NETL Deploys IGCC 3D Virtual Immersive Training System at AVESTAR Center
NETL’s AVESTAR team completed the successful deployment and site acceptance testing of a first-of-a-kind 3D virtual immersive training system (ITS) for a commercial-scale IGCC power plant with carbon capture. When combined with AVESTAR’s state-of-the-art, real-time, high-fidelity IGCC dynamic simulator, the innovative virtual reality technology provides engineers, operators, researchers, and students with hands-on operations, control, and safety experience in a highly realistic, integrated, IGCC plant and control room environment.
Wearing wireless 3D video glasses or a personal 3D viewer head mounted display, ITS users can interact with IGCC plant equipment items (e.g., valves, pumps, gasifier), activate transparent views (e.g., liquid level in a tank), display pop-up trends (e.g., gas turbine combustor temperature over time), and experience equipment sound effects (e.g., pump start/stop), malfunctions (e.g., leaks, fires), and visual training scenarios (e.g., CO2 absorber column operation). Using the ITS, IGCC field operators can coordinate activities with control room operators. Immersed in the virtual environment, field operators can move and interact as if they were in the real plant. The environment is fully interactive with the dynamic simulation models, so actions taken by a field operator will have an impact on the process and actions performed in the control room will change the information visible to the field operator. As a result, field and control room operators are trained to coordinate their activities and perform collaboratively as a team. Additional benefits include training for safety-critical tasks, rare abnormal situations, and emergency shutdowns.
With collaborators from West Virginia University, Fossil Consulting Services, and Invensys Operations Management, the AVESTAR team installed and tested the ITS hardware consisting of an instructor station computer, two field operator station computers, 3D projectors, 3D LCD screens, and a head-mounted 3D visor for viewing the virtual plant environment. The ITS computers were added to the AVESTAR local area network to enable real-time use with computers running the high-fidelity IGCC dynamic simulator and operator training system deployed at the AVESTAR Center in March 2011. Invensys’s EYESIM® virtual reality software and DYNSIM® dynamic simulation software and models were tested for usability and performance when integrated together seamlessly as an interactive 3D virtual IGCC power plant. Upon successful completion of site acceptance testing, Invensys also provided the AVESTAR team with comprehensive training on ITS software setup, configuration, and maintenance, as well as customization of 3D plant equipment, malfunctions, and other virtual content such as trend displays and web browsers.
For more detailed information on the IGCC virtual plant simulator and its use in workforce training, engineering education, and advanced R&D, please visit the AVESTAR web site at www.netl.doe.gov/avestar.
ControlGlobal.com Article: Immersive Simulator Boosts Operator Preparedness (October 22, 2012)
Invensys Press Release: U.S. Department of Energy Deploys Virtual Reality Training Solution (October 16, 2012)
NETL News Release: DOE AVESTAR Center Deploys 3-D Virtual Training System (October 2, 2012)