Ormat Technologies has been granted a patent for a geothermal power plant maintenance support system. The system includes embedded sensors and environmental sensors that monitor real-time plant parameters and ambient conditions. A thermodynamic calculation module and a processor analyze the data to pinpoint components in need of maintenance. GlobalData’s report on Ormat Technologies gives a 360-degree view of the company including its patenting strategy. Buy the report here.

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According to GlobalData’s company profile on Ormat Technologies, demand response systems was a key innovation area identified from patents. Ormat Technologies's grant share as of June 2023 was 1%. Grant share is based on the ratio of number of grants to total number of patents.

Geothermal power plant maintenance support system with embedded sensors

Source: United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Credit: Ormat Technologies Inc

A recently granted patent (Publication Number: US11661926B2) describes a method for pinpointing maintenance needs in a power plant. The method involves several steps to identify malfunctioning components and initiate maintenance operations.

The method begins by providing a power plant with a conduit circuit that connects various components. Embedded sensors are deployed throughout the power plant to monitor real-time parameters, while environmental sensors track ambient conditions. A thermodynamic calculation module is integrated with a configuration diagram that represents the operation of each power plant component.

To identify a malfunctioning component, the method compares the real-time data from the embedded sensors at the outlet of the first component with calculated data based on the environmental sensor data and the thermodynamic calculation module. If the difference between the real-time and calculated data exceeds a predetermined threshold, further comparisons are made at the inlet and outlet of the second component. If the difference is below another predetermined threshold, it is determined that the first component is malfunctioning while the second component is not.

In addition to identifying malfunctioning components, the method also facilitates the initiation of maintenance operations. Performance of a selected component or the entire power plant is quantified during the flow of source fluid through the conduit circuit. An automated response is generated if the quantified performance is anomalous, indicating the need for maintenance.

The quantification of performance involves sensing ambient conditions, generating ambient-dependent calculated data for selected components, receiving real-time data from embedded sensors, and determining the difference between the two. The quantified performance level is dependent on this difference.

The generated automated response can also indicate the severity level of the anomalous performance, providing further information for maintenance operations.

The patent specifically mentions the application of this method to geothermal power plants, which utilize a closed Organic Rankle Cycle power plant module. The method can be used to monitor and maintain various components of geothermal power plants.

Overall, this granted patent presents a method for effectively pinpointing maintenance needs in power plants, particularly geothermal power plants, by integrating real-time sensor data, environmental conditions, and thermodynamic calculations.

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GlobalData, the leading provider of industry intelligence, provided the underlying data, research, and analysis used to produce this article.

GlobalData Patent Analytics tracks bibliographic data, legal events data, point in time patent ownerships, and backward and forward citations from global patenting offices. Textual analysis and official patent classifications are used to group patents into key thematic areas and link them to specific companies across the world’s largest industries.