Study shows that digital bus technologies can reduce costs to build an $840 million greenfield 600-megawatt pulverized coal-fired supercritical power plant
PITTSBURGH- Integrating digital bus technology into the design of new coal-fired power plants can result in total project cost reduction of as much as $20 million for a 600-megawatt coal-fired plant according to a plant construction study.
Emerson, who commissioned the independent study, explained the purpose and chosen study methodology. "PlantWeb®, Emerson's digital plant architecture, has been
installed in other industries around the world and has proven to save 30 percent or more in installed automation costs," said Ann Pauley, president of the Power & Water Solutions industry center of Emerson Process Management. "We were confident that the digital approach would deliver superior automation and major cost reductions for construction of coal-fired power plants. We determined that contracting a rigorous, quantified third-party study based on engineering and construction practices was a viable, unbiased method of demonstrating the possibilities."
"The Economic Impact of Digital Bus Technology on New Plant Construction," conducted by JDI Contracts Inc., identified and compared five categories of costs: engineering, construction, startup, system selection and overheads. These costs were applied to two different approaches - traditional and digital bus-based - to instrumentation & control (I&C) system implementation for an $840 million greenfield 600-megawatt pulverized coal-fired supercritical power plant.
According to the study, utilization of digital I/O bus technology can slash up to $20 million - or 2.35 percent - off the entire project budget. "This study details a methodology that gives stakeholders in the utility industry the best of both worlds: the ability to save millions of dollars in construction costs while also delivering a highly automated plant featuring state-of-the-art I&C systems," said Roger Hoyum, author of the study.
The traditional approach used an Engineer-Procure-Construct (EPC) model and selected an I&C system through an evaluated bid process. The installation utilized dedicated field cables to hardwire non-intelligent field devices to I/O cards. The digital bus approach, which used an alternative selection process - PEpC (Procure strategic suppliers, Engineer, procure balance of plant and Construct) - featured an integrated system of high-speed communications networks, intelligent field devices and bus I/O technologies. The digital bus approach also used traditional I/O for certain high-speed and safety-related loops.
Defining the Study
The plant and remote buildings were physically defined by plan, elevation and several general arrangement (GA) drawings. Researchers estimated the engineering time for typical design tasks for both approaches. The plant was logically defined by an existing plant specification with roughly 5,200 hard and 4,250 soft I/O partitioned into typical power plant system designations. Appropriate systems were placed on GA drawings to complete the physical plant definition.
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