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ENGIE Chile: “seeing is believing” for international industrial stakeholders

In addition to its energy distribution operations, the ENGIE Chile Business Unit has a team charged with developing new offers for its industrial customers, most of them in the mining industry. An audit of all of the ENGIE Group’s solutions singled out Blu.e for a special mention. Julien Colas, head of the projects team at ENGIE Chile, was especially pleased.

 

“ENGIE has a wide variety of business operations in Chile, where it is involved in electricity generation, an LNG tanker terminal, gas sales and distribution, energy efficiency, renewable energies and even a start-up incubator,” says Julien Colas. “By comparison, our team’s operations are very new for ENGIE LatAm(1). We have set out to bring our customers innovative services and solutions, alongside energy distribution, to develop our markets in Chile.”

 

Blu.e selected from among a hundred offers

This was the context in which Julien Colas gave three staff members the job of examining all of the ENGIE Group’s ancillary offers. “There are roughly a hundred of them and they’re all fascinating!” he says. “After interviewing our employees and customers in Chile, it was clear that three ENGIE subsidiaries were particularly well-suited to our markets, and Blu.e was one of them.” Blu.e CEO Tanguy Mathon then suggested testing his company’s Big Data-driven technology, which is designed to measure, manage and optimise energy performance in industry, at Tocopilla’s U16 electrical power plant on Chile’s northern coast.

 

A fast connection to the data

Since the industrial facility was already equipped with numerous sensors and a “historizer”, connecting to the data was relatively quick and easy. With a one-year history and a connection to real-time data, Blu.e immediately had a good view of the facility’s performance. Now it just had to familiarise future users with the solution. Users accustomed to industrial shop floors can sometimes be a little sceptical about Big Data, but their reticence was soon dispelled.

 

Strong industrial processing skills

“With Manuel Olmos, in charge of advance scheduling at the U16 power plant, we visited pilot sites in France: an incinerator in Besançon and the Predity hypervision room in Lyon”, says Julien Colas. “By the end of the visits, Manual was very excited:he had clearly grasped the full potential of the Blu.e solution for the power plant in Chile and seen what the subsidiary could do for industrial processes and energy efficiency.” When Antoine Roland, energy engineer for Blu.e, went to ENGIE Chile to train the project team – Julien Colas, Manuel Olmos, the maintenance manager Manuel Schmidt and the IT manager Christian Lopes – and other local stakeholders in using the blu.e pilot® solution, their response was enthusiastic.

 

Training grounded in real-life experience

“Antoine drew on real-life experience to train the group,” says Julien Colas. “Using data collected from the database, he challenged one of our line-of-business rules:we turn on two compressor pumps when the pressure reaches a certain level, but we don’t turn them off when the pressure falls. His analysis helped us become more energy efficient and save money.” For its part, the team wanted to find out whether blu.e pilot® could solve one of their issues. Regularly, a tube in the cooling system breaks. Up until then, they had always had to stop the power plant to carry out the repair. At Manuel Schmitt’s suggestion, the entire team began trying to detect the warning signs of an imminent break, so that action could be taken beforehand to avoid unexpected, protracted and costly downtime. Their study is in progress and should shortly yield results, generating keen interest among the power plant stakeholders.

 

Successful change in the power plant

After the phase of learning and demonstration, now it’s time to move into the operational phase. The finishing touches are being made to the Blu.e dashboard.  Next April, Guy Wallerand, Blu.e’s deputy director and change management expert, will coach the project team and the managers, to persuade the operational staff to use the rules recommended by Blu.e, adjust everyday operations in the plant and  make the change smoothly and effectively. Thanks to its use case-based approach, the Blu.e suite of software tools becomes part of customers’ everyday line-of-business practices. This integration is a key step towards leveraging the full potential of the tool. “I’m also going to train the sales force to sell the solution to their customers for energy performance purposes,” concludes Julien Colas. “This way, we are helping Blu.e expand on the international market and becoming its ambassadors in Chile, using dedicated teams with a project manager, a data process engineer and an energy engineer on our markets!”

 

In figures

2,500

employees at ENGIE Chile

Between 115 and 330 MW

produced by the U16 gas combined-cycle plant

 

 

(1) ENGIE Latin America: Chile, Peru, Mexico and Argentina