Emerson’s automation technology chosen by Europlasma for innovative waste-to-energy gasification facility in France


Emerson’s digital automation technology is being used to control a new waste and biomass fed power station at Morcenx in south western France.

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Ovation™ expert control system provides flexible and accurate control of the world’s most powerful biomass gasification plant

PITTSBURGH (April 22, 2013) -- CHO-Power, part of the Europlasma Group, is using Emerson Process Management’s digital automation technology to control a new waste and biomass fed power station at Morcenx in southwestern France. By providing flexible and accurate control of an innovative gasification process, Emerson’s Ovation expert control system is enabling the plant to operate at maximum efficiency.

The new Morcenx gasification facility will generate 12 MW of power from 150 metric tonnes per day of industrial and wood waste, making it the most powerful plant of its type worldwide. The efficient use of waste and biomass fuel helps the plant support European energy guidelines promoting the use of continuous-source renewable energy with low COemissions. Start-up was in autumn 2012, and the plant was commissioned to the grid at the beginning of 2013.

The Morcenx power station is the first of its type to use an innovative and highly efficient gasification principle based on patented 'Turboplasma' equipment to transform waste into syngas. The 1200°C temperatures generated from the plasma torch produce a very pure syngas that is used to drive the turbine and generate electricity.  In addition, 18 MWth of hot water from the cooling system is used to heat a vegetable greenhouse and a wood drier.

“We selected Emerson’s Ovation system because it provides the levels of flexibility and control needed to cope with the varying characteristics of biomass fuels,” said Yannick Ferriere, project manager, CHO Power. “Also critical was Emerson’s extensive project management experience with biomass power generating plants, as well as its technical support including engineering, configuration of the Ovation system, training, start-up assistance and maintenance.”

The Ovation system, together with AMS Suite predictive maintenance software and smart instrumentation, is part of Emerson’s PlantWeb digital plant architecture that provides both advanced control and asset management capability for the Morcenx facility.

The Ovation system will perform data acquisition and monitor and control all major plant components to provide improved unit stability, responsiveness and thermal efficiencies; tighter overall control of plant operations; and a more concise view of key plant and turbine parameters. The system provides embedded advanced algorithms and proven control routines that continually adjust the combustion process to compensate for the varying characteristics of biomass fuels. This maximizes both boiler and plant efficiency. The Ovation system interfaces with the GE steam turbine, gas treatment system and gas engine using Profibus-DP communications. 

An Ovation SIS (safety instrumented system) provides SIL-3 protection for the boiler systems. Complying with the stringent international standard IEC 61511, Ovation SIS employs digital intelligence and diagnostics to provide an integrated complete-safety-loop approach that helps increase process availability, reduce lifecycle costs and ease regulatory compliance.

Emerson also provided a broad range of instrumentation for the power station, including Rosemount® temperature, pressure and flow transmitters; Fisher® control valves; and Rosemount Smart Wireless temperature transmitters. AMS Suite software will enable maintenance and operations personnel to predict equipment issues to better maintain and protect the machinery.

“We are delighted that Europlasma has chosen our automation technologies for this innovative power facility,” said Bob Yeager, president of the Power & Water Solutions business unit of Emerson Process Management. “Our technologies, services and support have made a significant contribution to this project, which will develop into a key part of Europe’s renewable generating capacity.”

A detailed market study by CHO Power shows that 650 new advanced gasification power plants will have to be built in Europe by 2030 to meet EU renewable energy targets. Of these 107 would be required in the UK and a further 126 in France.

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Emerson (NYSE: EMR), headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri (USA), is a global technology and engineering company providing innovative solutions for customers in industrial, commercial, and residential markets. Our Emerson Automation Solutions business helps process, hybrid, and discrete manufacturers maximize production, protect personnel and the environment while optimizing their energy and operating costs. Our Emerson Commercial and Residential Solutions business helps ensure human comfort and health, protect food quality and safety, advance energy efficiency, and create sustainable infrastructure. For more information visit Emerson.com.

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