ABB digital solutions reduce site maintenance at Imperial College London’s award winning carbon capture pilot plant

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The plant has been upgraded so that its devices can be connected to the cloud using ABB Ability™ Field Information Manager software. Using device diagnostic data, daily health checking is performed using the ABB Ability™ Verification for measurement devices cloud software.

ABB have collaborated with Imperial College London to build a state-of-the-art pilot plant providing a real-life test bed for chemical engineering students to be trained on different process aspects of carbon capture. ABB Ability™ is our unified, cross-industry digital capability — extending from device to edge to cloud — with devices, systems, solutions, services and a platform that enable our customers to know more, do more, do better, together. The facility is fitted with an ABB Ability™ System 800xA control system and a comprehensive array of measurement instruments and analyzers from ABB which monitor and measure the performance of the plant and the conditions under which the carbon capture process are run. This latest upgrade heralds a new era in plant operation and maintenance utilizing cloud technology.

Building on the huge success of the plant as a teaching and research facility ABB Ability™ technology will enhance the physical availability of the plant by reducing site maintenance intervals. Typically the huge array of sensors are inspected and maintained annually but, these maintenance visits, can be eliminated in some cases and performed every other year for the most critical measurements. Through the myABB business portal the device status is accessible 24 hours a day, 7 days a week via the cloud enabling the students to access the plant data from wherever they are.

A number of cloud based digital solutions have been integrated into the plant including the ground-breaking ABB Ability™ Verification for measurement devices. Utilizing the data rich internal diagnostics within ABB’s smart instrumentation and ABB’s FDI powered Field Information Manager, an application has been developed that can calculate whether an instrument is operating within specific accuracy limits. ABB invented this verification technology over 20 years ago but has now taken this technology to the next level by pioneering cloud-based verification. Using Edge computing technology device’s diagnostic information is sent automatically to the cloud. The plant operator, who in the past,  would typically arrange for their instrumentation to be annually verified or calibrated in accordance with Quality management system requirements or local regulations, can now choose to perform automated verification tests  at any time interval. Performing these tests on a daily basis as an example will help ensure that devices are operating at their peak performance and any degradation of performance can be identified before problems escalate into a process shutdown situation.

Verification has long been used for testing electromagnetic flow meters but through ABB Ability™ Verification for measurement devices other instrumentation devices can now be tested. This solution provides a valuable service to operators globally who require a cost effective, reliable and simple maintenance method and builds on ABB Measurement and Analytics philosophy of measurement made easy.

Dr. Daryl R Williams, Director of the Discovery Space in the Department of Chemical Engineering responsible for the plant believes:

“This important enhancement to our pilot plant will not only ensure that the down time for the plant is minimized, but it will allow our students to learn at first-hand about the new cloud and remote access based technologies that will transform how process plants will be run and maintained in the future.”

About Imperial College

Imperial College London is one of the world’s leading universities. The College’s 17,000 students and 8,000 staff are expanding the frontiers of knowledge in science, medicine, engineering and business, and translating their discoveries into benefits for our society.

Imperial is the UK’s most international university, according to Times Higher Education, with academic ties to more than 150 countries. Reuters named the College as the UK’s most innovative university because of its exceptional entrepreneurial culture and ties to industry.

About ABB

ABB (ABBN: SIX Swiss Ex) is a pioneering technology leader in electrification products, robotics and motion, industrial automation and power grids, serving customers in utilities, industry and transport & infrastructure globally. Continuing a history of innovation spanning more than 130 years, ABB today is writing the future of industrial digitalization with two clear value propositions: bringing electricity from any power plant to any plug and automating industries from natural resources to finished products. As title partner of Formula E, the fully electric international FIA motorsport class, ABB is pushing the boundaries of e-mobility to contribute to a sustainable future. ABB operates in more than 100 countries with about 135,000 employees.


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