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Award winning project...


Student Makes Reporting of Greenhouse Gas Emissions Easy

Monitoring of emissions and improving efficiency has become a necessity in power plants.  Thanks to Synengco’s latest CEED project, the task of auditing and reporting of emissions is now much easier.

Nicholas Plant, a final year Electrical and Aerospace Engineering student from the University of Queensland, tacked this interesting software engineering project as his final year thesis topic – a project hosted by Synengco.

CEED project at Synengco - student: Nicholas Plant 
 Above: Don Sands (Synengco) with CEED student, Nicholas
 Plant (Electrical and Aerospace Engineering, UQ) demonstrating
 Nicholas' new dashboard for SentientSystem 

Synengco specialises in advanced modeling and calculations software which assists power stations to accurately monitor and diagnose plant faults.  Nicholas’ project has added capability to the company’s existing software (SentientSystem), to enable power plants to accurately determine their input energy consumption and associated emission factors.

The main objective of Nicholas’ project was to develop a web-based ‘dashboard’ application so that power plant staff can view their greenhouse gas emissions in real-time and all the facts and figures calculated by the system in terms of  accuracy, and ease of auditing the data which is displayed on the dashboard.

Nicholas researched the requirements of Greenhouse reduction reporting and audit requirements, to find the major components that exist in all carbon reduction schemes.  He also had to ensure his dashboard design met requirements for external parties and the internal requirements of power generators.  These requirements included reconciliation of calculated results; and monitoring real-time compliance.

Nicholas used the ‘Agile’ methodology, which uses short ‘sprints’ to develop software applications, integrating user testing along the way.  Many CEED clients are now finding this methodology fast and efficient for software development projects.  Python was the main programming technology used for the prototype development.

At the end of his project (in June), Nicholas delivered a prototype of the dashboard and a design for integration with the existing SentientSystem application.

Don Sands from Synengco is impressed with the results of Nicholas’ CEED project, recently commenting that, “this project has added to the capabilities of SentientSystem so that we can include emissions as a key element for power stations’ decisions, along with resources consumption and asset management.  Emissions can now be included into the decision support and optimisation framework of SentientSystem ... which is key as the world moves to reduce carbon emissions and Australia moves towards a carbon tax.  

“We have been very happy with Nicholas’ execution of the project and he was able to deliver a prototype that exceeded our expectations and is much closer to a commercial product than was first envisioned.”  


Footnote:  In early November, Nicholas was awarded a prize at the UQ School of ITEE Innovation Expo 2011, for "Best Software Engineering Project".

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