABB project scope included the design, supply, installation and commissioning related to the solar plant electrification and automation systems. This includes two 230 kilovolt and three 110 kV outdoor switchyards to connect to the local transmission grid and will enable clean power supply for around 150000 households, based on average national per capita consumption.

ABB to strengthen the power infrastructure in Indonesia

ABB is to support the Indonesian state-owned utility Perusahaan Listrik Negara (PLN) to strengthen the reliability and enhance the efficiency of its Java-Bali transmission and distribution networks to meet the growing demand for power in Java, the most populated island on earth.

ABB will design, engineer, supply and install the substation extensions, including switchgear, transformers, state-of-the-art control and protection systems as well as ancillary equipment. The product scope will include 11 units of 60 megavolt-ampere (MVA) transformers, high-voltage air-insulated switchgear for eight substations, high-voltage gas-insulated switchgear for one substation as well as the replacement works and control systems for uprating the transformers in three other substations. Financed by the Asian Development Bank, the $11m project is scheduled to be completed in 2017.

@ProcessingTalk

(c) ProcessingTalk.info

When the wind does not blow….

If you have a large proportion of wind turbines providing the power to the electricity grid, maybe in parallel with solar farms, and the wind suddenly dies down at sunset, when the solar power really subsides, you have a crisis – just as the evening peak energy demand develops. This is despite the fact that through the day the wind blew hard and the sun shone, and there was a surfeit of green energy available.

The answer has to be that you store that daytime energy, and bring it out of the store in the evening. There is much research going on to find more efficient ways of dealing with this “peak shaving” to fill up the troughs in the supply. Back on 18 December 2015 this blog reported on the Yokogawa control system in Northern Ireland that drives a peak shaving system that puts energy into a big (mechanical) fly-wheel! Really ultra-modern technology successfully driving C19 mechanics.

So there is now a US press release that advises that AES Corporation has signed a deal with Eaton Inc, for Eaton to sell the AES Energy Storage technology in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.

So who are ‘AES’ ?

As with any press release, it is difficult to actually understand what is actually available, and what it is based on. The ‘AES’ letters, undefined on their website, seem to relate to a company providing Alternative Energy Systems, wherever they might be profitable, be it coal, oil, gas, bio-fuels or other power generation methods. Their new offering is of the Advancion (sic) Energy Storage platform, which is what Eaton will be selling: “Eaton will supply the energy storage systems, provide support and ensure long-term operation directly to utilities, industrial and commercial customers, independent power producers and power system operators across Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA).”

AES says that ‘Energy storage has become a key factor in helping countries manage both grid stability, as renewable energy sources continue to be integrated into the grid, as well as peak demand, limiting the need to build dedicated peaking power plants and minimizing CO2 emissions. The energy storage market is therefore entering a new growth phase and Navigant Research (www.navigantresearch.com) projects that more than 11GW of energy storage capacity will be installed annually by 2020 in 22 countries.’

Installations in Europe

AES_Netherlands_Advancion_Array_-_Ribbon_Cutting

The Netherlands-based UPS battery storage facility, and staff.

Advancion systems have been installed in two arrays in Europe, located in The Netherlands and in Northern Ireland. These are described in a recent AES.com press release. “Advancion 4, released November 2015, is a complete, battery-based alternative to traditional peaking power plants and pumped hydroelectric storage projects that provides a dependable, smart and cost-competitive means to modernize power systems. It features best-in-class Advancion pre-certified suppliers, including Samsung SDI, who supplied the array with more than 45,000 batteries in its first Advancion deployment. Additional project suppliers and partners include the inverter supplier Parker Hannifin.”  So the Advancion system would appear to be a rather large battery-backed UPS.

The Netherlands facility will provide 10MW of interconnected energy, providing balancing services to the electricity grid in The Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland and Austria via the TenneT system. In addition to the Netherlands array, AES recently completed its Kilroot Advancion Array in Northern Ireland, also providing 10 MW of interconnected energy storage.

AES quotes that it introduced the first grid-scale advanced battery-based energy storage solution in commercial power market service in 2008, presumably in the USA, and claims to operate the largest fleet of battery-based storage assets in service today.

(c) Nick Denbow, Processingtalk.info

@ProcessingTalk

ABB claims increased profits in a challenging 2015

Ulrich Spiesshofer

Ulrich Spiesshofer

There has been very little news of orders, applications or new products from the Process Automation side of ABB over the last six months, basically since the acquisition of the CGM wide screen display business last August. So it was reassuring to read the 2015 full year results, published this month, where CEO Ulrich Speisshofer advises that orders and revenues were steady, on a constant currency basis, in the face of adverse macro-economic and geo-political developments: it was just that the strength of the US Dollar compared to the prior year resulted in a negative translation impact into the final figures, of around 9%.

Because of productivity improvements, and accelerated cost reduction programmes, plus a successful turnaround of the Power Systems business, the operational EBITA margin improved 60 points to 11.8%, and free cash flow generation improved 16% (or 6% in USD) to $3Bn. The strategic review of the Power Grids business is on track for completion in 2016. Through 2015, ABB returned $3.2Bn to shareholders, and now proposes another dividend increase this year, the 7th year running.

Highlights and detail

Speisshofer mentioned particularly the launch of the YuMi collaborative robot, and their targeting on food and beverage markets and Africa as very successful. Declines in orders at Process Automation and Discrete Automation/Motion were offset by growth from Power Systems and Power Products – Process Automation suffered from a marked decrease in the discretionary spending from oil and gas markets in Q4 2015. However one major order received was for monitoring, control and security of the 1850km Trans-Anatolian pipeline, which will bring gas from Azerbaijan to Europe. The strategic review of the Power Grids business is on track for completion in 2016.

Geographically orders grew by 7% in Europe, reflecting steady demand from Germany, and major growth in Sweden and Turkey. While the Americas were steady, China showed a double digit decline, causing a fall in the total Asia plus MEA territory. Large orders (above $15m) grew 10% (down 5% in USD terms) which offset the base order decline of 3% (which was 14% in USD).

…..HVDC links are growing

L_The+Gotland+HR pic smallABB installed the World’s first HVDC power transmission link from Vastervik to Ygne on the island of Gotland, in the Baltic, in 1954. Upgraded through the years, this link now operates at 150kV, and can transmit 320MW of power over 100km under the sea, providing electric power to the 58,000 residents. In December the operator, Vattenfall Eldistribution, awarded ABB a new $22m contract for further enhancements that will enable greater amounts of the wind power now generated on the island to be returned to the mainland: a state-of-the-art MACH control and protection system will be installed to incorporate advanced fault registration and remote control functions. Having pioneered this technology 60 years ago, ABB has supplied 110 similar projects world-wide, with a capacity total of 120,000 MW – this represents around half the global installed capacity for this technology.

See the pdf giving the ABB review of the development of HVDC power technology: http://tinyurl.com/Ptalk-ABB

(c) Nick Denbow 2016

Newsline: NewProcessingTalk@Gmail.com

CCGT power plant in Turkey orders Valmet DNA automation systems

valmet

The Hamitabat Kirklareli CCGT plant

Valmet is delivering their DNA Automation system to control twin CCGT power generation systems at the Hamitabat Elektrik Üretim 1200MW gas-fired plant in the Marmara region of Turkey. The plant is being constructed on a turnkey basis by an EPC, Gama Güç Sistemleri Mühendislik ve Ticaret AS: deputy md Altan Orer explained that they had selected Valmet because of their proven expertise: “We were impressed by Valmet’s strong combined cycle plant references in Turkey and around the world. The company has proven its expertise and excellence in power generation.”

 

The Valmet system also includes plant information and performance monitoring systems which will enable the plant to achieve high process availability, controllability and reliability. The DNA system offers information management and plant performance calculations all on the same integrated platform, which provides the plant operators with major benefits, such as better usability, uniform tools and seamless communication between various functions. Valmet will also supply local technical support for the plant operators.

(c) Nick Denbow, Processingtalk.info

@ProcessingTalk

Further Yokogawa CCGT and Desalination business in Qatar

ras abu fontas

The QEWC Ras Abu Fontas plant

A press release this week from Yokogawa announces that the Yokogawa South Korean engineering operation has won another major contract from Samsung C&T for Centum VP control and ProSafe-RS safety systems for a 2.4GW Combined Cycle gas turbine power and desalination plant. The plant is to be built in Qatar, using local natural gas as the fuel, and will make up an important part of the future Qatari infra-structure: it will be located 20km south of Doha. It will be operated by Umm Al Houl Power, a joint venture consortium which includes Mitsubishi/Tokyo Electric Power and Qatar Petroleum, the Qatar Foundation, and the Qatar Electricity and Water Company (QEWC).

Another order from Acciona Agua covers the supply of an associated Yokogawa Centum VP control system for a reverse osmosis water desalination plant to be created as a part of the power plant. Separately, Yokogawa received an order placed by Hitachi Zosen Corporation for a Centum VP control system on a further multi-stage flash desalination plant. Combined, the two desalination plants will produce 590,000 cubic meters of water per day.

Yokogawa will be responsible for the engineering of these interlinked systems, which will be able to monitor and control the operations of all three plants: plus they will provide support for installation and commissioning.

Yokogawa Experience

Yokogawa in South Korea has developed extensive expertise in working alongside Korean and Japanese power plant contractors, and claims a solid global track record in executing large CCGT projects, based on over 100 systems for combined cycle power plants. This capability was demonstrated in Qatar on a previous desalination plant for QEWC, known as the Ras Abu Fontas A2 project, and previous CCGT projects alongside Samsung C&T have included a 2.1GW plant at Rabigh on Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea coast.

Yokogawa anticipates major growth in demand for CCGT plants worldwide, particularly where there is access to local supplies of natural gas. However, some recent projects have been more unconventional, with a recent installation in Ireland using a high speed controller to manage a fly-wheel energy storage system for smoothing the output power from wind farms! Another project in Cornwall, UK, will use Centum VP and ProSafe-RS to control the boilers and auxiliary systems on a waste to energy plant, their fourth such installation in the UK.

(c) Nick Denbow:  www.ProcessingTalk.info

@Processingtalk