3 Power plant simulators

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The company “Power plant simulators” was founded in 1991. Initially the company was called “New power plant simulators”, but in 2000 after rewriting the company took the present name.

Informally the company history began long before the 1991.

The scientific premise of the company foundation was a set of works concerning the simulation of the heat processes at the fossil power plants that initially began in the middle of the 70th in the automatic control system department of the well-known Russian engineering company “ORGRES” and later the work was continued in the computer department of the ORGRES company. A few experiments concerning an experimental determination of dynamic properties of a real equipment (boilers in particular) had demonstrated that it is not easy to obtain such the information with high precision at the real equipment both technically and organizationally.

So the initial goal of a newly started research was to develop a software system to calculate with a computer dynamic properties of a real equipment on the base of its project and constructive basic data. But soon the goal setting was substantially enlarged. The new goal was to develop a numerical model of a fossil power unit. Though the computational power of that time computers was far from enough to rely upon a fast practical success, in particular to expect that a fully-variable simulator soon be able to work in the real time, some unique simulation algorithms and important software elements were successfully worked through. The first version of the software was initially written for a Russian made mainframe computer on the popular that time computer language PL/1.

At the middle of the 80th at the computer department of the ORGRES for the first time a model of a 300 MW supercritical power unit with one-through boiler was developed. The model was able to work in the range of 50%-100% loading in about the real time.

At the end of the 80th when some first personal computers come into the Russia all the software that were developed till that time were converted to C language and transferred to IBM PCs.

At the end of 80th some future employees of the “Power plant simulators” company participated in the acceptance tests of a full-scale simulator for a 800 MW supercritical power unit that (the power unit) is located nearby Perm city in Russia. The simulator was developed by the Finnish division of the well-known German company ABB. During the acceptance tests it turned out that the simulator developer required some help in the development. All the circumstances initiated a foundation of the “New power plant simulators” company in 1991.

In accordance with an agreement with the Finnish division of the ABB the newly founded company soon developed an own model of the 800 MW supercritical power unit. The model was successfully linked with the rest of the simulator developed by the Finnish division of the ABB. But the joint simulator was never installed at the customer power plant near Perm city in Russia because at a moment the Russian side stopped the financing of the project.

A first version of own interactive graphical and networking software system was introduced to potential customers in Russia in 1992. The software was developed for MS-DOS operating system. In the frame of the software system it was already possible to work with the simulator through a graphical user interface simultaneously from a few computers. The model of the 800 MW supercritical power unit was imbedded into the software system.

After a few presentations of the software system for the 800 MW supercritical power unit to the potential customers the company signed new contracts to development 2 new simulators. But the 2 simulators had the same destiny like the previous one – they newer were delivered to the customers because the financing problems.

Very soon it became obvious that the MS-DOS version of the software system didn’t allow to develop a truly high quality product. A decision to rewrite the software system for a different operating system soon was made. The work started at the beginning of the 1993. The 3.0 version of the Windows operating system that was available that time in the world did have a good graphical subsystem but it didn’t have a good network support yet. So a decision to use a UNIX operation system and do not wait the next Windows version was made. The basic features of the our modern software system was in essence developed in 1993-1994. Later the software system was just expanded and amplified.

The time period from 1994 till 1997 was for the company a time of coming into being. The company performed huge research and development in order to simulate separate elements of fossil power units more accurate. This more accurate algorithms underlay to the future simulator projects. At that time a fully-variable model of the Russian made gas and oil fired drum boiler on the pressure 13 MPA, live steam flow 320 tons per hour and live steam temperature 550 C, TGM-84, was developed. In general the model of the boiler stays the same till the present time.

In the 1997 the computational capabilities of the personal computers were good enough to develop the very first successful in all the aspects simulator for 100 MW gas and oil fired 14 MPA drum boiler power unit for Orel city power plant in the central part of Russia. After some minor modernizations the simulator till now has been successfully using at the power plant.

At the 1998 a simulator for a similar 100 MW power unit for Lipetsk city power plant number 2 in the central part of Russia was developed and delivered to the customer.

As a result of an active using of the 2 simulators at the power plants the “Power plant simulators” company obtained an extensive feedback from the customers. It allowed to further increase the quality of the simulators. The general structure of the simulators stays the same till today but models of many elements was made better.

At the same 1998 in Russia a competition to test professional skills of operators of fossil power plants with a common steam line was organized. In the competition teams from some 18 power utilities participated. The power utilities were a part of Centrenergo – affiliation of power utilities of the central part of Russia. Especially for the competition the “Power plant simulators” company developed a simulator for a power plant with a common steam line. The power plant includes 2 drum boilers and 2 turbines interconnected with a common steam line. A lot of observers from different power utilities from all over the Russia participated in the competition. The competition had a surprisingly complicated technical program for participants. One of the exercises that had to be performed by all the participating teams was a boiler and turbine start-up from a hot reserve condition while the second boiler and the second turbine of the power plant worked all the time at the nominal loading. The competition had a huge positive echo in the power industry of Russia. It was publicly confirmed that the simulator was a breakthrough for the Russian power industry. After such the echo the company signed new simulator contracts with a few power utilities, in particular with Krasnoyarsk, Norilsk, Volgograd, Astrachan and so on.

On the wave of the obvious success of the first competition, in the 1999 a new competition to test professional skills of operators of supercritical fossil power units was again organized. Especially for the new competition a new simulator for a 300 MW gas and oil fired once-through boiler supercritical power unit was developed. The competition was organized at the Konakovo power plant located 200 kilometers west from Moscow. 8 teams from different power plants participated in the competition. After the first competition no one would allow to decrease the technical difficulty of the competition. So all the teams again performed hot start-up of the supercritical unit. And again the competition participants estimated the simulator very well.

The next 2000 year especially for the new competition between operators of supercritical power units from Moscow power utility a modification of the 300 MW power unit simulator with the same boiler (Russian marking is TGMP-314) but with different 250 MW heat-and-electricity turbine (Russian marking is T-250) was developed. After the new competition was recognized to be very successful the company managed to supply the modified version with 250 MW turbine to the 26th power plant of the Moscow power utility.

At the same 2000 year the second competition to test professional skills of operators of fossil power plants with a common steam line being part of Centrenergo was organized. The same but improved simulator that was used at the 1998 was used again. After that the company signed a new simulator contract with Nishny Novgorod power utility.

In 2002 the company developed a simulator for the 200 MW oil fired power unit with 14 MPA drum boiler with intermediate steam reheating - TGME-2006 - and the turbine K-200. The customer of the simulator was the Interenergoservice Russian company. The simulator was supplied to Nassiria power plant in Iraq. The simulator had been working at the power plant during 10 months till the beginning of war. In accordance with the information from the Interenergoservice company, during the operating the simulator showed itself from the very best side. Operators not only from the Nassiria power plant studied at the simulator but operators from all over the Iraq come to the simulator. The technical specialists considered the training at the simulator to be extremely useful. But during the war the simulator cease to exist.

At the same 2002 the first international competition to compare professional skills of operators from different countries Cyberthon-2002 was organized in the South Africa. For the competition the 300 MW supercritical simulator developed by the “Power plant simulators” company was used. Technical program for the Cyberthon-2002 was relatively easy from the simulator developer point of view. It didn’t include any start-up.

The second international competition to compare professional skills of operators from different countries Cyberthon-2003 was organized in Russia in 2003. At the Cyberthon-2003 the simulator of the 200 MW oil fired power unit, developed by “Power plant simulators” was used. This time the technical program of the Cuberthon-2003 included the power unit hot start-up.

In the 2003 for the Moscow power plant 22 the company developed and supplied the new simulator for gas and coal fired supercritical twin boilers 250 MW power unit. The power unit is a very unusual one for Russia - the thermal diagram of the unit doesn’t include a feed water tank.

In the 2004 the company had developed and supplied to the customer (power plant number 2 of the Kaliningrad city) a simulator for 450 MW combined circle gas-steam unit. The real unit itself is going to be put into operation at the second half of the 2005 only. But during more then 1 year before the put into operation the future operators of the power unit were able to learn how to run the unknown for them equipment.

In the 2004 some more important for the company event had happened. The company together with the electric power plants chair of the Moscow power engineering institute has finished the development of a full-scale complex analyzer for process of functioning a power plant’s electrical equipment. The first analyzer was developed for the 26th Moscow power plant. In a form of a simulator only (without real analyzing features) the project was already finished in the 2003. But in the 2004 only the simulator was completed till a level of getting a set of analyzing features.

The analyzer in contrast to the simulator is able with at least 5% accuracy (in many cases the real accuracy is some 3% only) on-the-fly initially to reproduce any current mode of operation for the power plant main electric circuit and after that to predict what mode of operation for the power plant main electric circuit shell be installed as a result of the required switching over.

You could further familiarize yourself with the analyzer in the [“Electrical simulators”] section.