José Luis Neva is the Head of Operations at the Andorra thermal power station in Teruel. He manages, coordinates and ensures that the plant complies with regulations concerning the environment and risk prevention.
It is January 2016. The Innovation department has a challenge for him and his team: to reduce SO2 (sulphur dioxide) emissions using less fuel in doing so. The idea consisted in using organic acids in this power station. These would help retain more sulphur dioxide and improve the plant’s efficiency.
“The Innovation Department knew the what. And we knew the how”, explains José Luis. The power station’s Operations and Maintenance departments got to work. They changed some unused facilities which required a minimum investment and they began operating the plant with the instructions established in the tests. The result was a huge success. They reduced emissions by 50%. The power station’s operating hours increased. And they achieved savings of up to seven million euros per year. To give you an idea, this is equivalent to the 2016 municipal budget in this town of Teruel, with over 8,100 inhabitants. Impressive, isn’t it?
José Luis and his team at the Teruel thermal power station are this year’s winners of the BYEM award. The BYEM –Seek and Find Improvements- awards were created by Endesa and they recognise the good ideas of employees in the power generation company. They were designed to showcase improvements of all sorts in production processes and facilities, to promote a culture of innovation in all the plants and to do so continuously and permanently. And the Teruel plant’s idea can be used in other desulphurisation plants and all of them can benefit from this experience.
In addition to this special award, at Endesa we also recognise other great improvement ideas designed by our employees and which are grouped into categories such as the environment, operating efficiency, innovation in new generation technologies, business models or occupational health and safety. The latter is the category that includes Álvaro Pena’s project, the Head of Operations at As Pontes. “We designed a hydrogen leak detector belt. A belt that contains a pigment which, when it comes into contact with the gas, turns black in just 20 seconds, which is extremely useful when installed in areas that are at risk of hydrogen leaks” explains Álvaro. With his idea, people can detect a leak without having to use traditional methods that are slower and more dangerous.