Recently, the subject of alternative energy has arisen, owing to the global experience of average global temperatures continue to rise year after year. Sourcing forms of energy to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels, coal, and other polluting methods has billowed.

 

With improvements in technology and production, the costs of most forms of alternative energy have been dropping while efficiency has been increasing. Alternative energy can include hydroelectric power, natural gas and “clean coal”. The term is also used to refer to non-traditional sources of energy – such as solar, wind, biomass, and other recent additions.

Sensors and control technologies are powering this technological revolution, enabling reliable systems integration, furthering cybersecurity processes, and streamlining plant operations. Not only will sensors and controls continue to play a pivotal role in optimizing plant operations but will also lead the technological advancement of alternate power generation and allow for the seamless integration of renewables and DERs (distributed energy sources) to the grid system, completing the modern energy ecosystem.

Hydroelectricity

Temperature monitoring in hydroelectric plants

Hydroelectric plants

The core of a typical hydroelectric power plant is the turbine. Hydro turbines rotate slowly, typically at an operating speed of 75 to 1000 rpm. Turbines are often required to operate at partial load to meet fluctuating electricity demands. This part load operation can increase the potential for water pressure pulsations, turbulence, and cavitation.

Hydroelectric plant monitoring

Temperature sensors for operation monitoring

Accurate temperature measurement is essential to the effective operation of hydroelectric plants. Consequently, a temperature increase in the bearing can be detected from excessive shaft misalignment, low oil-level, or dirt in the lubricant oil. Hot spots in the turbine bearings, generator bearings, guide- and thrust bearings must be rapidly identified to prevent energy loss through increased friction, and to protect against equipment damage and failure. Expensive and time-consuming damage can be caused to the generator if the temperature sensors are not able to detect the fault in time and accurately.

Platinum temperature RTD

Stable, reliable platinum temperature RTDs

Platinum elements offer the best value in temperature sensing, and the lowest cost over the operating lifetime. For temperature measurement of the bearing, long term cost savings are made through the long-term stability of the measured temperatures, the reliability, and the longevity of platinum sensors.

A highly reliable, customized PT100 or PT1000 platinum thin film RTD temperature sensor assembly from IST AG, mounted in a probe, or a bolt-on configuration, or with a probe with threaded fitting, performs highly accurate temperature measurements according to the IEC 60751 norm.

The IST AG platinum thin film RTD temperature sensors are developed with the highest quality materials and cover a wide operating temperature range of -200 °C to +1000 °C. The sensors can operate in the harshest conditions while experiencing minimal drift. The construction is extremely robust and due to the small dimensions, the sensors are offered in various housings. The platinum temperature sensors are available with a standard TCR of 3850 ppm/K and with accuracies according to the IEC 60751 norm.

IST also offers custom RTD platinum sensors fitted to application-specific requirements in terms of specified TCR values, nominal resistance, dimensions, housings, and lead wires amongst other variations.

Solar power

Solar farms
Solar farms

Solar farms are large-scale solar installations where photovoltaic (PV) panels, referred to as solar panels. Concentrating solar systems are used to harvest the sun’s power. Utility-scale solar farms can have a capacity of anywhere between 1 MW to 2,000 MW.

Large-scale solar farms maintain instrumentation to help monitor environmental conditions.

Examples include irradiance meters, wind speed gauges and temperature sensors. Today there is little instrumentation on the panels themselves. Most large-scale solar farms employ central inverters that aggregate power from groups of panels, but do not provide any data into the performance of individual panels. So, all that can be done is to look at expected output based on irradiance, temperature, and wind speed, versus measured output of the inverters over an extended period to determine if there is a problem. Such instrumentation is available, but  too expensive to deploy, a cost sensitive approach is required

Solar paneled roof at IST AG headquarters

Monitoring panel performance

Technology exists, with microinverters, DC-DC optimizers and Platinum elements offering the best value in temperature sensing, to measure individual panel level performance in fine detail. These technologies maximize the individual panel performance and are now being deployed in large-scale solar farms, residential and small-scale commercial Photovoltaic farms where monitoring individual panel performance ensures lower  long term maintenance costs

Temperature_Sensor_Real Probe

Pt temperature sensor element for photovoltaic solar panels

A precision platinum RTD thermometer for panel area temperature measurement. Designed for flat mounting on photovoltaic solar panels to precisely monitor solar panel temperature. High-quality platinum elements maintain high levels of accuracy and long-term stability, plus reliability, and longevity in all weather conditions.

Standardized characteristic curves, defined by the DIN EN 60751 specification, allow quick and easy platinum sensor replacement even decades after original installation.

A highly reliable, customized PT100 or PT1000 platinum thin film RTD temperature sensing element  from IST AG can be encased in a robust heat conductive resin inside a thermally conductive aluminum profile for easy mounting, exceeding ISO & WMO accuracy and long-term stability requirements. This sensor encased in IP68 weatherproof and waterproof housing for use in air, water and any general non-corrosive fluids or liquids, performs highly accurate temperature measurements according to the IEC 60751 norm.

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Wind Power

off-shore wind energy farms

Wind farms

Offshore wind farms operate under extreme conditions, which demands continuous monitoring and diagnostic testing. The monitoring of humidity and temperature is critical  due to the high level of moisture and salt in the offshore air. In general, humidity-related stress issues are responsible for 20% of wind turbine downtime and breakdowns. Some of the more common humidity-related issues in wind turbines include condensation, corrosion, electrical and mechanical issues, as well as mold, fungi, and bacterial growth.

Humidity sensor HYT221

Control the gearbox moisture levels

Sensors play a vital role in the operation of wind farms. They detect, continually monitor, and communicate information about temperature and humidity in each wind turbine. This data is collected and processed in a command center, where overall operations as well as the health of each turbine in a wind farm is monitored and optimized to ensure reliability and optimal performance. For example, to reliably control the moisture levels in the gearbox oil, a humidity sensor (rH) is required

Humidity sensors are required with absolute accuracy in range 10 °C to 35 °C: 10-90 % RH: ± 4 % RH 90-100 % RH: ± 6 % RH. Long-term stability: < 1 % RH per year encased in PTFE membrane potted with macro melt.

Resistance temperature sensors are also required  (Pt-100 or Pt-1000) for monitoring outside temperature, control cabinets, transformers, generators, gearboxes, bearings, brakes, and hydraulics.

Humidity sensor MK33

Capacitive rH humidity sensor with high chemical resistance

The IST AG MK33-W capacitive rH humidity sensor has been developed especially for high-end measuring applications and extreme environments making it optimal for measuring moisture in oil applications. The MK33-W excels through its extremely high humidity and temperature working range and its outstanding chemical resistance. The humidity sensor is capable of measuring 0 % RH to 100 % RH (maximal dew point +95 °C) with a capacitance of 300 pF ±40 pF (at 30 % RH and +23 °C) and operates within a temperature range of -40 °C to +190 °C.

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Bioenergy

Biogas plants

Biogas

Bioenergy is the renewable energy generated when biomass fuel is burned. Biomass fuels come from organic material such as crops and organic waste from homes, businesses, and farms. Bioenergy is a low-carbon renewable energy that is used where few renewable energy options exist, for example, as fuel for airplanes, ships, and trucks.

Biomass fuels must be processed before they can generate energy. Modern biomass fuels are refined into several products such as solid & liquid fuel. For example, Biofuel refineries make liquid fuels for transport.

Biogas can be upgraded to biomethane and placed into the gas grid. Both biogas and biomethane can fuel heat, transport, and electricity generation.

Moisture levels in biofuel

Moisture levels in biofuel

The moisture level in biofuels determines the amount of air required when burning the fuel for optimum heat, energy output, and burn efficiency. Mix a biofuel with too little or too much air and the fuel could burn incompletely or burn too quickly. Biofuel producers must monitor biofuel moisture during the production process to ensure that moisture levels meet fuel use standards and expectations. The most cost effective and efficient use of today’s biofuels requires accurate biofuel moisture measurement during fuel production and when the fuel is burned. Humidity/moisture and temperature sensing elements from  IST AG enable industry-recognized moisture measurement systems capable of meeting these requirements.

Humidity sensor MK33

Sensor solutions in biofuel

The IST AG MK33-W capacitive RH humidity sensor has been developed especially for high-end moisture measuring applications and extreme environments making it optimal for biofuel applications. The MK33 excels through its extremely high humidity and temperature working range and its outstanding chemical resistance. The humidity sensor is capable of measuring 0 % RH to 100 % RH (maximal dew point +95 °C) with a capacitance of 300 pF ±40 pF (at 30 % RH and +23 °C) and operates within a temperature range of -40 °C to +190 °C.

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Temperature RTD

Biofuel temperature measurement

Our sensor offerings for biofuel temperature measurement include: Platinum RTD temperature sensors developed with the highest quality materials and cover a wide operating temperature range of -200 °C to +1000 °C. These sensors can operate in the harshest conditions while experiencing minimal drift. The construction is extremely robust and due to the small dimensions, the sensors are offered in various housings. The platinum temperature sensors are available with a standard TCR of 3850 ppm/K and with accuracies according to the IEC 60751 norm.

Hydrogen

Hydrogen fuel cell

Hydrogen production

Hydrogen is a clean fuel that, when consumed in a fuel cell, produces only water. Hydrogen can be produced from a variety of resources, such as natural gas, nuclear power, biomass, and renewable power like solar and wind. It is an attractive fuel alternative for transportation and electricity generation applications. It can be used in vehicles, houses, and in many more applications. Hydrogen fuel can be produced through several methods. The most common method today is natural gas reforming (a thermal process)

Steam reforming for hydrogen

Hydrogen production with steam reforming

Thermal processes for hydrogen production typically involve steam reforming, a high-temperature process in which steam reacts with a hydrocarbon fuel to produce hydrogen. Hydrocarbon fuels can be reformed to produce hydrogen, such as  natural gas. Presently, about 95% of all hydrogen is produced from steam reforming of natural gas. To produce hydrogen for industrial use, syngas (synthesis gas) plants all over the world use steam methane reformers (SMR). Temperature measurement and monitoring is key to performance and safety, especially during the potentially dangerous startup process.

Temperature monitoring in steam reforming process

 

Temperature measurement is a crucial factor in steam reforming processes, affecting the performance of both the catalyst and the SMR unit. The temperature profile of SMR tubes, together with an analysis of the inlet and outlet gases, allow operators to determine catalyst performance. Platinum resistance temperature detector assemblies provide accurate, dependable temperature measurements at specific points in the SMR that are essential for monitoring and ensuring good catalyst and reformer performance.

A highly reliable, customized PT100 or PT1000 platinum thin film RTD temperature sensor assembly from IST AG, mounted in a probe, or a bolt-on configuration, or with a probe with threaded fitting, performs highly accurate temperature measurements according to the IEC 60751 norm.

The IST AG platinum thin film RTD temperature sensors are developed with the highest quality materials and cover a wide operating temperature range of -200 °C to +1000 °C. The sensors can operate in the harshest conditions while experiencing minimal drift. The construction is extremely robust and due to the small dimensions, the sensors are offered in various housings. The platinum temperature sensors are available with a standard TCR of 3850 ppm/K and with accuracies according to the IEC 60751 norm.

IST also offers custom RTD platinum sensors fitted to application-specific requirements in terms of specified TCR values, nominal resistance, dimensions, housings, and lead wires amongst other variations.

Customized adaptations are available on request.

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