Sustaining powerplants to meet future demand

The majority of Australia’s coal-fired power stations are several decades old. With no new power stations coming online in the near future, the question remains how existing stations will cope with the added pressure of rising demand.

But Dr Warwick Payten, a materials engineer at ANSTO, thinks he has the solution.

The answer, at least in part, could be Remlife – a piece of software that will enable power stations companies to gauge the wear and tear of their plants infrastructure, and in turn, generate electricity more reliably.

“The software calculates the damage a power plant sustains during its operating cycle, which can then predict how much longer plants can operate safely,” Warwick explained.

“Materials that are subjected to high temperatures undergo changes that limit their operating life. These changes compromise the integrity of the material over time which in turn, limits the life of the power station.  Remlife analysis ensure that the ageing infrastructure that exists now can keep operating safely as long as possible, potentially deferring replacement plant investment in some cases,” he said.

“If plant operators better manage their operating profiles and more accurately identify areas that need pro-active maintenance, then you have the capacity to increase the life of the station and boost the efficiency of the unit. This limits operating costs by getting things up and running a lot quicker,” he added.

“The Remlife program means that, rather than spending a week to assess a single component within the power plant, we can now carry out that assessment in minutes.”

Current power stations using the Remlife software include:, Eraring NSW,  Wallerawang NSW, Kwinana WA, Muja WA, Stanwell QLD, Tarong North QLD, Gladstone QLD, Loy Yang A, Loy Yang B VIC and Torrens Island SA.

To learn more about Remlife or ANSTO visit: www.ansto.gov.au