Sensor Networks for Control and Prognostics of Advanced Power Generation Facilities

Period of Performance: 01/01/2006 - 12/31/2006


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Prime Photonics, LLC
1116 South Main Street Array
Blacksburg, VA 24060
Principal Investigator
Firm POC


The development of intelligent control systems based on robust sensor networks is essential if new, near-zero-emission, coal-based power plants are to be brought online. Advances and new concepts in smart sensors and control systems will be needed to realize the gains in efficiency, environmental performance, and reduced cost. This project will integrate new sensor technology, based on ultrahigh-temperature photonic sensors and prognostic-diagnostic software, to create a new control system for next-generation power generation facilities. The control system will allow sensing points at places never before possible, and the prognostic-based controls will provide significant advances in both performance and operating cost reduction. Phase I will: (1) identify and specify the correct control system parameters, (2) design a control system architecture based on a new sensor network, (3) integrate a prognostic health monitoring system with the control system, and (4) conduct a laboratory-scale demonstration of a prototype system that incorporates important features. In Phase II, both the hardware and software systems will be fully developed, culminating in a pilot installation in a power generation facility. Commercial Applications and Other Benefits as described by the awardee: The control and prognostic systems for coal-based power plants would anticipate component failures, allowing the operator to schedule outages for maintenance. These systems should result in higher plant reliability, higher capacity, and lower operating costs. Better controls also would contribute to reduced plant emissions, including lower NOx and Sox; less greenhouse gases; fewer particulates; and improved safety