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Artificial intelligence drives Vantaa Energy towards fossil-free energy production at the Martinlaakso power plant

VE Martinlaakson voimalaitos

Vantaa Energy and Sumitomo SHI FW (SFW) continue their close collaboration on further development of solutions for reducing the environmental impacts of energy production with the aid of artificial intelligence (AI). Introduced as a result of the pilot project launched in 2020, the solutions are based on the utilisation of process data, analytics and AI. In November, the partnership was deepened with the introduction of an application for optimising soot blowing at the Martinlaakso power plant. Regular soot blowing of selected heat surface groups, based on needs-based periodisation, enables efficient production capacity of the power boiler. Vantaa Energy is progressing towards carbon negativity by 2030, and this partnership also contributes to achieving this target.

A cloud-based analytics service for optimising the output of the power plant was developed and deployed in the pilot project, which was launched at Vantaa Energy’s Martinlaakso power plant in spring 2020.  The solution model developed in partnership between Vantaa Energy and Sumitomo SHI FW visualises the capability of the power plant’s boiler in the form of key figures and graphs for the users responsible for its operation, based on real-time process data. More profound understanding and the predictability of the boiler operation enable optimised use of its performance. Thanks to the system based on data, analytics and AI, Vantaa Energy was able to increase the use of biofuels and reduce the use of fossil fuels in energy production already in 2020. This resulted in lower carbon dioxide emissions and more favourably priced operating costs.

In November 2021, the collaboration continued with the optimisation application for soot blowing, built on the SFW’s IZANA™ platform. The application analyses the cleanliness of the heat surfaces of the boiler in the Martinlaakso bioenergy plant and automatically suggests the date for next soot blowing.  That way, steam soot blowing is carried out at the correct time in accordance with actual need. The operating model maintains optimal performance and saves energy. Vantaa Energy was among the first companies in Finland to deploy the optimisation application of IZANA soot blowing for the management of boiler fouling.

The development partners in the co-operation project of Vantaa Energy and SFW are the IT service companies CGI and Pinja.

– The production of the soot-blowing optimisation application was a natural continuation to the development collaboration between Sumitomo SHI FW and Vantaa Energy. The idea of improving soot blowing had also been discussed before, but now we finally succeeded in packaging it into a compact utilisation tool for making the impacts of soot blowing into a visible part of the everyday operations of the power plant, says Vantaa Energy’s Production Engineer Samuli Björkbacka.

– The extremely successful collaboration with Vantaa Energy produced another application for everyday use at the power plant. The targets were set in collaboration, and the implementation was turned into production use after the pilot phase. From our point of view, the setting was ideal: the application that was confirmed at the production site is now readily available for use in the next plants and, at the same time, we developed a method that is suitable for other boiler types as well, says Jari Sundqvist, Chief Product Owner at Sumitomo SHI FW.