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Combining the expertise of TOA Oil with Hitachi’s digital technologies to optimize the high temperature parts management and O&M for gas turbines

Background: Increased Expectations as a Lifeline during Emergencies

Gas turbine power generation is a method for generating power by rotating a turbine (impeller) at high speeds with combustion gases from fuels such as kerosene, light oil, LNG, etc. Gas turbines are compact in size, feature high output, help reduce installation space and have characteristically fast start-up times. They have achieved widespread adoption not only in power plants but also as distributed power sources and emergency power supplies in plants, buildings and hospitals, and are playing an increasing role as lifelines.
However, as the high-temperature components used in turbines are exposed to temperatures as high as 1,500°C, there is a high risk of damage, and to prevent this, thousands of the components that make up these turbines are each subject to predetermined limits on usable life. The key to gas turbine maintenance work is ascertaining the managed service life of each high-temperature component and performing the necessary upkeep.

Issue: For Future Innovation in Operation and Maintenance

TOA Oil Co., Ltd. (Kawasaki, Kanagawa Prefecture), an energy company that belongs to the Idemitsu Group and operates refineries and power plants - MIZUE Thermal Power Plant - in the Keihin Seaside Area, has managed its power plant facilities through self-maintenance and a long-term maintenance contract with Hitachi, Ltd. However, management was difficult to perform purely through self-maintenance and the TOA Oil’s existing management system; while on the other hand, the company was concerned that an increasing reliance on the agreement with Hitachi would halt the transfer of expertise. Given these challenges, innovation was needed in operation and maintenance (O&M), including the supply of gas turbine parts, in order to achieve structural cost reductions and improve equipment reliability in the future.

Solution: Streamlining Inspection & Maintenance Work and Reducing Operational Costs

TOA Oil’s MIZUE Thermal Power Plant is located within the grounds of the TOA Oil Keihin Refinery, and uses the by-product gas and residue oil generated by the petroleum refining process to drive steam power generation (generating capacity of approx. 195,000kW) and gas turbine generation (generating capacity of approx. 79,000kW). The power is generated under contract for Idemitsu Kosan Co., Ltd. and supplied to TEPCO Energy Partner, Inc.

Hitachi has handled maintenance of the gas turbines at the MIZUE Thermal Power Plant over the 16 years since it began operating. In September 2019, to coincide with a gas turbine long-term high-temperature parts purchase agreement concluded with TOA Oil, Hitachi proposed the introduction of a Gas Turbine High Temp. Parts Management Platform. This platform would support maintenance work by not just supplying parts but also sharing and utilizing the enormous volume of O&M-related data accumulated by the MIZUE Thermal Power Plant to date, including inspection plants, inspection results and procurement records. Leveraging the expertise in the operation and maintenance of TOA Oil’s gas turbines, the experience and technologies accumulated by Hitachi in its energy business and the Lumada - solution for accelerating digital solutions, would be used to centrally manage various information on high-temperature components in a cloud-based database.

The solution would allow the engineers involved with maintenance at the MIZUE Thermal Power Plant and Hitachi personnel responsible for supply parts to both view facility information on an ongoing basis, which is expected to enhance the management of high-temperature parts, boost equipment reliability and lower operating costs. As an additional benefit, this would allow the O&M technologies and know-how in self-maintenance developed to date to be shared with and passed on to the next generation, while also facilitating the accumulation of new expertise.

Future Outlook: Future Support for Performance Evaluation and Predictive Diagnosis

The Gas Turbine High Temp. Parts Management Platform is scheduled to being operation in January 2020. Looking ahead, Hitachi will continue to support O&M and facilitate more efficient management by suggesting services for inspection and maintenance status visualization, performance assessment service for high-temperature parts and predictive diagnosis-based fault forecast and prediction, and by proposing AI-based solutions such as services to support electricity sales.
At the same time, Hitachi will help create a sustainable society and achieve the SDGs through social innovation driven by collaborative creation with customers.

  • Date of release: January 2020
  • In charge of solution: New Age Energy Business Co-create Division, Hitachi, Ltd.

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