Gen-C common engine control platform increases landfill gas production at EDL Mucking

A smart, automated and common engine control platform from the CHP assistance specialist Gen-C increased gas production by up to 10% at EDL’s Mucking Landfill Gas Power Plant. The Motortech supervision panel featuring state-of-the-art ComAp technology controls a suite of five MWM Deutz engines on site. It optimizes the use of gas and assets by adjusting the engine load in real time to exactly match the gas available from the field. With live alerts, superior fault diagnosis, data logging and remote engine control, including instant restarts, the Mucking team can now track, monitor and adjust the performance of its five engines at the time. times through a user-friendly app, without the need to be turned on. to place.

“Engine downtime has been virtually eliminated,” says Dave Dickson, site supervisor at EDL Mucking. “The Gen-C common control panel automatically adjusts the load on each engine to instantly match gas availability, making manual interventions redundant. In addition to making better use of staff, we have seen a 5-10% increase in gas production.

Located in Tilbury, Essex, EDL Mucking’s landfill gas-fired power station houses five operational engines: four 1.2 MW Deutz TCG620-V16 models and one Caterpillar 3516. Four engines are in continuous use, one of which is serving as a reserve. In spring 2021, Gen-C was tasked with upgrading four of the engine control panels to smart, open-access Motortech versions, as well as replacing the ignition systems (one engine had been upgraded previously) . As part of the project, Gen-C chief executive James Thompson also agreed to provide a common oversight control platform to streamline the management of the five engines.

“Having worked with EDL on a number of projects – including upgrading the vandalized control panels at their Wellingborough site at the start of the pandemic – we wanted to optimize their engine management,” says James. “We knew that our common control platform would not only alleviate staff pressures by reducing manual intervention, but also increase gas production. “

EDL strives to use 100% of the gas available at Mucking, but due to the use of manual engine control this has not always been possible. Dave Dickson explains: “Before the installation of the common control platform, we regularly assessed the suction limit – this is the volume of gas available at any given time and based on external factors such as pressure. atmospheric; for example, during periods of low pressure, the availability of gas increases. We then manually adjusted the load on each motor to meet the suction limit before repeating the process a few hours later, including overnight. However, this reactive response meant that there was inevitably a delay in gas uptake; production was not optimized, because not all the quantity of gas available was always able to be used.

Since automating the process via Motortech’s common control panel, this lag in gas absorption has been eliminated. “Now we define the parameters of the supervision panel installed by Gen-C according to the suction limit and it automatically adjusts the load of the motors to adapt it in real time,” explains Dave. “Since there is no lag, gas production is optimized, without under-utilization. It enables more agile use of our engine assets – the system reads how many engines are running and at what capacity, and detects whether they need to increase or decrease to match gas availability. It can stop or start individual engines as needed, and even bring the standby engine online in just 15 minutes if needed. “

As James Thompson explains, the common control panel intelligently responds to real-time information: “The system monitors the gas pressure from the field to the different engines. We’ve translated that into the load required to run the motors, to ensure that each is performing optimally. ”

In addition to managing the full suite of motors, the monitoring platform can also isolate and control individual machines: a motor can be configured to act as a standby or operate at a maximum capacity of 80%, for example; one or more engines can have priority over the others; and motors can be switched on and off as required. If necessary, a team member can even log in remotely to access or bypass the panel; something they should have done before on site.

This precision control is not only essential to maximize gas production but also to protect the gas field and the engines. Extracting too much gas can result in negative pressure, potentially resulting in siloxanes and impurities that can cause imbalance and risk damage to engines. It can also damage the field, start a fire and burn off the valuable gas, as well as posing a risk to people and property. Likewise, if too little gas is extracted from the field, it can start to escape. “These issues have been eliminated since the installation of the Common Control Platform,” confirms Dave.

There are also other advantages. “Previously, if an engine stopped, we would receive an email alert asking us to manually restart it,” explains Dave. “If this were to happen at night, a staff member would have to come to the scene, find the cause of the failure, then physically restart the engine or activate the reserve. This sometimes resulted in a delay of up to six or even eight hours, during which time the engine would be out of service and gas production would be reduced. Now, if an engine fails, the common control panel automatically shuts it down and puts the spare online in just 15 minutes, meaning staff are in no rush to get to the site. A list of alarms is automatically emailed to key personnel to inform them of the reason for the shutdown; if it is something simple like a fluctuation in gas quality, they can remotely connect and restart the engine in a matter of minutes.

With the supervisory control panel replacing manual intervention, EDL was able to redeploy staff to areas more critical for the business. “One of the main advantages of the system is that it does not require a person to be physically present in the control room, as it used to be,” explains Dave. “The number of untimely trips to restart engines has been drastically reduced and the system is so user-friendly, even incorporating an app that we can access 24/7 to check engine performance remotely. Everything is visible on one screen, so it’s easy to keep track of what’s going on.

This fingertip remote control has allowed EDL Mucking to become more personnel efficient, freeing up personnel to use where they are needed most. This facility has proven to be invaluable in recent months, as social distancing and pandemic pressures have combined with a nationwide workforce squeeze to make efficient use of staff more important than ever for businesses across the United Kingdom.

Additionally, the system includes a data log that records engine activity and allows the EDL team to spot trends over time, helping them make informed decisions about operational improvements.

James Thompson of Gen-C is delighted that his customer has seen such an improvement in the system: “Motortech’s common control panel continuously takes live data from the site’s five engines and makes forward-thinking, stand-alone adjustments to s ” ensure that they function optimally. . It’s not just a portal that communicates with each engine; it is a fully self-contained power control platform that proactively manages field gas and burns it through on-site assets in the most efficient manner for the engines and the owner of the aircraft. active. As EDL has found, the benefits of this system for landfill gas operators are significant; However, its flexibility means that it can also be put to good use at other power generation sites, such as monitoring gas bag levels at anaerobic digestion plants.

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Kevin A. Perras

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