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Wireless technology improves efficiency of biomass power plant

02 April 2013

Smart Wireless transmitters have provided increased visibility into the process, support predictive maintenance and provide tank overspill protection at a biomass power plant in Italy, owned by Enomondo S.r.l.

Enomondo – a partnership between Caviro Distillerie and Herambiente – is using wireless measurement devices, supplied by Emerson Process Manangement, to monitor a complex fuel pre-treatment operation, an incineration process, and a new boiler at the plant. Wireless technology enabled additional measurement devices to be installed quickly and easily, helping to optimise control of the process and contributing to an estimated 5% increase in overall operational efficiency. The availability of diagnostic data also improved predictive maintenance procedures.

The 13.7 MW power generation plant is located at the Caviro Distillerie wine and denatured alcohol plant. It uses 140,000 metric tonnes per year of by-products from the alcohol production process to produce power for 29,000 neighbouring households. This use of alternative fuels helps to reduce Italy’s power generation CO2 emissions by 35,500 tonnes a year.

To increase the efficiency and capacity of the plant, Enomondo installed a new boiler, which created the need for new instrumentation for monitoring temperature and pressure. In addition, the existing fuel pre-treatment process, which ensures nitrogen oxide emissions are less than half the levels set by Italy’s Integrated Environmental Authorisation, involves numerous variables that are not easily controlled and would benefit from additional measurement points.

To meet these needs Enomondo chose Emerson’s Smart Wireless technology, which offered simpler installation and lower overall costs than traditional wired solutions. Twenty-two Smart Wireless transmitters, including Rosemount 3051S pressure and 648 temperature transmitters, transmit measurement data via a wireless gateway into the existing Emerson DeltaV digital automation system, giving operators greater visibility into the process so that they can make adjustments to increase efficiency.

As a result, Enomondo has been able to increase operational efficiency and improve output. Installation, maintenance and operating costs have also been reduced. Installation was very easy and required no external engineering capability. Because the wireless instruments required no cabling or cable ducts, infrastructure costs were around 30% lower than a wired alternative. Layout and wiring costs were halved, and installation and instrumentation control costs reduced by 40%.

Using the existing DeltaV system and AMS Suite predictive maintenance software to receive, store and analyse device data, Enomondo has been able to use the wireless system to meet its predictive maintenance requirements. The additional continuous data made available by the wireless network enables personnel to identify performance degradation trends that signify potential problems, then use this information for better maintenance scheduling that helps optimise operator efficiency.

"The modularity of Emerson’s Smart Wireless technology, the ease and reduced cost of implementation compared to wired devices, and its reliability once installed have encouraged us to expand its use into other applications," said Alessandro Catani, Enomondo plant and energy manager. "For example, temperatures in some of the air-conditioning systems at the plant were prone to overheating. By installing Rosemount wireless temperature transmitters on a temporary basis, it was possible to obtain the data we needed to identify potential problems and correct them."

Twenty-six Rosemount inventory tank gauges with Smart Wireless THUM Adapters have also been installed at the Caviro Distillerie production facility to continuously monitor levels and increase safety by preventing overspills within the alcohol storage tank farm.


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