3 Power plant simulators


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Documentation: part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4.

Russian company Power plants simulators introduces an analytical simulator of 200 MW oil fired drum boiler power unit. The simulator is specially design to be used by the operation personal to rise the deep understanding of how the drum boiler power unit works. The simulator implements the TGMP-206 Russian designed drum boiler with maximum steam capacity of 670 ton/hour and the K-200-130 Russian design turbine with maximum power production of 200 MW and with nominal pressure at the turbine inlet of 130 kg/cm2.

The purpose of the simulator:

  • Initial training and/or maintaining and enhancement of operation personnel professional skills, including an ability to reasonable run a drum boiler power unit while its in a non-standard transient mode
  • Personnel training for promotion to a new position
  • Testing of the operator professional skills including the ability to run the unit in different non-standard modes
  • Conducting of competitions to check professional skills, mutual communication and team spirit of different shifts
  • Training the operators of how to detect and eliminate consequences of different malfunctions that could threaten the power unit workability or production

The capabilities of operator training at a real power unit are very limited because of the following natural reasons:

  • Operators and maintain personnel of any real power unit try to use a very limited number of the power unit modes that are best known for them in operation (they try to escape facing with a new situation on the power unit)
  • If a power unit works its mainly working in a stable mode while nothing really happens with the equipment
  • Any training activity of an operator during a transient mode of a power unit and even during a stable running of it could increase a malfunction risk on the real equipment
  • Such power unit modes where operator professional skills could be very important are relatively rare repeated in the real life. A set of the modes includes about the following modes: start-ups from different conditions, unit trip and subsequent cooling-down, malfunctions, unit loading and unloading, etc

So operator training on a real power unit as a rule is conducted in a passive mode while trainee could be allowed to apply if any at most the simplest influence on the equipment without a need to make a responsible decisions what to do with the equipment next.

The most effective training mode for a man is the following: try to do and make mistakes. For a real power unit the training mode cant be practically applied.

A well designed simulator that is able with high accuracy to implement a broad range of power unit operation modes and regimes including the most complicated ones, could eliminate the mentioned problems. Such a simulator could be a unique tool for improvement of operators professional skills.

Russian company Power plant simulators has a unique experience that enable us to develop and supply simulators for fossil power units of such unique quality. More then 12 power utilities in Russia have been intensively using our simulators in an everyday life. Some of the power utilities have 2 or more of our simulators installed. Our simulators are being used as a technical base for competitions to compare professional skills of fossil power plant operators on different levels:

  • level of a power plant - to compare professional skills of all operator shifts on the power plant
  • level of a power utility to reveal the best operator shift of the power utility
  • level of the Russia to reveal the best operator shift of the country
  • international level to reveal the best operator shift of the world

Because of the importance of the international competitions they were assigned a special name Cyberthon. The first Cyberthon-2002 was successfully organized in South Africa in 2002. The second Cyberthon-2003 was successfully organized in Russia in the 2003. In October of 2004 the next Cyberthon-2004 is going to be organized again in South Africa.

At present time our simulators have been officially choused as a technical base for international and the All-Russia competitions.

Taking into consideration the competition to compare operator professional skills only it can be said that our simulators have passed a prejudiced testing of few hundred the most qualified operators from a few dozen power utilities both in Russia and in the world. After some of the competition we asked participants to estimate in a written form the simulator they worked on during the competition. It should be mentioned that practically all of them gave a high estimation to the simulators.

In Russian fossil power industry there is a regulation that defines requirements for fossil power plant simulators and introduces a certification procedure. Our company was the first one who had passed the certification procedure and obtained the certificate.

The simulator implements working monitors of turbine operator, boiler operator and electrician. The whole shift (boiler operator, turbine operator and electrician) could simultaneously work at the simulator to jointly run the same power unit. During the joint work at the simulator they influence each other the same way they do it at the real power unit. For example, if the turbine operator cause a transient process at the turbine its the boiler operator who ought to react on the turbine transient process first of all. So the simulator could be used to teach or verify how different people could jointly run a power unit in the frame of a team.

The simulator runs at a set of personnel computers with processors Pentium-3(4) interconnected in a local area network through Ethernet connections.

A standard hardware configuration of the simulator includes 5 computers. An extended hardware configuration includes 8-10 computers. In either configuration a most powerful computer plays a role of the simulator server. The simulators server is the heart of the system. In real time it implements all the numeric calculations that have to be done to correctly simulate all the functionality of the power unit. All other computers of the simulator just implement an user interface an operator work with while he runs a power unit.

In addition to the main task to perform all the numeric calculation the simulators server implements an interface of the simulators instructor station. The Instructor station enables a coordination of the training process at the simulator.

The simulator software - is a set of simultaneously executed programs that run under a supervision of a UNIX operation system. At present the simulator is used a freely distributed UNIX version called LINUX. The hardware components of the simulation system are specially selected to support the LINUX operation system.

The software system of the simulator includes the following elements:

  • high precision mathematical model of the power unit hardware and the power unit control system; the mathematical model in the real time calculates transient curves of more than 12000 internal variables; the transient curve for any simulator internal variable can be displayed through the simulator man-machine interface
  • a user-friendly man-machine interface that implements videograms of the control system of a real power unit
  • instructor subsystem to organize and manage training process on the simulator; the instructor subsystem has the following features:
  • loading of an initial condition of the power unit from which the simulation process shell be started
  • save the current state of the simulated power unit to the servers hard disk so that later the state can be loaded again for continue the simulation from the moment it was early interrupted
  • freezing/unfreezing the calculation (simulation)
  • enter a malfunction
  • any previously obtained transient curve can be automatically regained by the simulator in a mode when the simulator itself applies operator actions that were applied to the simulator last time the transient curve was obtained for the first time
  • recording of the operators actions that were applied to the simulator by trainees during a training exercise so that the protocol can be later verified by simulator instructors on correctness

In the frame of the simulator software there is no bold separation of monitors between different client computers. Instead of it at a moment any videogram of the simulator can be viewed at a client computer. It enables to promptly use any client computer either for boiler operator, or for turbine operator, or for head of the shift. Besides it enables the simulators instructor or the head of the shift from own monitor to verify the current trainee activity.

In the frame of the simulator all the main components of a modern digital control system are implemented:

  • protections
  • interlocks
  • alarms
  • main automatic controllers
  • automatic loading and unloading the power unit production

An operator training can be arranged either with fully enabled automatic control system or with partially disabled control system.

The simulator is able to implement a broad spectrum of power unit working modes. Here the following the most complicated modes should be mentioned:

  • hot start-up (from a hot stand-by mode)
  • warm start-ups from different initial conditions
  • cold start-up (from a repair)
  • power unit trips with subsequent cooling down (say, to obtain an initial condition for a warm start-up)
  • run the unit in accordance with a complex dispatcher demand scheduler
  • a broad set of malfunctions of different kinds that threaten the power unit health and production

In the attachment there are examples of a man-machine interface of the real control system as it is implemented in the simulator.

The simulator was accepted and it had been using at the Nassiria power plant since June of the 2002 year till the March of 2003 year.

The simulator can be adopted and/or partially or fully modified to satisfy specific demands of any customer. The adaptation could touch any part of the power unit including:

  • boiler,
  • turbine,
  • power unit thermal diagram,
  • control system functioning algorithms,
  • etc