The US Department of Energy (DOE) will soon implement state of the art simulation software from Invensys Operations Management as a training tool in the development of new, zero-emission integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC) power plants with carbon capture. The software, called EYESim, will simulate the IGCC process using its SimSci-Esscor DYNSIM process modeling product that features 3D virtual reality experiences.
IGCC is a technology that turns coal into synthetic gas called syngas. It then removes impurities from the coal gas before it is combusted. This results in lower emissions of sulfur dioxide, particulates, and mercury. Excess heat from the primary combustion and generation is then passed to a steam cycle, similarly to a combined cycle gas turbine. This then is said to result in improved efficiency compared to conventional pulverized coal. Both because it can be found in abundance in America and many other countries and because the price of it has remained relatively constant in recent years. Coal is used for about 50% of US electricity needs. Thus, the lower emissions that IGCC technology allows may be important in the future as emission regulations tighten due to growing concern for the impacts of pollutants on the environment and the globe.The DOE’s National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) will operate the simulator at both its Dynamic Simulator Research & Training Center in Morgantown, W. Va. and at a satellite location at West Virginia University’s National Research Center for Coal and Energy.
“Industry experts agree that the age of near zero-emission clean coal power is here, and we believe that EYESim technology is a scalable resource for the rapidly emerging clean-coal industry,” said Tom Fiske, Ph.D., ARC Advisory Group. “As a powerful design and training solution, it will create a safe, highly cost-efficient training environment, as well as develop expertise in the analysis,operation, and control of commercial-scale IGCC plants.”
Wearing a stereoscopic headset, trainees enter the immersive environment and move freely throughout the facility, seeing exactly what they would see if they were in an actual plant. The walkthrough is realistic because the software renders the virtual environment at 60 frames/sec — faster than what can be achieved by traditional, non real-time rendering. Moreover, EYESim augmented reality merges virtual plant imagery with data screens from asset management or other application software to provide additional detail on technology or procedures that can enhance the overall training experience.
The DOE will use these simulations in demonstration, education, and training services, including IGCC plant operation and control demonstrations, technology familiarization, and hands-on computer-based training. In addition to training and plant design functions, the NETL and its research and development partners will use the simulator to showcase clean coal technology as a technically feasible way to support future electrical generation demand without emitting environmental pollutants or greenhouse gases.
Editor’s note: Virtual reality software has been around for many years and used primarily for the gaming, educational, and science arenas. The government has traditionally been slow to adapt new technology or make paradigm changes to age old processes and procedures. Do you think this virtual reality contract at the DOE will speed up the development of new eco-friendly power production? Send your comments to me at the Engineering Exchange @ www.engineeringexchange.com
Department of Energy
Filed Under: Energy management + harvesting, Green engineering, Simulation, Software, Virtual reality