Digital Industrial World: Power Plants Leapfrog in Pakistan
Technology leapfrogging is an exciting opportunity for developing countries, but often we talk about it in the abstract. Pakistan’s electricity generating sector, offers an excellent example of how several of its power plants are early adopters of new technology that’s helping them address two key national challenges.
The first challenge is to generate more electricity to meet rising demand; the second challenge is to be more fuel efficient when producing electricity.
Three power plants, owned by three different operators, are all adopting Industrial Internet software and hardware solutions from GE that help them leapfrog straight to becoming “digital power plant.”
Worth mentioning here is that becoming a digital power plant does not mean building something new from the ground up. As these three examples show, operators are making their plants “digital” through hardware, software and monitoring system upgrades.
These predictivity enhancement and Asset Performance Management (APM) solutions operate on Predix, GE’s cloud-based operating system for the Industrial Internet. Customized to the unique demands of each plant, these solutions give operators a better view of the entire plant’s operation, highlighting key performance indicators and reliability statistics in order to reduce unplanned downtime.
The first example is Engro Powergen Qadirpur Limited, a 217-MW independent power project and the only “green-energy” facility of its kind in the country. It uses sour gas that previously had been flared. GE’s Industrial Internet solutions enhance operational performance, power plant reliability and predictive maintenance.
The two other power plants both use GE’s advanced, high fuel-efficiency 6FA turbines. The Sapphire Group’s 234 MW Muridke Power Plant is located near Lahore, while the Saif Group’s 225 MW combined-cycle Saif Power Plant is located in the Sahiwal District of Punjab Province.
Through these Industrial Internet solutions, plant operators are not only able to increase electricity generation while using less fuel — crucial to addressing the country’s fast-growing power demand, but also help operators reduce operating costs so they can enhance returns on their investment.
The GE’s Industrial Internet solutions being implemented in these plants bring together data and analytics with machines and equipment to improve reliability and availability of the plant assets, minimize total cost of ownership, and reduce operational risks.
In 2010, GE signed a memorandum of understanding with the Pakistan government to develop the country’s energy resources to meet projected demand by 2020, building on the company’s more than five decades in the Pakistani power sector. Today, GE-built equipment provides more than 25% of the nation’s electricity.