Some news from JERA Co., Inc. in Japan, who have started boiler operation optimization using AI at Hekinan Thermal Power Station;
The Coordinated AI for Coal-Fired Plant Assisting Operator (“CaCaO”), system which has begun operation, was designed to learn from massive amounts of power plant operating data and the expertise of experienced engineers to suggest to power plant operators the operation parameters that would optimize boiler operations. Operators follow CaCaO suggestions as they adjust the amount, location, and timing of air and fuel input to the boiler, then provide feedback about the results as they pursue best practices for minimizing costs associated with boiler operation such as fuel consumption, electricity use by auxiliary equipment, and the use of chemicals.
JERA, together with Tata Consultancy Services Japan, Ltd., which has a wealth of knowledge about and expertise in global IT and digital markets, has been working since fiscal 2018 to build a predictive model that uses multiple algorithms based on historical operating data and to develop an application that can predict optimal operating conditions based on real-time operating data for coal-fired power plants. After trial operation of the developed application (CaCaO) at Hekinan Thermal Power Station Unit 4 in fiscal 2021 confirmed its effectiveness at reducing costs through lower fuel consumption, JERA decided to start full-scale operation today.
JERA envisions a digital power plant that creates new value through a digital transformation that links data about power plant facilities and the people who work there, making this visible and usable in real time, while also combining its strengths in O&M kaizen (constant improvement) and the technological strengths it has developed over the years. CaCaO is one part of this initiative, and JERA will combine such applications to be implemented at its own power plants going forward while also considering their sale to other power generation companies in Japan and overseas.
In order to achieve a decarbonized future, JERA is working to develop zero-emission thermal power at Hekinan Thermal Power Station by using ammonia, which emits no CO2 during power generation, as a fuel for power generation. JERA is also working to reduce fuel consumption and environmental impact by making full use of digital technology. In addition, by achieving the digital power plant, JERA aims to improve the cost competitiveness and market responsiveness of its power plants and, by shifting to higher-value-added work at power plants, further increase the sophistication of its O&M.