Egat eyes digital tech in operations
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Egat eyes digital tech in operations

The state-run Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (Egat) plans to adopt technology to increase operation and maintenance efficiency at 32 power plants nationwide.

Nutthavutthi Chamchang, deputy governor for generation, said the tech adoption is meant to transition Egat's power generation to the digital age over the next decade.

"Egat set up a working committee to handle this transformation for fossil-based and renewable projects," he said. "The digitisation will help Egat's power generation achieve higher efficiency, consume less fuel, reduce the shutdown period for maintenance and increase the heat rate and reliability."

Mr Nutthavutthi said Egat plans four phases of its digital transformation, working with each power plant in the country on its future direction.

"Egat has set a direction that should guarantee a good return and shorten the payback period," he said.

Egat wants the efficiency of power plants to rise by at least 1% and the heat rate of power generators to increase 1-2% by 2023.

Two Egat power plants -- North Bangkok in Nonthaburi and Mae Mo in Lampang -- will begin the digitisation plan in the next few years.

The North Bangkok plant recently adopted preliminary technology for its maintenance system, and Egat staff conducted R&D activity previously.

In related news, Egat signed agreements with two Japanese bodies -- the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization and Marubeni Corporation -- for a demonstration project on power generation improvement using digital technologies.

Units 11 and 13 of the coal-fired power plant in Mae Mo are set for the demonstration project in 2021-23. The two units generate 300 megawatts each.

Mr Nutthavutthi said Egat is interested in using Japanese technology to support operations at Mae Mo with a request for funding from the Japanese government.

Marubeni will provide digital technology, both hardware and software, for operations and maintenance at the Mae Mo site.

"The demonstration will upgrade the power generation process, reduce the operating cost, enhance competitiveness and sustainability in the country's energy development and reduce greenhouse gas emissions," Mr Nutthavutthi said. "The operation and maintenance data will connect through the IoT system, AI analysis for heat rate improvement and the fault-detection monitoring system."

He said Egat expects to improve the efficiency of power generation at Mae Mo by an average of 0.45% by 2023.

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