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Innovation in generation

New technologies in power generation

We incorporate innovation into generation processes by using new technologies to improve the production process and reduce the impact on the environment.

Aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals

 

Sustainable development goals

SDG 9: Industry, innovation and infrastructure

SDG 11: Sustainable cities and communities

With the aim of improving efficiency in power generation and to reduce its impact on the environment, we are working on a number of technological innovation projects.

 

Innovation in fossil fuel generation

We invest in technological improvement by introducing new technologies and processes that will allow us to improve the efficiency and consumption of natural resources of our plants, with the resulting reduction of emissions and waste.

We are also incorporating new technologies into the engineering and construction phase, which save time and are more efficient during the design and execution of new renewable capacity.

The technologies being assessed include improvements to plant operation and maintenance, improvements to employee health and safety, and environmental improvements. The following projects should be highlighted:

●  “Virtual Visit”: A digital system for making virtual visits to industrial facilities with a view to reducing the lead times for tendering processes with contractors. At the same time, this tool allows for faster remote support in the field.

●  Development of artificial intelligence systems based on Machine Learning for the detection of anomalies and incipient problems at our thermal generation facilities.

●  IOT Besós: Demo project to implement new digital technologies at the Besós combined-cycle plant. Among the technologies analysed are wearables, predictive maintenance tools based on machine learning, IoT and wireless monitoring, artificial vision and the implementation of RFID and NFC technologies.

Digital download assistant
IoT Besos: Besos Combined Cycle: Digital Download Assistant
  • MEMPHIS: Project for the development of a system that allows measuring the temperature in boiler components through the use of fibre optics as a direct application sensor.
  • MOP: pilot project to introduce a system to help the operation based on artificial intelligence and cognitive models.
  • E-SENSE: New advanced monitoring and diagnostic systems for high, medium and low voltage switches.
  • Digital Substation: Innovative digital solutions for improving the monitoring of power transformers and substation components.
  • ROBOTICS: Use of a new underwater robot for use in inspection and cleaning tasks in underwater infrastructures.
  • VR for training: Use of Virtual Reality for immersion training in the field of the safety of people.
  • Drones: Deployment of drone-based tools to improve the inspection of generation facilities.

 

This year and within the field of the innovative projects in the environmental area, the following projects were undertaken, aimed at reducing pollutant gas emissions, the valuation of by-products and reducing the consumption of natural resources such as water:

  • Matching Project: Project developed in collaboration with several companies and R&D centres and co-financed within the European Horizon 2020 programme. Its aim is to reduce water consumption in the energy sector by using new technologies and to validate these technologies in 3 pilot plants that are being installed in the As Pontes thermal plant.
Matching: Meeting of members of the European consortium of the Matching project at the As Pontes plant
  • Cubic: Use of ultrasonic emission systems to improve the cleaning of cooling circuits of generation plants and reduce the consumption of chemicals.
  • Pilot plant for oil-water separation using hydrophilic membranes.
  • Gyll Project: Pilot project for recovery of dump leachate water and desulpherisation water by the use of an innovative technology based on vibrating membranes.
  • Acticen Project: A project oriented toward the valuation of the ash derived from the coal combustion process at the thermal power plants, by means of an alkaline pre-activation process to obtain products to replace Portland cement to be used in concrete prefabs.
  • A4HW Project: Valuation of CO2 derived from combustion gases at the Litoral thermal power plant in Almeria by the cultivation of microalgae, and the valuation of the biomass generated to obtain high-value proteins as a high added-value source.

As a result of this project, the micro-algae plant is being expanded, increasing the crop area to a size of approximately 1 ha.

A4HW: Tubular micro-algae reactor for evaluating CO2 in the Litoral Plant in Almería
  • The LIFE ALGAR-BBE Project: Putting CO₂ to good use through the cultivation of microalgae, and using the biomass generated to develop biocidal bio-stimulants. The project will implement, evaluate and promote the use of biocidal bio-stimulants developed from microalgae — a new approach for sustainable agriculture.

 

The main objective of the LIFE ALGAR-BBE project is to mitigate the adverse effects that the chemical pesticides currently used in tomato and maize farming have on the environment and human health. Like all LIFE projects, it will involve environmental monitoring, a socio-economic impact study and life cycle analysis.

The project is funded by the European Union through the LIFE Programme.

Life ALGAR-BBE logo

●   Biofuel: Analysis of the viability of using biofuels created using catalytic hydrothermal carbonisation for replacing fossil fuels.

 

A number of projects have also been implemented to improve the efficiency and flexibility of electricity generation processes, with direct implications for reducing emissions and the consumption of material resources. These include:

●   Conava Project: Implementation of adaptive expert predictive control systems to optimise combustion and control the steam heat temperature at various generation plants.

●   MAYA Project: Validation of a system for measuring the composition of carbon on conveyor belts using laser techniques.

●   Energy Harvesting Project: Validation of an energy capture system for sensor power based on thermoelectric technology.

●   Protec: Development of new claddings to protect boiler pipes against corrosion at high temperatures and erosion.

●   COAT: Validation of new paints with microparticles for use as thin thermal and acoustic insulators.

●   DEMFORE: Development of a system for the prediction of photovoltaic ramps to improve the management of thermal generation. Application on the island of Tenerife.

●   ACTS Project: Advanced systems for increasing people’s intrinsic safety. LEAKS: Visual detection of gas leaks through the use of adapted thermographic cameras.

●   Leaks: Visual detection of gas leaks through the use of adapted thermographic cameras.

●   Digital access control and on-line monitoring system for restricted or high-risk areas.

●   Active Safety System: A device for detecting people close to areas where work using machinery is under way so as to avoid people being run over.

●   Thermoelectrika: Validation of a system for the early detection of hot spots that generate fires.

●   Brains: Development of an artificial vision system to detect unsafe behaviours in industrial plants and areas under construction.

●   Exoskeleton: The use of an exoskeleton to reduce fatigue during activities in the field with high physical wear.

 

In the area of energy storage, important innovative projects are being developed both in the area of batteries, with the largest facility of this kind in Spain, and other types of storage solutions. We can highlight the following projects:

●  Almería Coastal Battery: A facility based on lithium-ion batteries with 20 MW of power and 11.7 MWh of stored energy, the largest facility of this type in Spain. The facility will allow the Carboneras Thermal Power Station (Almería) to adapt to the needs of the electricity system without altering its generation rate.

Litoral Battery in Almería: Installation of Ion-Li Batteries in the Litoral Plant in Almeria
  • SELF Second Life Batteries Project: Project to validate a recycling solution for electric vehicle batteries to be used to support the backup batteries of the Melilla thermal power plant. This system with 4 MW power and 1.7 MWh of stored energy will be installed in Melilla and will contribute to provide support and safety to the autonomous city's supply.
  • El Hierro Battery: Installation of an energy storage system to support the backup batteries of the Llanos Blancos thermal power plant on the island of El Hierro.
El Hierro: Central Energy Storage System of Llanos Blancos on El Hierro Island
  • TES Project: Study for the integration of a thermal storage pilot for solid materials to recover residual heat in the Las Salinas plant in Fuerteventura.

 

The MEMPHIS, ACTICEN, PROTEC and A4HW projects have been funded by the Ministry of Science, Innovation and Universities under the Challenges Collaboration programme. This aid is co-financed by the European Union through the ERDF funds, with the aim of promoting Technological Development, Innovation and Quality Research.

 Logos of the Ministry and FEDER

Innovation in electricity generation

As for innovation in nuclear generation, at Endesa we continue to invest in R&D and act as secretary to the Spanish nuclear fission technology platform, CEIDEN. In addition, we promote interesting research projects through the Nuclear Energy Committee of the Nuclear Forum. Some of the research projects carried out are the following:

●   EPRI nuclear programme, which aims to achieve operational excellence in nuclear power plants.

●   Analysis of the R&D and Technological Innovation projects of the investee nuclear power stations of Ascó and Vandellós (ANAV).

●   Coordinated research programme, conducted with the participation of companies in the sector and the CSN (Nuclear Safety Council). Its purpose is to analyse the safety of nuclear plants, both for operators and the regulatory body.

●   Joint PIC programme of electricity companies and ENUSA, which coordinates R&D activities relating to nuclear fuel, defining projects of common interest.

●   In collaboration with the CEIDEN Platform, we will proceed to analyse samples of the concrete from the José Cabrera Nuclear Power Plant, which is no longer active, to obtain highly useful data for improving safety conditions at the plants currently in operation.

 

Innovation in renewable generation

Among the projects focusing on optimising engineering work, the following activities should be highlighted:

●   Introduction of excavator machinery with GPS to allow precision excavation, with a semi-automatic or guided system.

●   Robotisation of construction processes. Use of drones in monitoring construction progress. Validation of a robot for the automation of the photovoltaic panel module installation process.

●   Use of a new design for prefabricated foundations for wind towers, bringing savings in construction time and reducing the environmental impact of the work.

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Open innovation

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