01 October 2002
Power, environment, security, and your business
Take a glimpse into the future.
By Ellen Fussell
Paul Wattelet knows the power industry is very large and incredibly complex. He sees his job as boiling it all down to the pertinent issues-putting the power industry and its current turmoil in perspective between the business and politics. That's exactly what Wattelet intends to do as Monday's keynote speaker at ISA 2002, 21-24 October in Chicago.
Wattelet, chairman, president, and chief executive officer of Sargent and Lundy, a global professional and technology services consultant for the electric power industry, will highlight political, environmental, and security issues facing the power industry in his keynote speech. Relative to instrumentation control and automation, he'll start with the business and politics of power, then the major power technologies, and will draw significant conclusions from each of those.
Show attendees should go home with a new perspective on the market, relative to the types of new and upgraded facilities. "I want to give a perspective on each technology of types and magnitude of instrument control systems used in those facilities," he said. "A big part of the industry is upgrading instrumentation and control systems."
The federal government's deregulation issues-deregulating the power generation from the power distribution-are driving some of the decisions in the power industry, Wattelet said.
"The energy policy act of 1992, for example, has caused traditional utilities to split their generation assets, the power plants, from the transmission lines and allow power generation to be opened to the free market," he said.
"So people can choose which generator they want to supply their electricity. It's kind of like picking your own telephone company. The transmission lines are under control of the federal energy regulatory commission.
Meanwhile, people can buy, sell, and trade power freely over these lines." While Wattelet said several states have bought into this concept, it hasn't worked so far.
Wattelet's presentation should help manufacturers, he said, because most of the business is in the restoration of existing power plants. "One of the big things is on the coal-fired units-the air quality control backfit [scrubbers] for the DSO2 removal-and selective catalytic reduction units for NOx removal," he said. "There's a large market for that."
The "new generation" power plant is the construction of a new power plant as opposed to the existing generation, Wattelet said. "In recent years, the only thing being put in is the cast-fired combined cycle units to generate more power. There's a lot of discussion of new coal-fired units, but no major decisions have been made yet," he said. "The coal-fired units are large capital investments and are causing people with all the debt to think twice about making that commitment."
Wattelet will also discuss nuclear issues, such as the Yucca Mountain repository for used nuclear fuel.
"It's been a big thorn in our side for many years," Wattelet said. "That's a major political positive for the nuclear industry, but at the same time it's going to be another eight to 10 years before they get Yucca Mountain in shape. So they still have the issue of storing."
The important thing from the nuclear industry standpoint, Wattelet said, is that we make the right decisions-to think about building new nuclear plants. "There are 103 plants operating in the U.S. It's been a dead industry since the late '70s, but the plants are operating great. It's just that with all the political problems, people are a little afraid to commit to new ones-but they're large capital," he said.
OTHER KEYNOTE SPEAKERS
Silicon sensors is the subject of Tuesday's keynote speaker, Regis McKenna, chairman of The McKenna Group, a global strategy consulting firm. What's new with incorporating optics into chips? McKenna will talk about photovoltaics, a high-technology approach to converting sunlight into electrical energy, and the significance of integrating photo cells into structural products. Nanotechnology-molecular manufacturing-will also be on the agenda.
To improve the standing of instrumentation and control engineers, management needs to understand the dynamics and personality of a concept-something outside vendors can rarely do, Bela Liptak suggests in his Wednesday keynote address. Liptak, president of Liptak Associates P.C., consults engineers in industrial process control, computer automation, hardware and software product development, energy conservation, pollution prevention, and safety products.
Helping mankind understand how earth works is the goal of Chris Bannon in his Thursday keynote address about the Biosphere 2 project. The project was initiated in the 1980s to discover whether eight people could live in a sealed, energy-rich environment. Bannon, chief of staff and vice president of operations and facilities at Columbia University's Biosphere 2 Center, will discuss the strategic initiatives and campus activities surrounding the project: master planning, construction, facilities management, community relations, and public outreach.
SECURITY PANEL DISCUSSIONS
New this year is a selection of security sessions targeted to the manufacturing environment. Monday's panel discussions on plant asset management will give insights on how to improve operational performance: asset utilization, production capacity, maintenance costs, spare parts inventory, and uptime.
Tuesday's panel discussion will cover cybersecurity of industrial control systems, examining security implications of technologies such as remote access, wireless, Web-enabled hardware, and open architecture. Discussions will cover users' and vendors' concerns and what to do for adequate security as we move toward greater connectivity and openness in industrial control systems.
On Wednesday, a panel of consultants, analysts, and protagonists will probe the latest developments in the corporate community. How do the economics of their decisions affect you? What are the mergers and acquisitions doing to our industry? Will there ever be a truly open system, or will proprietary technologies continue to prevent interoperability? Is a seven-headed hydra fieldbus standard the answer, or will one protocol be enough? Where do we go from here?
Thursday's session hosts industry experts in system commissioning and validation who will answer questions about the start-up of new systems, targeting the food and pharmaceutical industry: design review, start-up, and validation and Food and Drug Administration 21 CFR 11.
The second annual Emerging Technologies Conference (ETCON) includes 25 sessions covering advancement in automation and instrumentation systems. It focuses on applied and basic research from laboratories and development centers around the world. Sessions cover communications and security, control and automation, manufacturing and design, control technologies, and emerging applications.
Part of ETCON, the Sensors for Measurement and Control Symposium (including a Sensors Pavilion) includes noncontact optical techniques to measure fibers and films, vision sensors in hostile environments, three infrared laser diodes as a new sensing technology for plastics identification, radar-based position sensors, and thermal protection of pressure instrumentation, to name a few. The Sensors Pavilion will feature more than 50 sensor manufacturers and their latest designs.
The Motion Control Forum brings together executives from automation solutions providers to discuss issues such as SERCOS, PC-based control, soft motion, feedback improvements, I/O networks, linear motors, and more. The Motion Control Product Pavilion is part of this forum. Classes on applying motor control and motion control systems are also part of the ISA Training Institute educational series.
Other classes will cover sensors and control systems in manufacturing, wireless and tethered communication systems in sensor integration, servo basics and performance prediction, servo considerations and drive sizing, and applying machine vision. IT
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