The Preferred Digital Twin Technology in the Nuclear Power Industry
PROCESSPLUS® - The Preferred Digital Twin
Technology in the Nuclear Power Industry
Among other technologies, digital twinning is increasingly viewed as one of the key innovations for increasing safety and efficiency in nuclear plants.
A digital twin is a digital model of a process that helps optimize or predict performance. And they are becoming more widespread in nuclear plants to help maintain and maximize operations.
Digital twinning technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and big data require operational data in large amounts. The quality of this data is paramount for the successful use of a digital twin.
This operational data comes from the process sensors, such as pressure, temperature and mass flow sensors in the physical process. Being real, physical sensors, they are contaminated with errors. Errors that almost always remain undetected. The impact of those errors can be substantial for any analysis or control system relying on operational data.
“The problem is to interpret this vast amount of mostly contradictory data”, says Dr. Magnus Langenstein, Director of Engineering company BTB Jansky.
“Also, there are process areas that have little or no instruments. To get quality data for those areas is of great importance for process optimization”, he says.
Garbage in – garbage out
“You must realize that the value of any advanced analytics technology such as AI, machine learning or big data is for a large part determined by the quality of the input data.” “If you feed them directly with operational process data, then these technologies are all tapping into a pool of contradicting data. That influences their reliability” Dr. Langenstein further explains.
“Using erroneous data can, and has, resulted in lost megawatts, overpower, wrong decisions in the prioritization of component retrofits, undetected inner and outer leakages, just to name a few”.
The solution to the problem would be to produce data which is contradiction-free and quality-assured. There is a technical standard that describes the methodology to achieve exactly this.
The Technical Standard VDI 2048 – solving the problem of erroneous input
“Currently the only technical standard which defines the methodology to generate contradiction-free data is the German standard VDI 2048” Dr. Langenstein states. “We are currently in the process of turning VDI 2048 into an ASME standard so that it becomes globally known and recognized.”
To date, the first software system on the market certified according to the standard for process data reconciliation technology is PROCESSPLUS®.
The system can be easily integrated in current NPP IT infrastructures, delivering resilient, contradiction-free and quality-assured process data even for process areas which are unmeasured, generating instant business cases for the operators.
PROCESSPLUS® – Contradiction-free and real-time process imaging with resilient and quality-assured process data
It is clear that contradiction free data is essential to any analytics done on process data. For that reason process data reconciliation earns a place in the foundation of any Digital Twinning technology, increasing its reliability and success.
“In addition to being the logical foundation of subsequent analytics systems, the use of reconciled data alone has already been proven to be very profitable”, according to Dr. Langenstein. “There is a long list of business cases which we have realized in the last 25 years”.
The $3.6 bn business case
The certified PROCESSPLUS® online reconciliation technology has been applied in over 45 nuclear power plants world-wide, generating resilient process data, supporting day-to-day operations and realizing several million dollars in additional revenue and savings each year.
“One of the main business cases for the use of reconciled data is the prevention of lost megawatts due to erroneous feed water flow measurements” Dr. Langenstein says. “On average, nuclear power plants world-wide lose 4 MWe due to nozzle fouling, orifice plate edge degradation or conservative ultrasonic flow measurements”.
“The business case of lost megawatts in nuclear power plants alone accumulates to EUR 3.20bn (US$ 3.61bn) on a 10 year scale, just by using certified data reconciliation with PROCESSPLUS®”, Dr. Langenstein postulates.
“PROCESSPLUS® continuously creates quality-assured process images of the entire process, instantly indicating deviations of measurements and component performance” states Dr. Langenstein, “making the technology indispensable for safe and efficient nuclear power operation”.
“To combine data reconciliation with Digital Twinning technologies is exciting” he says. “We deliver the highest quality data possible, it would be a missed opportunity to use anything less in advanced analytics”.
On a research and academic level, PROCESSPLUS® and BTB Jansky are involved in the Advanced Nuclear Research Center (ANRC) of the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) and in coding projects at the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME).
BTB Jansky is an engineering company providing expertise and software systems which enable utilities to maximize the safety and performance of their nuclear and fossil-fuel generation assets.
For more information on PROCESSPLUS® and BTB Jansky visit www.btbjansky.com or write to firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information on VDI 2048 visit https://www.beuth.de/en/technical-rule/vdi-2048-blatt-1/267500492
For information on the PROCESSPLUS® certification visit https://www.vdi.de/tg-fachgesellschaften/vdi-gesellschaft-energie-und-umwelt/zertifizierung-nach-vdi-2048-und-vdi-2055