Sumitomo SHI FW and Vantaa Energy reduce environmental impact of energy production with the help of AI

Source: press release, 19 January 2022

Vantaa Energy’s Martinlaakso power plant
Vantaa Energy’s Martinlaakso power plant (photo: Vantaa Energy)

Vantaa Energy and Sumitomo SHI FW (SFW) continue their close collaboration in developing artificial intelligence solutions for reducing the environmental impacts of energy production. As a result of a joint pilot project launched in 2020, the AI solutions are based on the utilisation of process data and advanced analytics. The partnership was deepened last November with the introduction of an application for optimising soot blowing at Vantaa Energy’s Martinlaakso power plant. Regular soot blowing of selected heat-surfaces – on a needs-based schedule – enables more efficient production capacity for the plant’s boiler.

The partnership contributes to Vantaa Energy’s target of achieving carbon negativity by 2030.

In a joint pilot project, Vantaa Energy and Sumitomo SHI FW have developed a cloud-based analytics service for optimising the output of power plants. The service was deployed at Vantaa Energy’s Martinlaakso power plant in early 2020. The solution model developed by the partners uses real-time process data to visualise the capability of the power plant’s boiler in key figures and graphs. These can be easily interpreted by the plant’s operators. Deeper understanding of the data means more predictable boiler operation and optimised performance. Thanks to the system, Vantaa Energy has been able to increase its use of biofuels and reduce use of fossil fuels since 2020. This has resulted in lower carbon-dioxide emissions and operating costs.

In November 2021, the collaboration continued with the launch of an optimisation application for soot blowing, built on SFW’s IZANA™ platform. The application analyses the cleanliness of the heat surfaces of the boiler in the Martinlaakso bio-energy plant, and automatically suggests the optimum timing for the next steam-powered soot blowing. The operating model maintains optimal performance and saves energy, by carrying out soot blowing at the correct time only when it is needed. Vantaa Energy was among the first companies in Finland to deploy the optimisation application of IZANA soot blowing for the management of boiler fouling.

“The production of the soot-blowing optimisation application was a natural continuation of the development collaboration between Sumitomo SHI FW and Vantaa Energy,” says Samuli Björkbacka, Production Engineer, Vantaa Energy. “The idea of improving soot blowing had been discussed before, but now we finally succeeded in packaging it into a compact utilisation tool for making the impacts of the process a visible part of the everyday operations of the power plant.”

“The extremely successful collaboration with Vantaa Energy produced another application for everyday use at the power plant,” says Jari Sundqvist, Product Owner, Digital Services at Sumitomo SHI FW. “The targets were set in collaboration and the implementation was put into production use after the pilot phase.”

“From our point of view, the setting was ideal: the application that was confirmed at the production site is now readily available for use in the next plants, and at the same time we developed a method that is suitable for other boiler types as well,” continues Sundqvist.

The IT-service companies CGI and Pinja are development partners in the joint co-operation project.