Washington, D.C. — The U.S. Department of Energy’s AVESTAR™ Center has taken a major step forward with the successful deployment and site acceptance testing of a new 3-D virtual immersive training system for integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC) power plants with carbon capture. The training center, launched in 2011, continues to build its portfolio of dynamic simulators, virtual plant technologies, and advanced research capabilities to satisfy industry’s growing need for training and experience in the operation and control of high-efficiency, near-zero-emissions energy plants.
The AVESTAR (Advanced Virtual Energy Simulation Training and Research) team—which includes the Office of Fossil Energy's National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL), Invensys Operations Management, West Virginia University, and Fossil Consulting Services—installed and tested the training system hardware in July 2012. Included are an instructor station computer, two field operator station computers, 3-D projectors, 3-D LCD screens, and a head-mounted 3-D visor for viewing a virtual IGCC plant. Wearing the head-mounted visor or wireless 3-D video glasses, users can interact with IGCC plant equipment in real-time, activate transparent views of equipment internals, display pop-up trends of key process variables, and experience equipment sound effects, malfunctions, and visual training scenarios.
Training field operators is becoming more and more important as complex IGCC power plants become a reality. The 3-D immersive training system deployed by Invensys is the first of its kind to address those needs on an industrial scale. Combining the immersive 3-D virtual plant environment with AVESTAR’s existing high-fidelity, real-time IGCC dynamic simulator allows control room and field operators to coordinate their actions and work together as a team. Additional benefits include collaborative training for safety-critical tasks, rare occurrences, and emergency shutdowns. Aside from training and research applications, NETL and its AVESTAR partners use these realistic, hands-on systems to showcase clean coal technologies that support a clean energy future.
With fossil fuel sources accounting for approximately 80 percent of national and international energy production, it’s important to have a national laboratory like NETL innovating systems to improve day-to-day operation of advanced clean-energy plants. By creating better-trained operators and engineers, NETL is helping the energy industry to run these plants cost-effectively and with greater safety and reliability.
AVESTAR’s new immersive training system and existing IGCC dynamic simulator were developed using Invensys Operations Management’s EYESIM 3-D virtual reality technology and DYNSIM high-fidelity dynamic simulation software.