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September 2011

SoftPLC & Green Energy

The term 'Green Energy' includes a number of technologies, like wind, solar, hydroelectric and biomass.  SoftPLC products are being used in many of these applications, and in a big way.  In fact, SoftPLC's are currently used to generate over 17% of the clean power in the USA!

Our SoftPLC controllers and Tealware I/O have many features that make them a great choice for clean power applications:

  • Easier interface to proprietary embedded systems than traditional controllers

  • Better industrial I/O surge withstand rating than competition

  • Advanced capabilities such as data logging, direct database interface, custom calculations, and more

  • Extensive communications/protocol support

  • Embedded firewall for network security

SoftPLC Web Studio SCADA and HMI's also are well suited to these applications:

  • SCADA and HMI applications for all Windows systems (including mobile devices) from single development environment

  • Web Clients allow application to be run in multiple browsers, from multiple remote locations

  • Built-in multi-level security

  • Interfaces to common databases and reporting systems

  • Comprehensive set of communication drivers

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Application Story: SoftPLC Produces a Biomass of Power

In Northern California, SoftPLC controllers, Tealware I/O and Web Studio are used by Blue Lake Power in their biomass electric power plant. The plant was originally a coal-fired plant that has been converted to burn woody waste. It uses wood chips as its main fuel source for a conventional boiler system which powers a steam-turbine generator.

Blue Lake Power Plant

Four SoftPLC's are used for material handling, for both the input fuel and the ash by-product conveyors, and for all of the process control.  SoftPLC CPU's with remote Tealware I/O connected via Ethernet are used for all the systems.

Web Studio is used for the plant SCADA system, which includes a redundant server, several Fuel Pile desktop client stations and two large LCD wall-mounted displays in the control room. Web Studio is also used as the HMI running on portable tablet PC's by the maintenance crew.

The Blue Lake plant adds over 93,000MWh of renewable power annually to California's grid. The plant is rated at 12.5MW and can generate enough electricity to power 25,000 homes.


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