Online optimization of hybrid desalination plants

New approach to the economical optimization at Fujairah Water and Power Plant (FWPP) in UAE based on ABB online and offline optimization packages

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The rapid growth witnessed in the Middle East has brought with it the need for basic infrastructure like power and water services. Hybrid desalination plants are highly flexible and play a vital role in water and power production. However, increasing fuel prices and the need to conserve fuel resources are making it necessary to produce power and water in the most optimized way possible. The challenge of optimization lies in the large range of operational possibilities, which exist in short- and long term operation planning.

Desalination plants play an essential role in power and water production in the Middle East to meet the ever increasing and dynamic demands. In particular, the number of hybrid desalination plants being built is on the increase largely due to their flexibility in meeting different levels and combinations of production. However, these plants have a complex system structure; especially considering that at least two different desalination process types are used in one hybrid desalination plant. Nevertheless this structure is a hotbed of optimization possibilities.

One such hybrid desalination plant is located 20 km north of the city of Fujairah in the Gulf of Oman. Stringent cost pressure as a result of privatisation meant Fujairah’s operators were looking for optimization initiatives to reduce production costs. In 2005 the Fujairah Water and Power Plant (FWPP) installed different ABB optimization packages (from its OPTIMAX® applications family). This performance monitoring and optimization system is the subject of the following paragraphs.

Main facts

Industry Energy and utilities
Customer Fujairah Water and Power Plant (FWPP)
Country UAE
Process optimization software

The modular system structure of the optimization system realized in Fujairah is detailed in the report . Real-time data is collected from a Siemens Teleperm XP via an OPC server, a Siemens Win CC and a GE Mark V system. The data is stored in the long term real-time database, Power Generation Information Manager, or PGIM (former PlantConnect) from ABB, which is then used as a common data source for all the optimization tools and other applications.

PGIM is also a Plant Information Management System (PIMS) with a Human System Interface (HSI) enabling the user to view graphics, trends and reports. Performance indicators such as GT efficiency are calculated with the integrated software tool known as “Technical Calculation”.

A model-based tool which is able to accurately simulate thermodynamic behavior of a plant under varying ambient conditions and different steady-state operating conditions. In Fujairah, the model is used for:

  • Data validation: It reconciles online measurements to avoid measurement errors
  • MSF optimization: It gives optimal internal MSF operation setpoints at a given load
  • Fuel Demand Model: PowerCycle is used to calculate the expected fuel demand according to the plant design, and this is confirmed by performance measurements at plant take over

Other tools include:

  • PowerFit calculates optimal schedules. This software is mainly used as a tool for day ahead planning
  • BoilerLife determines the lifetime exhaustion of the main boiler components

The optimization solution realized in Fujairah comprises:

  • Load scheduling
  • Hybrid optimization
  • MSF optimization
  • Process optimization
  • Work process optimization

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