ABB leverages solutions approach to build the plant of the future

When big data meets energy, utility companies can fuel topnotch innovations to meet today’s most pressing power generation challenges.
Digitalisation has now become the name of the game, as the world’s growing energy industry faces dwindling power resources and a huge lack of human capacities with rich and deep experience in the field. Not only does digitalisation fill these major gaps, it also presents itself as a means to create economic value estimated to soon reach billions of dollars for the power generation industry alone.

From problems in energy pricing to the regulation of carbon emissions to distributed energy, utility companies can count on digitalisation to provide a wide-reaching solution across the value chain. In fact, digitalisation has resulted in new business models and more efficient data management systems that yield benefits and cut costs and downtime not only for clients, but for producers as well. For ABB, digitalisation has enabled them to better understand their clientele, and unlock value from years of data collected and analysed. In fact, ABB prides itself as one of the first industrial companies to fully embrace the digital journey up until the growth of the Internet of Things (IoT). 

Decades of digitalisation experience

Now, ABB brings its two-decade experience in digitalisation to move the company closer to Industry 4.0 and building the plant of the future. ABB leverages its advantage to bear on current plant operations, beginning with power generation units through advanced combustion control and advanced combustion optimisation. Kevin Kosisko, managing director, business unit power generation and water, said that ABB has been deploying these solutions for the past ten years with a move up the chain to provide a collaborative operations solution where their clients can leverage ABB’s deep industry knowledge acquired over five decades of implementing power generation automation systems. “Our customers are experiencing depletion in the rich knowledge that they have in operating their facilities. Some industries may be more attractive for these kinds of resources overtime, and we’ve gone on a bit of transformation in our industry which has caused us to lose a lot of talents. If we look at collaborative operations, we help solve their problem by really helping our customer to utilise the resources that they have, marrying those together with ABB resources to really drive a real-time operating solution that we can provide for them to solve those problems,” Kosisko added.

Furthermore, ABB aims to solve not only ongoing problems in operating plants, but to speed up operations such as plant commissioning and bringing a plant to peak load. ABB has come up with a means to deviate from the normal platform approach. The firm presents its solutions approach which boasts of an open platform technology that can connect easily to censors and various automation systems in a vertical fashion.

As ABB pushes for enhanced communication lines and better use of data, clients can expect services that will meet them at their point of need, especially with many of their customers still in the phase of implementing advanced optimisation solutions. “There’s a lot of value to be had there, around conventional generation, improving the actual combustion cycling conventional generation, reducing the overall fuel cost, improving availability of those assets, reducing emissions, those solutions we’re deploying at ABB right now. Collaborative operations is really an opportunity to leverage not only our customer’s skills, but ABB’s skills in a collaborative manner to really provide value-added solutions real-time to customer’s issues as they come up,” Kosisko said. These solutions are part of a larger vision that ABB has been working on and that is focused on innovations such as virtual power plants and integrated multiple distributed energy resources. ABB maintains its collaborative principle as it moves towards better interaction of customers with the grid management in their respective countries, optimising resources and squeezing greater value from their assets. “In our collaborative operations solution, there are a couple of options. One, it could be a real-time connection, connected into a secure data facility that we have where we have our resources sitting, isolated from the rest of our resources. Security of customer data is number one and we make sure that our platform is secure. But in bringing that data into this location or having the customer gather the data at their location, we offer solutions there, where we can either connect in an intermittent fashion to help them with the data or come down and work with them on-site that they have collected,” Kosisko added.

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