Unlike most conferences that TRM attends, we did not have a booth this time around. Rather the conference accepted two abstracts for a presentation from us, so I went and enjoyed not having to stand in a booth all day!
The two presentations I gave were on spare parts identification/management, as well as one on how to minimize risk in Mobile application deployments. Both were well attended, and several folks came up to me afterward with follow on questions. Always a good sign.
The conference was touted as where the Power community comes together, and that was certainly true. It was a collection of 5 different Power industry conferences in one place. A big focus was of course on cleaner energy sources, including Hydrogen. The scope was from generation to distribution.
The sessions that I attended covered topics ranging from future views into the mix of power sources we have available to us and are being developed to coverage of all the Federal, State, Local and Tribal regulations that must be followed as a company begins to construct energy facilities.
There is significant investment being made in the use of Hydrogen as an additional energy source. Of course, safety and management standards are in the works, like those with natural gas. Generation, storage, transportation, and distribution of such a volatile gas does have many engineering challenges, but in many ways, it is nothing new.
Lots of discussions were going on in the sessions and the hallways about the speed of transition to cleaner sources of energy. Incentives, subsidies, penalties… vs. allowing market forces to guide the rate and mix of changes to energy sources. It was nice to be exposed to facts and figures vs. the caterwauling we get every day from media outlets.
Energy needs worldwide are expected to rise, putting pressure on various sources to increase their capacity to deliver as well as their reliability. Consumers of energy, whether individuals or industries, are not necessarily concerned about how the energy is generated, only that it is available when needed. The cost of putting solar on the typical home is still prohibitive for the average homeowner and with the ROI being well into 15+ years the value prop is still a hard one. Many communities are constructing local power generation facilities (mostly solar) for the use of the local community, spreading out the cost away from the individual house.
From an equipment investment viewpoint, the key for power generation companies is future-proofing their purchases. They do not want to lay out millions of dollars on equipment that may be either technically or regulatory obsolete in a few years. This is putting pressure on manufacturers of such equipment to think further ahead and design with retrofitting in mind as forces change over time. One example of this is designing gas turbines so that they can accept a mix of natural gas and hydrogen as a source of power vs. just straight natural gas.
All this wraps around the activity of asset management, a key part of what our clients use Maximo for. Not only the management of the work to do on the equipment, but also using the increasing amount and sources of telemetry that provide insight into the health of the systems.
A fascinating conference well worth your time if you are working in the disciplines of generation, transmission, or distribution of power.
John Q. Todd, Sr. Business Consultant / Product Researcher at TRM. Reach out to us at AskTRM@trmnet.com if you have any questions or would like to discuss deploying MAS 8 or Maximo AAM for condition-based maintenance/monitoring.