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Tokyo Rinkai Heat Supply Corporation

The Tokyo water front area where
Tokyo Rinkai Heat Supply Corporation is providing heat

Tokyo Rinkai Heat Supply Corporation, a district heating and cooling business serving Tokyo’s Rinkai Fukutoshin area, upgraded the central monitoring systems at its plants and integrated their distributed control systems. 1 On this occasion, the company extensively revised and reconstructed its system for optimizing operation, making operation highly efficient by selecting which heat source equipment, etc., to operate based on data such as current energy demand trends, weather conditions like temperature and humidity, and past operation data.

Making use of a new operation support system to achieve optimal operation of heat source equipment

Established in 1990 to provide heating and cooling services across Tokyo’s Rinkai Fukutoshin area, Tokyo Rinkai Heat Supply Corporation produces 7 °C chilled water and 80 °C heated water at its three district heating and cooling plants in Daiba, Aomi Minami, and Ariake Minami (all in Tokyo), and provides heat in these districts for office buildings, hotels, hospitals, recreational facilities, TV stations, etc. At the Ariake Minami and Daiba plants, the company helps to reduce CO2 emissions and save energy by using waste hot steam emitted from the Ariake Incineration Plant.

“Since we began providing heat in 1995, we have continued to improve operational efficiency while putting our efforts into providing a reliable energy supply. In the process, we have successfully lowered energy rates a total of five times, because our focus is always on lowering costs for our customers,” says the company’s president, Masaru Hosoi.

In around 2006, ten years after the plants began operation, the company started to discuss an upgrade of the plants’ central monitoring systems, which had begun to age. Uppermost in mind during the discussions was the integration of the monitoring systems at the three plants.

“Until then, the three plants had independent systems. We thought that the upgrade was the right moment to put these plants’ systems together and construct a shared system so that we could improve operability by standardizing procedures for operators working at the different plants. We also wanted a heat supply that could meet customer demand just by furthering the development in the Rinkai Fukutoshin area, so we needed to establish a system that enabled these plants to cooperate with each other to achieve various aims, such as cost reduction,” explains Takayuki Hatabe, director of the Engineering Department.

“Operators working at the plants decide the appropriate number and combination of heat source devices to operate according to the current energy demand and weather conditions like temperature and humidity. The old operation support systems were only capable of predicting customers’ energy consumption, so our operators had to make decisions based on their experience. As a matter of course, the decisions varied depending on the operator, and human judgment is limited. So we wanted to install a new operation support system that could help operators by providing guidance for operating the heat source equipment so that we could make our heat production more efficient,” says Takashi Yamaguchi, director of the Ariake-Minami Management Office.

Left: The central monitoring room at the Ariake Minami plant. Operators at the three plants can now share the same view through their screens in their central monitoring rooms, which enables them to reference information about problems that occurred at other plants and how they were handled. The current operation support system has implemented a unique function that shows the approximate price in yen of the electricity and/or gas being used to produce one gigajoule of energy.
Right: The same operation support system monitors can also be accessed and viewed from offices at the headquarters, allowing relevant departments and management personnel to check the status of operations.

This case study was published in the 2017 Vol.3 issue of the azbil Group's corporate magazine, azbil.