WattBridge: Modeling for successful proactive remote monitoring and diagnostics – Combined Cycle Journal

WattBridge: Modeling for successful proactive remote monitoring and diagnostics

H O Clarke, Topaz, and Braes Bayou

Owned by WattBridge
Operated by ProEnergy
1248 MW (Clark and Braes Bayou each have eight 48-MW LM6000PC engines; Topaz, ten 48-MW LM6000PC machines). All are gas-fired peaking units located in the Houston area
Plant manager: Kevin Chaffin

Challenge. By their nature, peaking units must have high availability. As a result, O&M teams are challenged to maintain LM6000 units based on broad life-limit calendars, scheduled inspections, and experienced intuition. They are blind to the actual condition of equipment between inspections and must operate reactively to alarms. This approach risks reliability and availability during peak load times, as even a few hours downtime at the wrong point in a season can wreak havoc on plant economics for the year.

Solution. Create proactive remote monitoring and diagnostics (RM&D) models to detect incremental changes in equipment operation not identifiable with standard monitoring techniques. When identified, these changes should be reported via easy-to-understand advisories that include recommended actions.

The technology behind RM&D—predictive analytics—gives valuable insights into the actual condition of equipment and its performance. Result: Users can avoid outages during peak run times, proactively schedule maintenance, source equipment ahead of time, and adjust how and when to operate units. This solution has proven successful with various components—including fuel nozzles, bearings, and gearboxes.

Results. ProEnergy’s O&M team provides recommendations to promptly rectify a given issue, with a view toward operational availability. This strategy provides a real-time view of equipment condition and protects operational strategy, saving time and money. Below are two case studies from WattBridge and a third-party RM&D user:

Case Study 1: Zero lost time through early detection. A user in the West received an advisory regarding an accessory gearbox before an alarm activated. An increase in bearing temperatures indicated a drop in lube-oil pressure. Plant was advised to closely watch the equipment during operations and to replace the lube-oil pump during regularly scheduled downtime. Upon replacement, operational values returned to normal with no loss of operating time.

Case Study 2: Catastrophe avoided with operational adjustments. During a peak runtime, a WattBridge site received an advisory of impending bearing failure, which could have catastrophic consequences for the turbine. The onsite team was advised adjust operating parameters to accommodate the damaged part, and a full-time remote operating center (ROC) watch was set for the unit. A replacement engine was sent to the site, which resulted in no additional damage to the original unit and a minor loss of productivity during peak load time.

Project participants:

Kevin Chaffin and the ProEnergy O&M organization

2023 Best of the Best from the LM6000 fleet

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