Wireless Technology Helps Improve Operational Efficiency at Biomass Power Plant

Smart Wireless transmitters from Emerson provide increased visibility into the process, support predictive maintenance and provide tank overspill protection.

Emerson Process Management’s Smart Wireless technology is enabling Enomondo S.r.l. to improve visibility into the process at its biomass power plant in Faenza, Italy. Enomondo—a partnership between Caviro Distillerie and Herambiente—is using wireless measurement devices to monitor a complex fuel pre-treatment operation, an incineration process and a new boiler at the plant.

According Alessandro Catani, Enomondo plant and energy manager, wireless technology enabled additional measurement devices to be installed quickly and easily, helping to optimize control of the process and contributing to an estimated 5 percent increase in overall operational efficiency. The availability of diagnostic data also improved predictive maintenance procedures.

The 13.7 MW power generation plant is located at the Caviro Distillerie wine and denatured alcohol plant. It uses 140,000 metric tons per year of by-products from the alcohol production process to produce power for 29,000 neighboring households. This use of alternative fuels helps to reduce Italy’s power generation CO2 emissions by 35,500 tons a year.

To increase the efficiency and capacity of the plant, Enomondo installed a new boiler, which created the need for new instrumentation for monitoring temperature and pressure. In addition, the existing fuel pre-treatment process, which ensures nitrogen oxide emissions are less than half the levels set by Italy’s Integrated Environmental Authorization, involves numerous variables that are not easily controlled and would benefit from additional measurement points.

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To meet these needs Enomondo chose Emerson’s Smart Wireless technology, which offers simpler installation and lower overall costs than traditional wired solutions. Twenty-two Smart Wireless transmitters, including Rosemount 3051S pressure and 648 temperature transmitters, transmit measurement data via a wireless gateway into the existing Emerson DeltaV digital automation system. This gives operators greater visibility into the process so that they can make adjustments to increase efficiency.

As a result, Enomondo has been able to increase operational efficiency and improve output, said Catani. Installation, maintenance and operating costs also have been reduced.

According to an Emerson spokesman familiar with the project, installation was very easy and required no external engineering capability. Because the wireless instruments required no cabling or cable ducts, infrastructure costs were around 30 percent lower than a wired alternative. Layout and wiring costs were halved, and installation and instrumentation control costs reduced by 40 percent, he said.

Using the existing DeltaV system and AMS Suite predictive maintenance software to receive, store and analyze device data, Enomondo has been able to use the wireless system to meet its predictive maintenance requirements. The additional continuous data made available by the wireless network enables personnel to identify performance degradation trends that signify potential problems, then use this information for better maintenance scheduling that helps optimize operator efficiency.

"The modularity of Emerson’s Smart Wireless technology, the ease and reduced cost of implementation compared to wired devices, and its reliability once installed have encouraged us to expand its use into other applications," said Catani.

"For example, temperatures in some of the air-conditioning systems at the plant were prone to overheating. By installing Rosemount wireless temperature transmitters on a temporary basis, it was possible to obtain the data we needed to identify potential problems and correct them," Catani added.

Twenty-six Rosemount inventory tank gauges with Smart Wireless THUM Adapters have also been installed to continuously monitor levels and increase safety by preventing overspills within the alcohol storage tank farm.

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