An advanced analytics service developed by Sumitomo SHI FW (SFW) is providing insights to Vantaan Energia that are helping them to cut operational costs and carbon emissions. This service was co-developed with the customer and follows a boiler modernization project at their Martinlaakso plant that enabled the use of biomass for power production.
Sumitomo SHI FW (SFW) and Vantaan Energia have come a long way in a very short space of time to develop a cloud-based analytics service that is already delivering tangible benefits in the form of reduced fossil-fuel consumption, OPEX, and carbon dioxide emissions. The success of this co-creation initiative has been made possible through close collaboration and by pooling the deep expertise from both organizations.
“The process began back in April 2019 with scoping workshops to understand how our expertise could help Vantaan Energia harmonize and optimize production from the refurbished boiler asset,” says Sakari Aulanko, Program Manager, Innovation & IoT, SFW. “The forecasts and actual energy production weren’t matching up, so Vantaan Energia was suffering losses in energy trading.
Working together towards a common goal
The co-creation process brought together traders, operators, and maintenance staff from the customer side with SFW’s engineering, services, and analytics experts. The outcome was an analytics service that would use plant data to maximize the biomass boiler output at Martinlaakso without impacting plant availability.
Essentially, the service provides operators and traders with real-time data on the maximum production output that can be achieved with the current fuel mix. With this information operators will be able to increase the output safely and without compromising availability, and reduce the use of more expensive, fossil-based fuels elsewhere. It is also hoped that power traders will benefit by having accurate information available when planning trading and asset utilization.
Leveraging in-house expertise from both sides
SFW’s analytics and cloud-transformation expertise proved invaluable in the development process “We arranged workshops with operators and managers to clarify different use cases and examine how to add maximum value for the different stakeholders,” Aulanko explains. “The close collaboration with Vantaan Energia’s IT team was really valuable, too, in terms of creating trust and confidence in what we were doing from a technical and cyber-security perspective.”
In just 14 weeks the advanced analytics service went from an idea on a flip chart to a viable proof of concept that was ready for piloting at the Martinlaakso plant.
Optimizing and harmonizing production while cutting costs and emissions
With real-time process data at their fingertips, operations staff can make informed decisions about how to safely increase the energy output of the biomass boiler. What’s more, the recommendations are available at all times to all staff, meaning that, moving forward, it will be possible to harmonize operations between shifts too.
“Having undertaken the boiler refurbishment in order to increase the use of cheaper and more environmentally friendly biomass fuels, it was only natural that Vantaan Energia wanted to get maximum value from their new asset as quickly as possible,” says Ilkka Koskinen, Director, Long Term Service Agreements, SFW. “The advanced analytics service is already helping them to cut down their use of fuels like coal and oil without any impact on production output, which of course means less CO2 emissions overall.”
Laying the groundwork for a revolution in thermal power markets
The co-creation project represents a major milestone for SFW in its mission to identify new, more sustainable business models for energy producers and is also a tangible example of how digitalization can help to enable these new approaches.
“The numbers are there for all to see in terms of clear customer value. The co-creation project with Vantaan Energia has reinforced our vision that digital services will revolutionize traditional thermal power markets, and we are well placed to be a pioneer in the field,” Koskinen says. “The service has the potential to provide huge benefits for operators with both biomass and fossil-fuel based generation assets, especially in combined heat and power (CHP) plants.”
“For us, it’s also important to highlight that behind all the numbers and data, this was a very human project – a truly collaborative effort that brought together experts from both sides to achieve a common goal.”
The plan is for Vantaan Energia to take the service into commercial use under an agreement with SFW. As part of a continuing partnership, SFW will enhance the analytics service to further improve reliability, economy, and environmental performance at the Martinlaakso plant.
- From idea to proof of concept in just 14 weeks
- 5% increase in biomass-based energy production
- Co-creation team of 16 people
About Sumitomo SHI FW:
Sumitomo SHI FW (SFW) is a global, innovative provider of energy technologies and services focusing on low emissions, high efficiency and fuel flexibility. Our solutions expand beyond fluidized bed (CFB) technologies, covering long duration energy storage solutions (Liquified Air Energy Storage, ”LAES”), flue gas cleaning, gasification, waste heat boilers and a full spectrum of services for the global power and industrial markets.
Our vision is to broaden our portfolio of products and services for decarbonization, decentralization and digitalization of energy industry by advancing our in-house technologies and developing alliances with new partners. Our goal is to provide sustainable energy solutions for all types of power applications relies on ~1 500 talented people with deep know-how and experience in the industry. We are a part of Sumitomo Heavy Industries Ltd.
For more information, please visit: https://www.shi-fw.com/