Energy 4.0 Cogeneration from an IoT and Industry 4.0 perspective

Even in the world of gas turbines, real time and continuous digitalized control, data collection and analysis are now competitive factors for paper mills.

author: Solar Turbines Switzerland Sagl

Industry Insight by:

Solar Turbines Switzerland SAGL

The Industry 4.0 parameters include control of the cogeneration process and energy supply. Digital control systems are now essential to monitor the performance of the production cycle and its energy requirements, at any time, allowing timely interventions, optimizing the process while reducing costs. However, when we talk about energy production, alongside production data measurement and control, other elements come into the game, including the need to comply with strict and necessary environmental standards.

Solar Turbines, that produces energy generation solutions, is turning to sophisticated technologies capable of producing more with a smaller environmental impact. Increased power of gas-turbines can go with reduced CO2 emissions, to meet paper mills’ energy requirements and its environmental sustainability. Solar Turbines is presenting two new types of gas turbines within its gas turbine ranges: the most recent models have been shown to be suited also to the needs of the paper industry by enhancing the Taurus 70 family, with versions producing 7.5 to 8.2 MWe, and the Titan 130, which ranges from 15 to 16.5 MWe.

Titan 250 Tissue Direct Drying CHP.

Taurus 70 and Titan 130 models

To explain why a paper mill should be interested in this turbine, calculations have been made showing how the largest Taurus 70 model would provide substantial savings, despite its greater power. In particular, a paper mill with average energy needs of around 8.5 MWe and steam demand of 18 tons per hour has been considered. Acknowledging the steam production and the increased electric power, thanks to the higher efficiency, the new model makes it possible to produce the required steam while reducing natural gas consumption, thus reducing CO2 emissions: even though the electric power increases, it has been possible to reduce CO2 emissions by a further 3% with a new design strong focused on “environmental” performance.

The Taurus 70 continues to be a market success, if you think that over 900 of these systems have been sold and have accumulated over 68 million operating hours. The same calculations can be translated to the uprated Titan 130, with over thousand references sold worldwide. The electricity production of the new turbine has increased from 15 MW to 16.5 MW and in this case the CO2 savings are even clearer: in case of a paper mill requirement of around 17 MWe, and steam demand of 32 tons per hour, an extra 23% reduction in CO2 emissions compared with the previous model has been achieved. This shows that it is not always true that increasing electric power and burning natural gas necessarily increase emissions; on the contrary, Solar Turbines managed to reduce them with its products.


IoT integration for more targeted and efficient use

These two new gas turbine evolutions have characteristics that will be attractive for many markets and especially for paper mills. The upgraded gas turbines perform even better with the development of digital systems. The use of IoT-based systems is not new to Solar Turbines: in the past, with its digital platform, designed initially to control only the performance of the turbogenerator and carry out predictive analysis, Solar Turbines obtained extremely positive results and increased machine uptime.

Solar’s experience in the pulp and paper process and tissue paper manufacturing process spreads across the globe

Tissue Paper Industry 4.0.

With the integration of the IoT, the instruments developed on the new models go even further. Today, with the new systems that incorporate and manage all the process data, Solar Turbines can recommend to the paper mill ways to operate the machine, based on actual production requirements, thus balancing steam production and turbine power according to the requirements of the production cycle, and by that reduce operating costs. The turbine can therefore be operated according to real needs, once again reducing CO2 emissions and, where possible and appropriate, sending excess electrical power to the national grid.

In future, the prospects regarding this could change: for example, we are working on making the turbine interact with a “smart grid” system, to respond to energy demand and balancing programs, which are being requested more and more by the organizations that manage national electrical grids.

In addition, using our experience in designing turbogenerators, we have developed an energy storage system capable of managing energy changes and of communicating with both the turbine and the national grid. But above all, the integrated control systems of the gas turbines will enable firms to optimize energy production, avoiding overproduction and permitting more targeted and efficient use of the energy.


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