RWE large-scale power station in Westfalen: stable wireless in a natural setting

Radioline wireless system for connecting remote measuring points economically

Cooling tower of the RWE power station Westfalen in Hamm-Uentrup

Cooling tower of the RWE power station Westfalen in Hamm-Uentrup

In extensive infrastructure systems, data frequently has to be transmitted from remote external stations to the control center.

To this end, the RWE large-scale power station in Westfalen uses the Radioline wireless system from Phoenix Contact which is suitable for industrial applications. Thanks to this, the measured values acquired can be easily and cost-effectively transmitted to the control system to be documented.

Application

RWE is one of the largest electricity producers in Germany. One of the many power stations operated by RWE is located in the Lippe-Aue to the east of the Hamm-Uentrop district.

During the cooling process, water is taken from the neighboring Lippe river in order to compensate for evaporation losses when dissipating heat via the cooling towers. Some of the cooling tower water, together with the cleaned wastewater from the flue gas desulfurization plant, is channeled back into the Lippe. For this reason, the power station operator is obliged to document the inward and outward flow of the cooling water to the authorities in the form of level and temperature measurements.

This presented those responsible with the challenge of connecting the temperature and level measuring points located outside the power station in Westfalen with the central control system, where the values are recorded and archived. In addition to the communicative connection of the devices located a considerable distance away from the central buildings, the measurement and transmission technology in the largely independent stations had to be supplied with power.

Solution

Level and temperature measuring point in the Lippe

Energy-self-sufficient level and temperature measuring point in the Lippe

Independent energy supply by a photovoltaic system

Since the laying of cables is expensive and requires a lot of effort, those responsible at RWE opted to connect the stations wirelessly using the Radioline wireless system from Phoenix Contact.

The temperature sensor installed at both measuring points in the river and the wireless components are supplied with the required energy by an independent photovoltaic system from Phoenix Contact, which is designed specifically for the required power.

Control box with Radioline wireless modules

Radioline wireless modules transmit signals to the receiver

Reliable signal transmission across long distances

The measuring points must cover a distance of up to 1000 meters to the power station buildings where they are connected to the control system. A meadow with a free line of sight lies between the antennas mounted at the measuring points and on the roof of the building.

The Radioline system supports the construction of a self-healing meshed network, as every wireless device works as a repeater and can therefore forward data to the other devices. If a direct communication path experiences a fault, the wireless system automatically looks for an alternative connection via another Radioline module in the network.

The wireless modules in the Radioline product range are based on version 2.0 of the Trusted Wireless technology developed by Phoenix Contact. This license-free technology, which works in the 2.4 GHz frequency band, is characterized by its robustness and reliability as well as the long distances that can be covered, which, with a clear line of sight, can total several kilometers. This has provided the power station with a reliable communication solution that is suitable for industrial use.

Functional representation of I/O mapping

Easy distribution of I/O signals via I/O mapping

Easy installation and startup of the wireless system

As a long-established supplier to RWE, PBE Esser GmbH, based in Bergheim, took care of the installation and startup of the pre-assembled components. This proved to be extremely easy, for both the Radioline system and the photovoltaic system. The remote measuring points now transmit analog temperature and level signals as well as digital fault messages to the control system.

The wireless solution has turned out to be an economical alternative to cables for the transmission of I/O signals. Via so-called I/O mapping, the data is distributed throughout the wireless network without software support by simply actuating a white thumb wheel. In order to connect the input module to the output module, the user simply has to set the same I/O map address, e.g., 23, on both modules, creating so to speak a wireless cable between the stations.

Summary

By using the Radioline wireless system and the independent power supply via a photovoltaic system, those responsible at the Westfalen power station have saved both time and money. This is due to the fact that no cables need to be laid in order to forward the required temperature and level values from the measuring stations in the Lippe.

This easy to use, flexible, and robust solution will also enable any future buildings to be connected quickly and easily to the control system.

PHOENIX CONTACT (Israel) Ltd.

P.O.B. 1799 Industrial Park Hasharon
Quadima 60920
+972-9-8915700