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Grid of Tomorrow with National Grid UK

The modern grid comes with new engineering challenges. In the United Kingdom, as renewable energy resources are being used to supplement fossil fuel production, power quality issues are surfacing. Combine this with the rapidly increasing demand for energy and the decommissioning of fossil fuel plants, and grid operators are finding that traditional measurement systems do not offer adequate coverage to handle these new challenges and manage the new risks the industry faces.

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  • SUPPLIER
  • National Instruments
    NI provides powerful, flexible technology solutions that accelerate productivity and drive rapid innovation. From daily tasks to grand challenges, NI helps engineers and scientists overcome complexity to exceed even their own expectations. Customers in nearly every industry—from healthcare and automotive to consumer electronics and particle physics—use NI’s integrated hardware and software platform to improve our world.
  • INDUSTRIES
  • Energy
  • FUNCTIONS
  • Product Development
  • CUSTOMER
  • National Grid UK
  • CONNECTIVITY PROTOCOLS
  • SOLUTION
  • Knowing it could not fix what it could not measure, National Grid UK adopted a platform, based on the CompactRIO system, that can provide more measurements and also adapt with the evolving grid for generations to come. This interconnected network includes 136 systems, with 110 permanently installed in substations throughout England and Wales and 26 portable units that provide on-the-go spot coverage as needed. The software application running on both versions is identical, which minimizes the impact on system integration, training, and support.

    National Grid UK selected the NI platform to develop a flexible, powerful, and connected measurement system capable of gathering and analyzing large amounts of data to better detect grid-wide trends. Compared to its existing infrastructure, implementing a smarter, more connected system allows National Grid UK to manage change, optimize energy sources, and plan for the future grid.

    With an open, flexible, software-designed instrument, National Grid UK engineers can customize the information available for grid operation and easily make upgrades as needs change. This approach improves grid monitoring and reliability while reducing the amount of equipment needed. Additionally, with the advanced processing power of CompactRIO, National Grid UK can easily maintain its network of connected systems and push intelligence down the grid to turn massive amounts of raw data into bits of useful information, keeping the lights on for millions of businesses and homes throughout the United Kingdom.
  • DATA COLLECTED
  • SOLUTION TYPE
  • SOLUTION MATURITY
  • Emerging (technology has been on the market for > 2 years)
  • OPERATIONAL IMPACT
  • QUANTITATIVE BENEFIT
  • USE CASES
  • Process Control & Optimization
    Process control and optimization (PCO) is the discipline of adjusting a process to maintain or optimize a specified set of parameters without violating process constraints. The PCO market is being driven by rising demand for energy-efficient production processes, safety and security concerns, and the development of IoT systems that can reliably predict process deviations. Fundamentally, there are three parameters that can be adjusted to affect optimal performance. - Equipment optimization: The first step is to verify that the existing equipment is being used to its fullest advantage by examining operating data to identify equipment bottlenecks. - Operating procedures: Operating procedures may vary widely from person-to-person or from shift-to-shift. Automation of the plant can help significantly. But automation will be of no help if the operators take control and run the plant in manual. - Control optimization: In a typical processing plant, such as a chemical plant or oil refinery, there are hundreds or even thousands of control loops. Each control loop is responsible for controlling one part of the process, such as maintaining a temperature, level, or flow. If the control loop is not properly designed and tuned, the process runs below its optimum. The process will be more expensive to operate, and equipment will wear out prematurely. For each control loop to run optimally, identification of sensor, valve, and tuning problems is important. It has been well documented that over 35% of control loops typically have problems. The process of continuously monitoring and optimizing the entire plant is sometimes called performance supervision.
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