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Visualization and control of the processes at the Pacov Biogas Power Plant

In 2011, a new biogas power plant with the output of 750 kW was put into operation in the town of Pacov. The power plant is used to process biological waste – slurry from the breeding of livestock. During the process of anaerobic digestion, biogas – methane (CH4) – is produced. It is collected in storage tanks and then used for the simultaneous generation of electricity and heat (cogeneration). Thanks to the connection of the cogeneration unit to the high-voltage grid, the produced electricity is delivered to the power grid. The cogeneration unit's cooling system is the source of heat energy. Heat energy is then used for the heating of the biogas power plant itself and the adjacent poultry house.

The biogas power plant control and visualization systems were implemented by the South Moravian company ELTOS Hradek.

Control system

Prior to the installation of the control and visualization systems, all processes had been analyzed. Subsequently, a control system by Unitronics and the Reliance SCADA/HMI system were installed. Reliance is responsible for the visualization of the biogas power plant processes.

Five Unitronics V280 PLCs are used to control the processes. The primary PLC receives information from the four secondary PLCs and simultaneously provides operating data to Reliance. The entire system is interconnected by a computer network and its parts communicate with one another via the TCP/IP protocol.

The Reliance system is installed on the operator room's PC. For clarity's sake, the biogas power plant processes are visualized on five visualization windows that help the operating personnel to monitor or control:

  • The overview screen displaying real-time values from the biogas power plant
  • The substrate treatment process (grinding slurry – the substrate is used as the primary material for the production of methane)
  • The process of biowaste pasteurization
  • The process of anaerobic digestion
  • The collection of methane (CH4) in storage tanks
  • The process of storing digestate (the residual material remaining after anaerobic digestion)
  • The process of heating the biogas power plant
  • The process of heating the poultry house

To track down errors from the operation of the power plant, a report and an alarm database were created in the Reliance system. Error messages and alarms can be sent to recipients as email or text messages. The operating and managing personnel can also access the visualization project remotely via Reliance 4 Web Client.

Examples of visualization windows

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