Using the IoT to Drive Power Plant Efficiency

September 30, 2015 By Carl Weinschenk

urban power Energy ManageAt the Minds & Machines conference this week in San Francisco, GE unveiled its Predix machine data analytics platform. At this point, it only is available to GE customers. It will be released generally at the end of 2015.

Predix collects and analyzes the torrents of data that are generated by the Internet of Things. More precisely, InformationWeek says the goal is to “sort, cleanse, and load the data for further use.” The story says target industries are electricity, oil and gas producers and that two places it Predix is being used is in wind turbines and hydroelectric systems. Launched customers are Exelon and PSEG.

The idea is to create “digital power plants” in which IoT information is analyzed and enable the plant to respond to demand on a second-by-second basis and, in essence, act like a battery. Such a plant could add $50 million to its value over 25 to 30 years. A plant designed from the ground up on IoT and Predix principles could be worth $230 million more than those using earlier approaches.

Researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are working on a more subtle refinement that could lead to savings in power plants. The Boston Globe reports that the team is working on a water repellant coating that will make heat exchangers operate far more efficiently.

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