New Study: Power Generators Can Save Millions in Wet Scrubber Construction Costs Utilizing Emerson’s PlantWeb® Digital Plant Architecture

  • December 01, 2004
  • Emerson Automation Solutions
  • News
PITTSBURGH (Nov. 30, 2004) — By adopting Emerson Process Management’s PlantWeb® digital plant architecture, the power generation industry can substantially reduce the cost and time associated with wet scrubber construction. “Power generators are finding it necessary to make significant capital expenditures in environmental technologies, such as scrubbers, to comply with increasingly stringent environmental regulations,” said Al Novak, business development manager, new coal-fired generation, for Emerson’s Power & Water Solutions division. Novak explains that PlantWeb is a proven solution utilizing high-speed communications networks, intelligent field devices and bus I/O technologies that enables power generators to achieve higher levels of plant availability, reliability and performance. “Emerson is committed to helping our customers who are implementing or planning environmental compliance projects achieve significant cost savings and operational benefits by leveraging PlantWeb’s digital architecture,” he continued. Study Reinforces Benefits to Digital Bus-Based Architecture The PlantWeb approach advocated by Emerson is validated by “Economic Impact of Digital Bus Technology on Wet Scrubber Construction,” a study conducted by JDI Contracts Inc., and released today at POWER-GEN International 2004. The study identified and compared construction costs for two approaches to instrumentation & control (I&C) system implementation for an $82.5 million, wet Flue Gas Desulphurization (FGD) installation at a 660-megawatt power plant. The traditional I/O system approach utilized dedicated field cables to hardwire non-intelligent field devices to I/O cards. The digital bus-based approach featured digital bus I/O, high-speed field communication networks and intelligent field device technology. Researchers determined that the digital bus-based approach to wet scrubber construction streamlined the process, providing opportunities for reduced costs in all areas studied. In total, costs associated with wet scrubber construction for a traditional I&C system were approximately $7.7 million, compared with approximately $3.9 million for the digital bus-based approach, resulting in a savings of nearly $3.9 million. This represents nearly 5 percent savings in total construction costs for the $82.5 million FGD scrubber compared with the same project implemented using a traditional hardwired I/O approach, and a 50 percent reduction in I&C design and installation costs considered. Regulations on the Rise The findings of this study are timely: Environmental compliance spending is expected to increase for the foreseeable future as legislation, such as the pending 2003 Clear Skies Initiative, is adopted. According to the EPA, the Clear Skies Initiative calls for a 73 percent total reduction in SO2, a 67 percent reduction in NOx and a 69 percent reduction in Mercury emissions by 2018. This will have a significant impact on utilities across the United States. In fact, over the next few years, spending for air quality control could exceed $26 billion in the United States alone, according to the 2004 Power Industry Forecast from Industrial Information Resources Inc. There are currently more than 300 projects identified in the power industry to address air pollution reduction measures: 83 projects, representing more than $4.9 billion in capital spending were identified for 2004; more than 220 projects, valued at $22 billion, are scheduled to begin construction in 2005 and 2006. “Given the opportunities for significant cost savings and ongoing operational benefits, utilities owe it to themselves and their stakeholders to consider the PlantWeb approach when planning and implementing scrubber projects,” said Novak. Power Driven. Power Proven. The Ovation® expert control system, a key component of PlantWeb, was designed and built for the power generation industry and has been proven in thousands of power installations worldwide. Ovation’s integrated digital bus features leverage Foundation™ fieldbus, HART, DeviceNet™ and Profibus DP industry standard communications protocols to deliver predictive intelligence from intelligent field devices – including Rosemount® transmitters and analyzers, Micro Motion® Coriolis flowmeters, and Fisher® digital valves. These devices use on-board microprocessors and diagnostic software to monitor equipment health and performance, as well as process performance, giving power generators the ability to detect problems even before they occur. PlantWeb’s predictive intelligence is further enhanced by Emerson’s AMS™ Suite of software applications that capture and analyze information about mechanical equipment, electrical systems, process equipment, instruments and valves, thereby providing a window into plant operations. Ovation incorporates embedded advanced control applications tailored to meet the challenges of electricity generation. Furthermore, Emerson’s SmartProcess® optimization software targets NOx optimization, SO2 compliance and opacity control for a single unit or across a fleet of plants, enabling utilities to achieve optimal equipment performance for emissions compliance, temperature control and efficiency, and overall continuous operational improvement. From traditional coal-fired plants to the latest combined-cycle and renewable energy plants, Novak emphasizes that Emerson has experienced firsthand how PlantWeb has helped customers control critical processes, meet stringent environmental regulations, increase plant efficiencies and megawatt production, and realize long-term O&M savings. “We’ve seen again and again that the wealth of meaningful information delivered by Emerson’s proven PlantWeb automation strategy provides opportunities for power generators to achieve long-term financial and operational rewards,” said Novak. “This study further reinforces PlantWeb’s value as a proven strategy for building solutions that translate into sustainable performance improvements and long-term bottom-line savings.” About Emerson Process Management Emerson Process Management (,an Emerson business, is a leader in helping businesses automate their production, processing and distribution in the power, water and wastewater treatment, chemical, oil and gas, refining, pulp and paper, food and beverage, pharmaceutical, and other industries. Emerson's Power & Water Solutions division ( is a global supplier of advanced distributed process control and information systems. The Pittsburgh-based company is a recognized leader in developing plant-wide process control solutions for the power generation, water treatment and wastewater treatment industries. Power & Water Solutions plays a key role in the Emerson mission of combining superior products and technology with industry-specific engineering, consulting, project management and maintenance services. Emerson brands include: PlantWeb®; Ovation®; SmartProcess®; Fisher®; MicroMotion®; Rosemount®; Daniel®; DeltaV™; and AMS™ Suite. About Emerson St. Louis-based Emerson ( is a global leader in bringing technology and engineering together to provide innovative solutions to customers in process control; electronics and telecommunications; industrial automation; heating, ventilating and air conditioning; and appliance and tools. Sales in fiscal 2004 were $15.6 billion.

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