How the renewable energy industry can leverage real-time analytics to improve asset performance
While renewable energy companies have developed advanced applications to improve diagnosing anomalies on wind turbines, for example, most are still taking a “trip first, analyze later” approach.
This operating method was acceptable when near real-time analytics or software applications were not available. Today, however, analytics can be applied seamlessly within the operational workflow of existing monitoring operations, resulting in several immediate benefits.
Automated real-time analytics for all renewables
First, for wind power, real-time analytics enable operators to avoid tripping turbines needlessly and reset tripped turbines faster, resulting in more power output due to higher availability. This application of automated analytics results in safer asset operations with consistent, automatic review of event data to drive decisions.
Second, complex analytics that are currently being processed in batch mode by diagnostic engineers can now happen automatically in near real time. This closes the gap between insights showing what is happening on the turbine and the ability to respond quickly, resulting in better wind farm performance.
Lastly, the use of real-time analytics makes monitoring operations of all renewable energy vastly more efficient, as diagnostic personnel and engineers are freed from routine tasks and can focus on increasing asset performance and uptime.
While some companies have shied away from near real-time analytics in the past, it is now easier than ever to deploy this type of monitoring operation that has low risk and high impact on energy assets.
In order to create successful digital transformation using real-time analytics, companies must implement a solution that:
Incorporates their Subject Matter Experts’ (SMEs’) knowledge, enabling engineers to collaborate and build analytics;
Provides automation of key business processes (e.g. fault diagnostics) and builds a foundation for more complex analytics (e.g. machine learning).
Having software built on your Subject Matter Experts’ knowledge is the best starting point.
Your SMEs and engineers have been monitoring and maintaining critical assets for years. Their knowledge is the best available expertise on how your equipment should be operated, maintained, and evaluated. Incorporating their knowledge on how to best analyze data from critical equipment is the ideal starting point for the application of real time analytics.
Analytic platforms providing purely Machine Learning or Artificial Intelligence can lack insight into the data and recommended next steps, therefore many engineers do not trust the results. Without human interpretation, more complex analytics, such as Machine Learning, have a difficult time achieving the desired outcome.
Using software that allows engineers to create analytics by themselves helps with the adoption of analytics.
Adopting new analytics and data driven business models is about changing the way business has been done for many years. Having software where your SMEs can interact and engage, without needing assistance from a data scientist or a software developer allows users to impact business outcomes faster and drive higher adoption.
Implementing software that automates current processes creates both short and long-term significant value.
As the volume of data generated by assets continues to grow exponentially, it is becoming more important to automate data analysis and diagnostic operations. Furthermore, having a tool that can automate these processes in a highly accurate and trusted way is crucial to an organization’s ability to generate value from digital transformation initiatives.
Deploying software with a solid foundation of your SMEs knowledge is the best way to approach implementing an entire suite of analytics.
Software configured by your own SMEs creates the optimal foundation for an entire range of analytics. Once expert knowledge is embedded in an automated system, like NarrativeWave, adding a full range of analytics becomes financially impactful to operations. For example, knowledge of what determines a false alarm can lead to a business insight, describing what turned a false alarm into a valid alarm. In contrast, an approach that solely tries to use Machine Learning or AI techniques without these key understandings can struggle with accuracy and not delivering significant value to the business.
Carbon dioxide removal revenues worth £2bn a year by 2030
Carbon dioxide removal revenues could reach £2bn a year by 2030 in the UK with costs per megatonne totalling up to £400 million, according to the National Infrastructure Commission.
Engineered greenhouse gas removals will become "a major new infrastructure sector" in the coming decades - although costs are uncertain given removal technologies are in their infancy - and revenues could match that of the UK’s water sector by 2050. The Commission’s analysis suggests engineered removals technologies need to have capacity to remove five to ten megatonnes of carbon dioxide no later than 2030, and between 40 and 100 megatonnes by 2050.
The Commission states technologies fit into two categories: extracting carbon dioxide directly out of the air; and bioenergy with carbon capture technology – processing biomass to recapture carbon dioxide absorbed as the fuel grew. In both cases, the captured CO2 is then stored permanently out of the atmosphere, typically under the seabed.
The report sets out how the engineered removal and storage of carbon dioxide offers the most realistic way to mitigate the final slice of emissions expected to remain by the 2040s from sources that don’t currently have a decarbonisation solution, like aviation and agriculture.
It stresses that the potential of these technologies is “not an excuse to delay necessary action elsewhere” and cannot replace efforts to reduce emissions from sectors like road transport or power, where removals would be a more expensive alternative.
The critical role these technologies will play in meeting climate targets means government must rapidly kick start the sector so that it becomes viable by the 2030s, according to the report, which was commissioned by government in November 2020.
Early movement by the UK to develop the expertise and capacity in greenhouse gas removal technologies could create a comparative advantage, with the prospect of other countries needing to procure the knowledge and skills the UK develops.
The Commission recommends that government should support the development of this new sector in the short term with policies that drive delivery of these technologies and create demand through obligations on polluting industries, which will over time enable a competitive market to develop. Robust independent regulation must also be put in place from the start to help build public and investor confidence.
While the burden of these costs could be shared by different parts of industries required to pay for removals or in part shared with government, the report acknowledges that, over the longer term, the aim should be to have polluting sectors pay for removals they need to reach carbon targets.
Polluting industries are likely to pass a proportion of the costs onto consumers. While those with bigger household expenditures will pay more than those on lower incomes, the report underlines that government will need to identify ways of protecting vulnerable consumers and to decide where in relevant industry supply chains the costs should fall.
Chair of the National Infrastructure Commission, Sir John Armitt, said taking steps to clean our air is something we’re going to have to get used to, just as we already manage our wastewater and household refuse.
"While engineered removals will not be everyone’s favourite device in the toolkit, they are there for the hardest jobs. And in the overall project of mitigating our impact on the planet for the sake of generations to come, we need every tool we can find," he said.
“But to get close to having the sector operating where and when we need it to, the government needs to get ahead of the game now. The adaptive approach to market building we recommend will create the best environment for emerging technologies to develop quickly and show their worth, avoiding the need for government to pick winners. We know from the dramatic fall in the cost of renewables that this approach works and we must apply the lessons learned to this novel, but necessary, technology.”
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and International Energy Agency estimate a global capacity for engineered removals of 2,000 to 16,000 megatonnes of carbon dioxide each year by 2050 will be needed in order to meet global reduction targets.
Yesterday Summit Carbon Solutions received "a strategic investment" from John Deere to advance a major CCUS project (click here). The project will accelerate decarbonisation efforts across the agriculture industry by enabling the production of low carbon ethanol, resulting in the production of more sustainable food, feed, and fuel. Summit Carbon Solutions has partnered with 31 biorefineries across the Midwest United States to capture and permanently sequester their CO2 emissions.
Cory Reed, President, Agriculture & Turf Division of John Deere, said: "Carbon neutral ethanol would have a positive impact on the environment and bolster the long-term sustainability of the agriculture industry. The work Summit Carbon Solutions is doing will be critical in delivering on these goals."
McKinsey highlights a number of CCUS methods which can drive CO2 to net zero:
- Today’s leader: Enhanced oil recovery Among CO2 uses by industry, enhanced oil recovery leads the field. It accounts for around 90 percent of all CO2 usage today
- Cementing in CO2 for the ages New processes could lock up CO2 permanently in concrete, “storing” CO2 in buildings, sidewalks, or anywhere else concrete is used
- Carbon neutral fuel for jets Technically, CO2 could be used to create virtually any type of fuel. Through a chemical reaction, CO2 captured from industry can be combined with hydrogen to create synthetic gasoline, jet fuel, and diesel
- Capturing CO2 from ambient air - anywhere Direct air capture (DAC) could push CO2 emissions into negative territory in a big way
- The biomass-energy cycle: CO2 neutral or even negative Bioenergy with carbon capture and storage relies on nature to remove CO2 from the atmosphere for use elsewhere