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National Energy Technology Laboratory

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2. IGCC Immersive Training System Deploys at NETL AVESTAR™ Center

NETL’s Advanced Virtual Energy Simulation Training and Research (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 integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC) power plant with carbon capture. The 3D virtual ITS was developed for real-time interactive use with the high-fidelity IGCC dynamic simulator available at the AVESTAR Center.  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.

Illustration shows a transparent view for a distillation column in which the animation of the flow rates of the vapor and liquid up and down the column, respectively, are tied to real-time process variables in the dynamic simulator.

Illustration shows a transparent view for a distillation column in which the animation of the flow rates of the vapor and liquid up and down the column, respectively, are tied to real-time process variables in the dynamic simulator.

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, gasifiers, turbines), 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.

Deployed at the AVESTAR Center in July 2012, the IGCC 3D virtual ITS was developed by NETL in collaboration with Invensys Operations Management, West Virginia University, and Fossil Consulting Services.   The same team developed the IGCC dynamic simulator in collaboration with Enginomix, the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), and five EPRI CoalFleet industry partners, including American Electric Power, BP Alternative Energy, Doosan, Great River Energy, and Southern Company.  The IGCC dynamic simulator was deployed at the AVESTAR Center in March 2011 and recently won a 2012 Excellence in Technology Transfer Award from the Federal Laboratory Consortium Mid-Atlantic Region.

Contact:  Stephen E. Zitney, 304-285-1379