Emerson's wireless technology helps RWE maximize gas storage capacity, improve efficiency and safety

April 4, 2013
Emerson Process Management’s Smart Wireless technology is helping RWE Gas Storage maximize the capacity of its Dolní Dunajovice underground gas storage facility in the Czech Republic.

Emerson Process Management’s Smart Wireless technology is helping RWE Gas Storage maximize the capacity of its Dolní Dunajovice underground gas storage facility in the Czech Republic. Installation of five Smart Wireless networks and more than 100 wireless measurement devices has increased visibility into the process, enabling the plant to improve control and run closer to its capacity. Automating data collection has also eliminated manual rounds at the plant, improving operator efficiency and safety.

“We needed to upgrade our existing instrumentation and add additional measurements, but with just two short windows of opportunity each year and no available existing cabling infrastructure, it was impossible to complete the work within the scheduled two-week downtime,” said Pavel Šilinger, Energy Manager, RWE Gas Storage s.r.o. “Extending the downtime would cost RWE an estimated $250,000 a day in lost income.”

RWE needed a solution that did not require installation of new cabling and allowed a longer period for the upgrade to be completed. To meet this need, RWE selected Smart Wireless technology from Emerson. Based on IEC 62591 (WirelessHART) communications, the technology is well-proven, reliable and both quick and easy to install and commission.

The wireless solution didn’t require RWE to install new cabling or new I/O cards in the control host. RWE simply added Smart Wireless Gateways to the existing Modbus network and all data from the new wireless transmitters was then available within the existing control system. This meant that the plant could continue to operate while new instruments were being installed, removing the need for the upgrade to be completed within the scheduled two-week downtime.

Five wireless networks span the entire 50,000-square-meter facility, supporting more than 100 new wireless transmitters. The instruments are predominantly Emerson’s Rosemount® wireless pressure and temperature transmitters, with a number of Rosemount Guided Wave Radar level transmitters and Fisher control valves also connected using Emerson’s THUM™ Adapters.

“Emerson’s wireless solution takes only a quarter of the time to install, and saves around 20% of the cost of a cabled installation,” continued Šilinger. “The availability of HART® data, including diagnostics from new and existing devices, was another significant reason for selecting Smart Wireless and is helping us to improve plant maintenance procedures.”

In addition to the benefits of better process management, RWE is saving 10% per year on its total maintenance costs. Remote online access to diagnostic information enables operators to identify potential instrument problems earlier and correct them before poor measurements start to affect the process. Access to online data has also reduced the number of trips into the field, helping to improve the safety of equipment and workers.

Based on the successful implementation of wireless technology at the Dolní Dunajovice site, RWE plans to implement Emerson’s Smart Wireless at all of its underground storage facilities in the Czech Republic.

RWE Gas Storage, part of the RWE Group, is the biggest underground gas storage operator in the Czech Republic, operating six facilities with a total operating capacity of almost 3 billion cubic meters. Gas is stored in porous underground facilities during low-off take periods and supplied to users when demand peaks.

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