Gas Production – KLEENHEAT Turning Up the Heat

The city of Armidale is located on the New England Highway, 535km north of Sydney and 466km south of Brisbane with a population of over 25,000. As part of the ever growing expansion of the city, the Gas works that were located in the centre of the town in Beardy Street were relocated to Mott Street Armidale. The new gas depot catered for the increase of production capability of Simulated Natural Gas (SNG) to cope with future growth. The new site also allowed Kleenheat to pursue the conversion of customers from Tempered LPG (TLP), a manufactured gas with properties similar to Towns Gas, to SNG which allows the use of Natural Gas (NG) appliances. The advantage of NG appliances is that there is a far greater range to choose from including cookers, hot water units and heaters.

In the early part of 2004 DEXA Pty Ltd, was approached by the Kleenheat Gas Company and their primary service and installation contractor Town & Country Electrical, to consult on the relocation and upgrade of the gas depot. The new depot provided additional facilities for the refilling of domestic and commercial gas cylinders and the process of transferring LPG (Liquid Petroleum Gas) to and from bulk transportation tankers.

Crucial design issues relating to the project required that the plant control system be designed to be safe, robust and reliable with manual override for all process critical equipment. Adding to that, the transition to the new plant had to be achieved without disruption to the supply of gas to Kleenheat customers.

DEXA developed the electrical CAD drawings, wrote the programming code for the PLC control system & safety system, manufactured electrical control panels, conducted off site Factory Acceptance Testing, SCADA programming and completed the on site electrical installation and final commissioning. All this and more while tackling a number of design, logistical and difficult site access issues due to the uniqueness of the project.

The control system utilised an Omron CJ1 PLC for the overall operation of the depot. The PLC was connected via Ethernet to a SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition) package running on a PC in the office over 100 meters away. The developed SCADA application allowed Kleenheat staff to monitor and control all aspects of the plant. Historical data trending and alarm logging provided by the system allowed Kleenheat management to monitor and analyse the gas depot operations. SMS messages are sent in the event of an alarm to a number of recipients until acknowledged by an operator. A backup alarm signal also notifies the site security company who can also implement an action plan.

In order to provide control system backup support a landline modem was installed to allow secured access to the PLC code. This allows DEXA to provide offsite plant monitoring and rectification should the need arise.

Working together with Kleenheat, an Operation Specification was compiled for the project. The development of the electrical schematic drawings followed with cable schedules and equipment listings. PLC and SCADA programming, the manufacture of electrical control panels and supervision of the on site electrical installation and final commissioning completed another successful project hand over.

"We didn't need the biggest company, we needed the best. Trust is crucial in every aspect of our operations and we cannot afford to make mistakes. DEXA has never let us down." Chris Rouse, Kleenheat Gas.

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