AI offers an opportunity for the leaders to minimize operational overheads and enhance the efficiency of the power plants.

FREMONT, CA: According to a report, the use of artificial intelligence (AI) at a coal-fired power plant has resulted in significant improvements in fuel economy. The growing impetus of AI has led the energy sector to leverage the technology for a smooth and efficient operational outcome. AI, coupled with cognitive computing, is expected to add to the efficacy of power plants in the future. Like many other industries, AI is disrupting the power generation industry as well. Enhanced AI-driven algorithms and analytics capabilities can track the anomalous behavior of the individual components of a power plant. Thus, AI can aid the firms to enhance plant efficiency and balance energy supply and demand.

Increasingly, firms are deploying cognitive computing capabilities to capture and learn from data at a level and rate that is impossible for a human to match. Plant leaders can use such information to restrict anomalies and manage power plants more effectively. When it comes to power generation, investment in energy storage offers an alternative to plant additions. The above approach will enable an AI-laced power plant to function better for a relatively long time. The efficient operations of the plant will also offset the overhead costs associated with maintenance works.

Boilers installed in power plants can also potentially benefit from AI incorporation. For instance, various power plant boilers are started and switched off several hundred times in a year resulting in wear and tear of the equipment. AI can predict the behaviors of the boilers by identifying the inner mechanisms of the system. AI models will also aid in demonstrating the complex processes in the boilers that are time-varying. Based on the insights gained from the models, it will be easy to understand the impacts of load-following, thereby enabling plants to develop advanced strategies for improved operational flexibility. 

Plant leaders have realized the essence of AI technology towards improved operational efficiency of the power plants and are increasingly deploying the technology to achieve the same.