The United States Department of Energy (DOE) recently selected the EYESim™ virtual reality training solution from Invensys Operations Management (Australia) to be the centerpiece of a new training center to assist in the development of new generation zero-emission integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC) power plants with carbon capture.
The IGCC training center is part of the DOE’s initiative to develop new clean-coal power plants that burn fuel more efficiently to produce environmentally friendly electric power. Invensys will provide a full-scope, high-fidelity, real-time dynamic simulator for a generic IGCC plant with carbon capture.
“Industry experts agree that the age of near zero-emission clean coal power is here, and we believe that EYESim technology from Invensys is a scalable resource for the rapidly emerging clean-coal industry,” said Tom Fiske, Ph.D., ARC Advisory Group. “As a powerful design and training solution, it will create a safe, highly cost-efficient training environment, as well as develop expertise in the analysis, operation and control of commercial-scale IGCC plants.” In November 2008, Invensys announced that it had been awarded a contract by the DOE to simulate the IGCC process using its SimSci-Esscor DYNSIM® process modeling software. The most recent contract adds a 3-D virtual reality experience to that simulation.
“Using the combined solution capabilities of our SimSci-Esscor DYNSIM and EYESim technologies, we will build a high-fidelity model of a generic coal-fired IGCC power plant that designers and operators can interact with in real-time,” said Maurizio Rovaglio, Ph.D. and head of innovation and emerging technologies for Invensys Operations Management. “While similar to an immersive 3-D video game, this simulation is derived from powerful software that exactly models the physics of the plant’s operations, rather than being based on an artistic rendering.”
The process will involve wearing a stereoscopic headset as trainees enter the immersive environment and move freely throughout the facility, experiencing what they would see if they were in an actual plant. Because the software renders the virtual environment at 60 frames per second, the walkthrough is very realists. Additionally, EYESim augmented reality merges virtual plant imagery with data screens from asset management or other application software to provide additional detail on technology or procedures that can enhance the overall training experience.
The DOE will use these simulations in demonstration, education and training services, including IGCC plant operation and control demonstrations, technology familiarization and hands-on computer-based training. The NETL and its research and development partners also aim to use the simulator to showcase clean coal technology as a technically feasible way to support future electrical generation demand without emitting environmental pollutants or greenhouse gases.
“The work that NETL is doing is a great example of how advanced simulation technologies can be applied to help bring about a more sustainable future, and we are pleased that the DOE has selected us to participate in this important project,” Rovaglio said. “Jumpstarting this new industry with conventional training tools and methods would have been costly and time consuming. But the sooner we can implement safe, cost-effective clean energy, the more we all benefit.”