Plant integrator

Hybridization is the next step in the energy transition: integrating conventional power plants, renewable energy sources and storage systems to reinforce their respective strengths and offset their limitations.

This means managing all inputs and power outputs as a single resource in order to achieve very fast regulation, increase “black start” capability and ensure grid stability. Capitalizing on years of experience as plant / system integrator and in the design of relevant high-complexity control systems, Ansaldo Energia has developed Plant Integrator as the digital enabler of next-generation hybrid plants. Plant Integrator is a combination of multiple software and hardware technologies, based on an algorithm which automatically optimises the operation and power generation of the plant.

All sources are physically and electronically controlled behind the electrical interconnection point: this allows each energy flow to be directed to the most convenient use at any given time.

The power supply to the electrical grid is decoupled from real-time plant operation, as produced energy can be switched to charge one or more energy storage systems – such as chemical, thermal, pumped-hydro or CO2 batteries. Thanks to optimal control of energy production and storage, Plant Integrator increases plant flexibility, provides ancillary services for grid support and limits the stress of the rotating engines. In addition to the overarching benefit of balancing offer and demand, Plant Integrator enables operators to supply the stored energy to the grid when demand and prices are higher.

Plant Integrator is supplied as a “Plug&Play” electronic cabinet, and comes complete with patented software and all relevant control systems. It is a proprietary solution developed by Ansaldo Energia, covered by several patents, and it represents the key enabling technology to make gas-fired plants operate within the renewable-driven electricity market of the future.

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