Control system maturity means everything

Interview with China Resources Power Holdings.

China Resources Power Holdings (CR Power) is one of the largest power generation companies in China. The company produces around 23,300 MW of electricity from more than 70 power plants throughout the country. Almost half of the power generated by CR Power (more than 10,000 MW) is from units controlled by ABB distributed control systems of the Symphony Harmony family.

One of the most recent is a new 700 MW coal-fired power plant in Yichang. It is the fi rst plant to become operational with ABB’s new HPC800 DIN-rail controllers, part of the Symphony Plus portfolio of total plant automation products and systems.

We asked Liao Xiong, the plant’s instrumentation and control director, for his thoughts on working with ABB and his experience of the plant’s Symphony Plus control system and HPC800 controllers. “A mature, user-friendly and reliable control system is critical for the smooth operation of the plant. Symphony Plus meets those criteria,” he says.

Please describe your role and responsibilities at the plant.

I am I&C (instrumentation and control) director at the Yichang Power Plant, and am responsible for the management of all matters relating to I&C at the plant. These include safety, product management, technical consultation, equipment reliability, energy saving, maintenance planning, and so on. 

Please explain why CR Power decided to invest in a new plant in this location?

The plant is located in Xiaoting, which is a major industrial park in Yichang, Hubei province. There are many factories and facilities in the park that produce textiles, chemicals, construction materials and electronic devices. In recent years, numerous well-known domestic and foreign companies have set up businesses or offices in the park.

Previously, the power and heat requirements of the park were provided by several old power plants that were inefficient and heavy polluters. Our plant replaces these obsolete facilities with a new high-effi ciency thermal power plant that improves energy efficiency and cuts greenhouse gas emissions at the park. The plant feeds power into the local power grid, although we are working to change this and trade directly with the companies in the industrial park in the near future.

Would you describe some of the plant’s technical features?

The plant is a subcritical coal-fired plant. The boilers were made by Harbin Boiler Company; they have an efficiency rate of 93.91%. The turbines are manufactured by Dongfang Turbine Company, and have an inner efficiency of 89.6%. The generators are also from Dongfang – the Dongfang Generator Company – and have an efficiency rate of 98.85%. There are 8,200 I/O points in unit 1, and 1,200 hard-wired I/O points for the common system of the two units. Both units are equipped with flue gas desulfurization and selective catalytic reduction systems to minimize emissions.

Symphony Plus is ABB’s plant automation system for conventional and renewable power generation and water applications worldwide. It builds on the 30-year evolutionary history of the Symphony family – the most widely used DCS in the power and water industries. 

Why did you select ABB as your DCS vendor and Symphony Plus as your plant automation system?

ABB has a good reputation in the global and Chinese power markets, and rich experience in control applications in power generation. Symphony Plus has proved easy to use, operate and maintain, and it supports Chinese characters, which makes it very convenient for users.

In power generation a mature, userfriendly and reliable control system is critical for the smooth operation of the plant. Symphony Plus is a mature technology that meets those criteria. For that reason, and for the excellent service that we have received from ABB in the past, we chose ABB as our DCS vendor.

Yichang Power Plant has been operating for several months. What is your experience in this short time of using the Symphony Plus control system and the HPC800 controllers?

The operation of Symphony Plus and HPC800 is going very well. No incidents have occurred since we started full production in March 2014.

We’ve had some teething problems with frequency faults in the software. And we found that too many people had access rights to the human machine interface, which could have led to mistakes. But these have been rectified. When difficulties occurred ABB assigned the necessary engineers onsite speedily, and provided great support during commissioning. We appreciate the good work that the ABB engineers performed.

ABB has supplied plant automation systems for 18 power plants owned by CR Power. Together these plants generate more than 10,000 MW of electricity. What is your company’s experience of using these plant automation systems?

I can only speak for my area of responsibility at the Yichang Power Plant.

But from what I understand, ABB has supplied the distributed control systems for some of our largest and most modern plants in China – subcritical, supercritical and ultra-supercritical. The ABB control systems range from INFI 90 to Symphony Harmony and now Symphony Plus. Several of these projects are ongoing, so I assume that the relationship between CR Power and ABB on a national level is as good as the one I have experienced on a local level in Yichang.

Liao Xiong

Instrumentation and Control Director, Yichang Power Plant

The ABB solution for Yichang Power Plant

Symphony Plus total plant automation system for 2 x 350 MW units and 9,400 I/O points. The solution includes:

  • S+ Operations human machine interface
  • S+ Engineering unified engineering workbench
  • HPC800 controllers
  • S800 I/O system
  • Control room

ABB was also responsible for design, engineering, commissioning support and testing, and has supplied a broad range of electrical products for the plant.

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In Control - 02 | 2014

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