ETAP keeps El Salvador plant running

ETAP keeps El Salvador plant running
Published: 18 November 2013

Tagged Under: El Salvador Holcim ETAP 

Holcim's Cement plant in El Salvador continues to deliver impressive operating results, following the implementation of the ETAP Real-Time Intelligent Load Shedding (ILS) system.

In the year prior to the deployment of ETAP ILS, the facility experienced 20 power outages. However, over the course of the two-year commissioning and tuning period for the ILS installation, Holcim experienced just one power cut.

ETAP was approached by Holcim to provide a solution to a slow and unreliable load-shedding system. The plant is connected to the power grid through the Guajoyo Hydroelectric Plant over a 20km transmission line feeding its substation. The power grid is subjected to heavy rains and lightning strikes from May through October, averaging 20 circuit breaker transmission line trips per month during this period.

With Holcim's power generators running continuously to support a power contract to provide 10MW of power to the grid to help offset peak loads, these unscheduled outages were proving costly, in addition to compromising the plant's goals of meeting its own requirements to maintain 18MW of process load operating 24h per day.

The ILS system gathers system parameters throughout the electrical network, including the generation and loading status, to adjust its ever-changing load shedding scenarios. By the time an event occurs, the substation (local) controls have already been instructed by the ILS system to act, specifically, to switch loads as required to properly load the generators and keep the plant running.

The system remains several steps ahead by constantly monitoring and modelling the entire electrical system, taking into account maintenance cycles, operational changes, or any last-minute changes in process control. The system automatically senses changing conditions and responds with new instructions on a continuous basis, allowing the system overall to react within 100ms to an event.

"The power and functionality of ETAP Intelligent Load Shedding system really hit the mark with the problems that Holcim had at the plant. The risk from unscheduled power outages has all but almost disappeared. The fact that ILS was relatively easy to integrate and implement was the key to an immediate ROI," said Douglas Aviles, Holcim's power plant manager.