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Two UK renewable energy facilities undergo major digitisation

Image: Ince Bio Power
Image: Ince Bio Power
Two of the UK’s largest renewable energy producing facilities – Ince Bio Power and Energy Works Hull - have undergone major digitisation projects to move their asset management processes to the cloud.

The operator of Energy Works Hull, Bioenergy Infrastructure Group (BIG), was helped by Manchester-based firm SRO Solutions (part of the Cohesive Companies) when it needed a new asset management system to ensure compliance with industry regulations.

SRO provided access to IBM’s Maximo software via its own cloud-based platform, reducing the setup time by eliminating the need for any new IT infrastructure.

Tony Lackey, SRO Solutions managing director, said: “To implement a piece of enterprise asset management software usually takes months, and in the case of some clients, more than a year. We were able to implement much quicker for BIG due to our cloud platform.

“The key benefit for BIG of choosing SRO’s cloud-based Maximo as a Service (Maas) solution was the simplicity of setup – it only took us a few days to get the platform up and running. We were then able to start loading the company’s data into the system, so there was a massive time saving compared to a standard onsite installation.”

SRO gathered essential data relating to Energy Works Hull’s assets and equipment and uploaded this information to the cloud. It took less than four weeks to meet the site’s compliance requirements and provide BIG with access to an operational asset management system.

Phase two of the project took place once the biomass facility was operational. SRO’s team carried out workshops to determine bespoke processes relating to work and inventory management, ensuring Maximo was tailored to the company’s specific needs.

“MaaS offers complete peace of mind because we take on all the responsibility that the client would usually have,” said Joe Lightfoot, project lead for SRO Solutions.

“It is a private and secure cloud-hosted solution that is ISO 27001 certified. There’s no infrastructure involved, and we cover all the software. The client doesn’t need to worry about maintaining any servers, software or databases, and we also take on additional responsibilities like license compliance. Any problems can be easily reported through our support portal.”

Following the successful delivery of MaaS in Hull, SRO was asked to upgrade BIG’s Ince Bio Power facility. The 22 MW biomass plant near Ellesmere Port in Cheshire can process up to 170,000 tonnes of waste wood per year and generate electricity to power more than 42,000 homes.

“Digitising all these processes and forms in Maximo has brought everything together in one place,” added Lightfoot. “It has provided BIG with much greater control over its assets and inventory and will simplify everything from maintenance management to stocktaking. In theory, Maximo will help increase uptime across both sites and also allow the company to benefit from economies of scale.”

Mark Roberts, head of engineering at BIG, said: “SRO Solutions expertly moved us across to IBM’s Maximo software, implementing the computerised maintenance management solution professionally and efficiently without delay or trouble.”
Image: Ince Bio Power