Case Studies

Case Studies — TRAX has a superlative track record for delivering successful energy solutions to our clients. For more than two decades, we have demonstrated the ability to take on and solve today’s modeling and simulation challenges, while also looking beyond the horizon to anticipate and prepare for those likely to emerge tomorrow.

CAES – Compressed Air Energy Storage

Setting the U.S. Power Industry’s Standard for Deploying CAES

Problem
One of only two utility-scale Compressed Air Energy Storage (CAES) power plants in the world, Power South Co-Operative utility needed to model and simulate not only their power producing plant but also the underground stored air system that would drive the turbines during peak electric periods. They needed an accurate, repeatable simulation of a 110 MW power plant design that had never been built in North or South America.

Solution
Our integrated ProTRAX® models were created to accurately reflect the compression of air in a 19 million cubic foot underground salt dome to 1100 PSI over a 41-hour period. The balance of plant was modeled including electric motor driven compressor, high and low pressure gas turbines, and the generator that produced the power for the grid.

Result
The simulation was delivered and the plant commissioned in 1991. It is the defining standard for the U.S. power industry to deploy this form of stored energy. Today, more than ever, the power industry needs reduced carbon solutions for load management. TRAX has the proven experience to meet the challenge of validating these new technologies with high-fidelity modeling and simulation.

Southern California Edison

Hydroelectric Optimization

Problem
Southern California Edison (SCE) needed to build a large area network of previously separate hydro plants and lakes covering hundreds of square miles in the Sierra Mountains (Big Creek). They could not follow the design lead of another utility, because this kind of system with so many different hydro components had never before been created in America.

Solution
Using ProTrax® software, TRAX designed an optimization package integrating all the reservoirs, dams, power houses and turbines into a single, high-fidelity simulation. The models connected 23 turbines in nine generating stations with six major lake reservoirs and all the ancillary valves, conduit and open channels. This simulation proved ideal for operators who needed to respond efficiently to unforeseen issues within the system.

Result
For the first time, SCE was able to control and optimize the Big Creek series of facilities into a single unit producing more than 1,000 MW for Southern California. And through TRAX’s simulator based, “What if…?” scenarios, network operations could train on how to maneuver and regulate the system in anticipation of unexpected events. Optimization was now possible that could achieve maximum power generation, while ensuring the most cost-effective tuning of SCE’s new hydro network.

Hybrid Energy Solutions

Helping Power Plants Innovate Increased Efficiency

Problem
Today’s utilities are challenged to find new ways to become more efficient, produce more power and reduce their carbon footprints. Florida Power and Light (FP&L) responded by creating the world’s first Hybrid Solar complex at their Martin Combined Cycle Gas power plant. But, Black & Veatch engineers needed to verify control system design and performance guarantees for adding 190,000 mirrors to produce 75 MW with Concentrated Solar Power. So, they called on TRAX.

Solution
New ProTRAX® software models were developed to represent the addition of the solar system. These models were added to our original TRAX simulation of the FP&L natural gas combined cycle plant in the 1990s. By integrating and updating our high-fidelity models, TRAX could validate the engineer’s performance data.

Result
All of FP&L’s and Black & Veatch’s requirements were satisfied and the plant successfully went online in March 2011. Today this plant is a showcase for hybrid energy systems that add and blend renewable power production with existing fossil fuel generating stations.

A New Approach to Online Learning

Taking Distance Learning to the Next Level

Problem
In 2007 the Central Virginia Criminal Justice Academy (CVCJA) needed a software-based training application to track mandated training requirements for police personnel, as stipulated by the State Department of Criminal Justice Services.   Key requirement was that the final product had to integrate the State’s expectations for a robust set of backend features into a user-friendly system for administrators, instructors and trainees, all at an affordable cost.

Solution
Employing a combination of the most advanced, open-source technologies, TRAX developers created a progression of incremental, biweekly mini-releases, enabling the customer to review, evaluate and comment on newly added features and, as work progressed, comment on the overall direction of the product as it evolved. Along the way, TRAX innovated several features to enable instructors to manage and edit their respective courses via the web browser, define passing scores on a test-by-test basis and review individual student progress.  The admin console was enhanced to track course statistics and automated “graduation” included printable certificates of course completion.

Result
In spring 2009 the Learning Management System (LMS) was rolled out. Since that time, more than 10,000 certificates of course completion have been issued.  Feedback from instructors and students, passed on to TRAX through CVCJA leadership, is overwhelmingly positive, and additional sales of the TRAX LMS have since been made to other training academies.