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At the forefront of process simulation for 25 years

Fortum Corporation
Apros celebrates its first quarter century this year and is still going strong. Much of its success is the result of its sheer versatility. While users will benefit the most from its comprehensive plant models, Apros is equally at home with simulating and testing individual processes.

Apros has proven an excellent tool for everything from safety analyses of fast transients at nuclear power plants and training the operators of conventional power plants to research and development projects carried out by universities and research institutes. The rigorous dynamic simulation models offered by Apros are ideal for a wide variety of tasks, and can speed up and improve design and engineering work.

Since its introduction in 1986, Apros has been used in 26 countries worldwide. It has proved particularly popular in the nuclear industry, where its roots are, for simulating different plant concepts, including both boiling and pressurised water reactors. Its robustness has also attracted many users in conventional power generation, as well as engineers working on everything from desalination plants and paper mills to solid oxide fuel cells.

Simple to use, but highly accurate

Versatility lies at the heart of the software. It can handle everything from comprehensive plant models for use in safety analyses, dynamic process and automation testing, training simulators, and optimisation work to simulating and testing individual process modifications prior to building an actual system.

Apros’ easy-to-use interface has made it highly appreciated among engineers, while the openness of its architecture makes it easy to connect Apros to other systems, such as automation systems.

The software’s performance has been extensively validated by comparing its results to test data and actual data from the field – and fully meets the standards needed for nuclear plant licensing. Every version upgrade is thoroughly tested to ensure the continued highly reliability of its calculations.

Apros can handle everything from comprehensive plant models to simulating and testing individual processes. Photo: Karolina Bärlund.

Strong nuclear track record

Apros has proved its worth in a wide range of uses across the nuclear industry, from accident and transient safety analysis and general safety analysis to process design and engineering, automation design, and training simulators.

Its prime benefit lies in the fact that it offers a single tool for the dynamic modelling of entire processes, including automation and electrical systems, drawing on well-validated, rigorous nuclear models and authority approvals.

In addition to covering basic modelling and simulation needs, Apros includes a complete Apros Tools Suite that adds task-specific additional features, such as the Apros Testing Station, an integrated automation testing tool; the Apros Training Interface, an integrated instructor tool for operator training; and Apros Connectivity Tools, for communication with simulated or emulated automation systems.

Fortum itself has made extensive use of Apros at its Loviisa VVER -440 nuclear power plant since the 1990s. It is currently being used to ensure that upgrades to I&C systems are implemented safely and cost-effectively. The Apros engineering simulator is used to design and validate modifications to I&C systems, while the development simulator has been used for the design, testing, and acceptance of the new control room interface; and the Apros training simulator has helped personnel get to grips with the new digital control room facilities.

Apros has also been used by Finland’s other nuclear generator, Teollisuuden Voima (TVO), to produce accident analyses and in engineering applications for TVO’s Olkiluoto 3 reactor, the world’s first Areva EPR design now under construction.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and Egypt’s Nuclear Power Plants Authority have made use of Apros in Egypt for engineering simulation and plant analysis purposes; while Forsmarks Kraftgrupp in Sweden has used Apros for engineering simulation purposes at its three reactors.

The software’s easy-to-use interface has made it highly appreciated among engineers, while its open architecture makes it easy to connect to other systems. Photo: Karolina Bärlund.

A leading energy company

Fortum is Finland’s leading energy company, with operations in the Nordic countries, Russia, and the Baltic Rim and is involved in generating, distributing, and selling electricity and heat, and operating and maintaining power plants.

The company’s broad generating portfolio is based on sources including nuclear, hydropower, wind, and waste, and generates in the order of 55 TWh annually. Fortum has invested heavily in sustainable generating capacity over the years, and a large proportion of the company’s power generation is CO2-free.

Equally useful with conventional power

Apros is equally well-suited to use with conventional thermal power plants. Licensees include China’s Thermal Power Research Institute, which has used Apros for close on 10 years to train operators of coalfired plants, and Honeywell Automation, which has used it in India for power plant modelling.

Combustion Apros provides everything needed to simulate the dynamic behaviour of combustion power plants. Its very accurate dynamic simulation models can be utilised throughout the life cycle of a plant, from the initial design engineering phase through modernisation projects to training and testing.

Apros can easily handle different types of boilers, as well as different fuels. Foster Wheeler Energia, for example, used Apros in designing the control and validating the dynamic process behaviour of the world’s first supercritical circulating fluidised bed boiler, a 460 MWe unit commissioned at Lagisza in Poland in 2009.

Development work on Combustion Apros at VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland is now concentrating on modelling technologies and components needed for the dynamic simulation of power plants designed to minimise CO2 emissions, according to Kaj Juslin, the Chief Architect of Apros. Information on the latest versions can be found at www.apros.fi.

> Kari Porkholm
(Published in HighTech Finland 2011)