‘Piece of Art’ Project Team for First-of-a-Kind Project
It’s not often that a project implementation team is described as “a piece of art, a puzzle with each person having their own place and skill set that cannot be duplicated or switched for another.” But then again, this project is not like any other.
GE Digital is implementing a strategic project that will give the Saudi Electricity Company unprecedented visibility across its fleet of gas and steam turbines, generators and other assets reaching nearly 20 power plants.
It’s the most comprehensive implementation of its kind for GE, and the lead team of software engineers is comprised entirely of women.
Among this team is Hiba Dernayka-Zoohbi, a Senior Software Engineer leading the Operational Excellence solution, who was quoted above. She was describing the team put together by trailblazing engineer Lana ElChaar, currently Vice President Global Services, Americas for GE Digital, but formerly with GE Digital based in Dubai.
Layal Zakhour, a Senior Software Engineer leading data and system integration, said it was important to have so many women on the team and to have empowered them to work onsite. “I was constantly working in Saudi, leading deployments on-premise, ensuring we were getting data from sensors at the plants to all the applications, as well as combining various systems and applications into one integrated solution, providing a 360-degree visibility across power plants.
“Whenever there is a deadline, I have to be there to make sure everything is running fine, as the deadlines are strict and there’s a high attention to detail.”
Another member of the team is Zahraa AlShammasi, a recent Saudi graduate and part of GE’s Digital Technology Leadership Program. Leading the user experience component, Zahraa says, “This team is really different. The teamwork here is just amazing, really supportive, a lot of inspiring female leaders who can act as role models.”
More than 20,000 sensors
The solution captures massive volumes of data flowing 24/7 from 20,000 sensors located across 20 plants. It’s then sent to a central database that stores and orchestrates distribution of relevant data streams to different software applications, each of which runs its own analytics.
These insights are then fed back to the solution’s common platform dashboard that provides historic, real-time and predictive information on all aspects of operations across the 20 plants. This is streamed to two parallel Generation Optimization Centers (GOC), one in Dammam, the other in Jeddah.
The GOC operators are able to predict availability of assets, the exact amount of electricity production possible, precise future fuel use, planned and unplanned maintenance and outages, and determine the most optimal mix of generating assets to deploy, based on fluctuating grid requirements, weather conditions, fuel supply, and the up-to-the-minute status of turbines, generators and other parts of the power plant.
The project is in line with Saudi Vision 2030, which aims to transform the economy by leveraging digital solutions across a range of sectors, including transportation, and reflects GE long-term commitment to support Saudi Arabia in leveraging Industrial Internet of Things solutions.
The suite of applications
- Operational Optimization/Operational Excellence
Operations Optimization delivers proactive recommendations by analyzing internal plant data, historical operational data, or external information in order to inform key resources, reduce production costs, and enhance plant flexibility. From plant managers to CEOs, every level of operations can tap into consistent visibility across systems, giving them the insight to act towards optimal operational excellence in compliance with standard regulations and emissions goals.
- Asset Performance Management
Performance solutions monitor assets and raise alerts when potential failure is detected. When a potential failure is found valid, it is marked valid and investigated further. When the potential failure is not valid, it is discarded. APM provides interfaces to monitor, analyze and manage such alerts.
- Business Optimization
Business Optimization is designed to help power producers leverage predictive analytics to make improved decisions around power trading, fuel purchases and portfolio management. The solution provides more accuracy in predicting output capacity and improving operating insights to intelligently make dispatch and trading decisions for the most financially positive outcomes possible, incremental revenues and margin.
The project began in March 2016 and is scheduled for full rollout at the 20 plants. More than 10 sites have already been connected – a gas turbine plant and a steam turbine plant, as references, ahead of full implementation across the whole fleet.
Read more stories here about how GE Digital is supporting is helping customers across the Middle East, North Africa, Turkey and Pakistan.