Power plant products - March 20147 March 2014
Review of new technologies and applications in the power market.
With the Sicam SGU, Siemens' Smart Grid division has launched a communications-capable field device on the market. The unit can be used to connect distributed energy resources to a grid control or energy management system by means of standard communications technology. Used as an input/output unit, Sicam SGU allows power companies and public utilities to control and monitor decentralised power generation facilities and power consumers via the smart grid remote terminal unit. In particular, it can be used for bundling decentralised energy sources into a virtual power plant, for demand-response applications, and for setting up micro-grids.
To meet balancing challenges, a system requires communications-capable I/O units to control and monitor the field level. To communicate with a control system such as Spectrum Power or the Siemens DEMS energy management system, the field device uses an integrated mobile communications module or an Ethernet connection. Decentralised power generation facilities or power consumers can then be controlled via the device's six I/O ports.
The integrated GPRS mobile communications card is also a cost-effective alternative to a fibre optic connection or a separate external modem. With this card, the Sicam SGU is able to connect distributed, renewable energy sources to control and energy management systems of all types. For example, the remote terminal unit can be used as a decentralised energy resource (DER) controller for virtual power plants in order to communicate with the energy management system.
It is also suited to integrating renewable energy sources in micro-grids. As a remote terminal unit, it enables the implementation of applications for energy flow control or data collection in local and distributed networks. In both cases, the IEC 60870-5-104 communications protocol is used for communication. When the Sicam SGU is utilised as a field device for demand-response management systems, it uses the interoperable, data-protected OpenADR (Automated Demand Response) communications protocol.
Smart metering IT
Siemens is also expanding its smart-grid platform EnergyIP with the addition of application software components for the German smart metering market. This will provide power supply companies with a central IT solution for the administration of smart-meter gateways and for the processing of encrypted and signed energy consumption measurement data. This enables the connection of smart metering systems consisting of a smart-meter gateway and smart basic meters to their central IT system, and meets the requirements for data protection and data security stipulated by the German Federal Office of Information Security (BSI).
The new software has been designed as a multi-client system. This allows the roles of distribution network operator, measurement point operator, and gateway administrator to be implemented in compliance with market rules. The software design already takes into account the expansion of market communication, which is currently being specified by the German Association of Energy and Water Industries (BDEW). This expansion pertains to the exchange of data among all market functions.
The IT solution is based on the existing EnergyIP smart grid platform. New market roles can be flexibly configured in order to provide the potential for future upgrading.
At-a-glance condition monitoring
Monitran, the transducers specialist, has launched its MTN/5000, described as a cost-effective and versatile microcontroller-based condition monitoring system. It can provide a picture of the health of plant and equipment, raise alarms and indicate when further investigation may be warranted. It is intended to be so easy to use that 'you don't need to be a condition monitoring expert to get the system up and running and protecting plant and process assets.'
The monitor can have up to 12 channels (to be specified when ordering) and features a 3.5 inch TFT touchscreen and an easy-to-navigate menu. The user is able to set data sampling rates (up to 1million/second), input ranges and resolution and alarm levels, on a channel-by-channel basis or across all channels.
The system is designed to work with Monitran's accelerometers and velocity sensors but it can also accommodate most other sensor types including those for measuring temperature, pressure, displacement and proximity. It can also accept a voltage or current as input, and raw signals are made available at BNCs on the front panel.
As standard the MTN/5000 has 12 digital I/O channels which can be used for multiple alarms or as a communication channel for integration with other systems. Also, as an optional extra, the system can be fitted with Modbus TCP/IP, for networking purposes or to enable multiple MTN/5000s to operate together within a larger monitoring or control system.
The system requires an input voltage of 24V DC and the enclosure dimensions, including glands, are 372 x 250 x 200mm.
Containerised step-up transformer
In response to rapid growth in the international power rental market, Crestchic, a specialist in loadbank manufacturing and testing solutions, has launched a new range of step-up transformers that includes what it says is the largest transformer in a 20 ft container available on the market today - a series of multi-tap transformers ranging from 2000 to 8000 kVA, with voltage ratings 600V/34.6 kV.
A recent report ('Global Power Rental Market 2012-2016', by Technavio) forecasts the industry to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 17% over that period, one of the key factors being the increasing demand for electricity.
To accommodate the new product range a dedicated production area with new lifting equipment and storage has been created at the company's Burton-on-Trent manufacturing facility.
In addition to supplying to the international power rental sector, Crestchic will be supplying to its parent company's transformer rental business, Northbridge Transformers. The company manufacturers a range of containerised step-up/step-down transformers from 2.5 - 4.0 MVA in 10 ft standard ISO containers and sizes up to
8.0 MVA in 20 ft standard ISO containers.